Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal
This is becoming all too familiar. Within the space of 4 days we have, effectively, crashed out of two competitions. Where does it leave us? Well, it almost certainly means we will go yet another season without winning anything. But this is not what bothers me the most. I can accept going out to better opposition, I can even accept bowing out to a team like Sunderland, who are clearly on a high and working extremely hard for their manager, Martin O'Neill. What I cannot accept is being outplayed by inferior opposition, and showing no desire or grit to get back into the game. Quite frankly had that second goal not got in I still don't think we would have equalised; we were just not winning any of the individual battles in midfield, and even the simple, short passes weren't coming off.
A one-off, bad performance? No, not really. The truth is we have become more accustomed to seeing that Arsenal team this season than the one we would all like to see. It's quite sad, really. So what's the problem? Well, in my eyes, there are two main things.
1) We simply are not the team we used to be. We have sold top quality players without replacing them, and we are now beginning to see the result. I have said this time and time again, players like: Arshavin, Walcott, Rosicky, Squillaci, Djourou, Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson, Chamakh, Bendtner etc are NOT good enough for a top four club. We lack any real depth in our squad and even our first XI misses a few quality players.
2) There's a lack of true desire in the club. Some of the players at the club are overpaid, and don't look like they even want to play for Arsenal. If you compare the work rate of someone like Vermaelen, or Oxlade-Chamberlain to that of a Squillaci, or an Arshavin, you will see that there is a huge gulf. Arshavin has even said that he does not like England, and I doubt Squillaci's having much fun being our 5th choice centre back. The wages we are paying these players, in particular someone like Chamakh, who we got on a free, could be the difference between keeping van Persie and selling him.
So long-term, what's the solution? What's the point of qualifying for the Champion's League? To get the money that we won't spend? To qualify for a competition that we won't win? Or to attract those top quality players that we won't buy? I honestly believe that the best thing for Arsenal Football Club is for us to miss out on fourth place. Then there will be no excuses. There's no way Wenger can then turn around and tell us that we've had a successful season. Because a top four finish is a successful season in his eyes, no matter what else happens.
enger has even said that he would change his philosophy in the transfer market if we did, in fact finish outside the top four. Whether he stays or goes, things will change if we don't qualify, and it will force the board to act and give us the funds to buy some quality. And may even force a squad overhaul, similar to the one I have so long been pleading for. Who knows.
ne thing I know for sure is that I am completely fed up of seeing this crap every season. It has only been getting worse year after year and something drastic needs to happen. Should Wenger get sacked? I don't know. I have always been his biggest fan, but I am struggling to see where he goes from here. The problem is there is no clear candidate that isn't already at a job to replace him. And no, we will not get Mourinho, whether we would want him or not.
So I regretfully finish this post looking ahead at a particularly bleak season, wondering how it could possibly get worse than this. With Spurs coming to the Emirates next week, I've found my answer...