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The Curious Case of Arsenal Football Club (POLL)

The last time Arsenal won a major trophy was in 2005 against Manchester United in the FA Cup final. Do you remember any special events that happened to you in 2005? Since 2005 I’ve graduated from high school and university and I’ve been working full time for two years. I have a recording of one of my best friends saying in 2008 that Arsenal would win the premier league at the end of the 2007-2008 season and that was my first year of University, 5 years ago.

The names on show that day are absolutely legendary to Arsenal fans.

Arsenal's last winners

Arsenal’s last winners

Ashley Cole, Denis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and an emerging Cesc Fabregas are but a few of the fantastic players Arsenal had during a golden period for the gunners. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, Arsene Wenger has thus far failed to replicate his golden touch for finding talent. Ashley Cole has been replaced by Kieran Gibbs, Denis Bergkamp was to be replaced by Andrei Arshavin, Abou Diaby was seen as the new Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabregas was called back home to Barcelona although Jack Wilshere is trying his hardest to make the Gunners forget. We can’t talk about Arsenal’s golden period without mentioning Thierry Henry. Henry is perhaps the greatest gunner of all time and will never be replaced. Theo Walcott should probably ask to have his squad number changed because he will never live up to the legend of Thierry.

Many say that Arsenal were crippled by the debt attributed to the construction of the Emirates Stadium. For years Wenger said that Arsenal could not compete financially with the Chelsea’s, Barcelona’s, Manchester United’s and Real Madrid’s of this world for the best players in Europe. As a result of their financial status, Arsenal fans were willing to accept a few years of mediocrity. However, in 2008 the song began to change. Arsenal execs were beginning to declare that Arsenal had money to buy any one they wanted but they just didn’t see anything interesting out there. It sounded more like an empty threat than anything else. The so called tough guy who really has no courage inside of him whatsoever. Arsenal fans were screaming at the top of their lungs for new blood but mediocrity kept flocking in.

Arsene’s Biggest Flops since 2005:

Andrei Arshavin

He was then the Arsenal record signing at 16m pounds. After his breakthrough at Euro 2008, the world was expected of Arshavin. His 4 goal haul at Anfield was the stuff of legend. Laziness, unproffesionalism, and a lack of ambition were to see Arshavin fall short of showing his true promise.

Mikael Silvestre

Wenger needed cover at the back and decided to turn to a player who had served rivals Manchester United well over an 8 year spell. What Wenger didn’t seem to know that everyone else did was that Silvestre’s time at the highest level had long gone. Embarrassment after embarrassment led to his swift departure from the Emirates.

Andre Santos

What a hopeless signing! After Manchester United battered Arsenal 8-2 at Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger gave in to the fans cries for new signings. Unfortunately for the gunners he bought the first 3 players he could find who were available in Mikel Arteta, Park Chu Young and Andre Santos. Arteta has been a success, Park never played and Andre Santos was the laughing stock of the premier league from day one. Thankfully for Arsenal fans he has gone back to his native Brazil, good riddance!

Sebastien Squillaci:

He couldn’t get into the Sevilla team but he was considered good enough for Arsene? That’s a head scratcher.

Marouane Chamakh:

I won’t blame Wenger for this one but the results speak for themselves. Chamakh seemed perfect for Arsenal. A big man with a good touch and an eye for goal. He scored goals in France, so how could he fail at Arsenal? With 11 goals in his first 22 games, we all thought Wenger got his mojo back. Who are we kidding here? He then went on to score 3 in his next 45 games leading many to question Wenger even more. At least Arsene postponed his signing a year just so he could get him on a free. WOW!

Gervinho:

When Wenger should have been scouting Eden Hazard he was instead scouting the man with THAT forehead. Again like with Chamakh I don’t blame Wenger too much here. Gervinho looked promising, his skills and creativity in tandem with Hazard’s fired Lille to the french championship. As they say though, the cream always rises to the top and in the premier league Gervinho just hasn’t been good enough. In fact he’s looked confused and out of place.

The poor standard of player being brought in to Arsenal is alarming. Even more so was the trend that saw Arsenal’s best players leave the club for pastures new. It started with Ashley Cole who left for Chelsea, then Thierry Henry left, although perhaps it was the right time for him to leave. Every year the story was the same, Arsenal’s best player would get to the last year of his contract and he’d be prized away by teams capable of winning trophies and capable of paying the player’s more money. Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie on their day are all world beaters and none currently ply their trade at Arsenal, the club that made them who they are. Imagine if the three of them were at the club today.

The ones that got away

The ones that got away

If Arsenal were a bit more proactive with their player retention policy then they would have one of the best teams in Europe. Other teams don’t let their players get to one year left on their contracts because that puts control firmly in the player’s hands. Many will also point to Arsenal’s strict wage structure as another reason why player’s have left. No one is asking the Gunners to pay Manchester City money to any player. However, if Yaya Toure is being paid 250,000 then at least take a look at it to make Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri a little happier. It’s either a team pays over the odds to attract players e.g. Paris Saint Germain or the team is winning enough to make player’s forget about the money e.g. Manchester United. If you are doing neither then you won’t attract players or even come close to holding on to your prized assets.

By chasing Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez it seems as if Arsene Wenger has finally woken up from his 8 year slumber. He realizes that you can’t paper over the cracks any longer to compete with the big boys. He understands that you don’t have to go crazy and spend like a spoilt child like Madrid and City to be successful. You can find value in the market, even if it means paying 40m for Luis Suarez. I’m baffled at how they missed out on Higuain but at least Wenger really went for it which is very encouraging.

The possible Arsenal line up for next season can be seen below. It always looks ok on paper but when the pressure mounts with bad form, better opposition, injuries, fixture pile up and so on, the boat starts to rock. Wenger needs to bring in quality like he used to do because the mistakes of the last 8 years don’t need to be repeated again.

Arsenal formation

It’s no longer 2005, I’m no longer in high school, Arsenal are no longer favorites to win anything, not even the Carling Cup. The years that followed 2005 have been tough on gunners fans, barring a great champions league run that ended with defeat in the final. We all thought in 2011 we would see an end to the trophy drought in the Carling Cup but inexplicably the Gunners bottled that chance against Birmingham. Last season though Wenger gave them hope when he signed Santi Cazorla, a player of true class. If Jack Wilshere can stay fit, the Gunners have another beacon of hope. In Olivier Giroud, Wenger seemed to revert to his erratic transfer policy of recent years but if they can land Luis Suarez we will all stand up and take the Gunners seriously and 2014 might just be the Gunner’s year to win something. Arsene tells us that fourth place is a trophy the fans should be proud of. No Arsene, we’re not buying that and to win a real trophy you better open up that wallet, time is not on your side.

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