23rd February 2008, Birmingham City 2 Arsenal 2, the day Arsenal blew yet another title challenge, defensive mistakes, missed chances, not enough leaders in the side to grind out a result. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It’s groundhog day, after groundhog day. That match report reads like most over the last 7 years. Simply replace the opposition and player names and it would read like any other.
7 years on and what has the manager and the board done about it? The answer is not much. The issues we should have addressed in 2008 are still very, very prevalent today. Sanchez & Ozil were statements, but it’s not enough for a club that is now valued at over 1 billion pounds.
Of course, we are only 3 games into the season, so to judge Wenger so early is unfair, after all, in the face of adversity he usually responds with positivity.
However, it’s his constant refusal to add to the squad which is alarming. 63 shots in 3 games, 2 goals, tells a very worrying story. 5 blanks in 6 at home tells you that a plan B is needed. We have some of the most gifted midfielders in world football, not to mention pace. Yet time after time Arsenal will line up with the same predictable line up, playing into the oppositions hands. How about an element of surprise? Two pacey wingers, a 4-4-2 formation, try pairing Walcott or Sanchez with Giroud, what about the Ox in center mid? At the moment, it feels like watching England, trying to fit Gerrard and Lampard into a midfield because they are big names. There’s no balance, it simply isn’t working. A tactical change is very much needed.
Ruthless was a word you would associate with the Gunners in Wengers early years. So what happened? Why is he refusing to buy top quality players with strength, who can defend, and more importantly score 25+ goals a season.
I actually thought he should have resigned in 2008. 2 FA cups for a club of Arsenals statue is not good enough. There’s no doubt in mind, that if a Mourinho was managing that squad we would have won the league and even a Champions League by now.
I would love us to finally sign the right players to make us contenders, and of course, to be proved wrong. I’ve been waiting 7 years to proved wrong, but I haven’t. Every season is a false dawn. Roll on the battle for 4th, a Champions last 16 exit and a decent cup run.