In his very first piece of writing for Touchline Views, and his first ever blog, Manchester City fan, Joe Moran looks at the problems surrounding Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger.
The Barclays Premier League season 2010-11 was again spectacular. We witnessed the valiant efforts of newly promoted Blackpool with their fairly eccentric manager, to say the least. Blackpool themselves valiantly bowed out of the league at Manchester United, who were crowned champions that day for the nineteenth time, which saw them knock Liverpool “off their perch.” As a Manchester City fan, you can surely calculate my opinions on the matter?
However, I’d like to discuss the once again, “nearly-men.” of the Premier League, Arsenal. The North London club again starting off excellent, competing well in all four competitions. It seemed Arsenal were immune to the effects of the strenuous campaign as their performances were not swayed.
Sterling performances from the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie and Walcott gave the impression that Arsenal would end their six year trophy drought, no thanks to Bendtner, though. In February, the Gunners were presented with the opportunity to taste success, something the fans craved. Only the might of Birmingham stood in their way, led by their now former manager, but present Villain, Alex McLeish.
Would Arsenal live up to their “bottlers.” tag? Well, yes they would in fact, but in calamitous fashion as a massive blunder from the rather inexperienced ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny, and Laurent Koscielny enabled Obafemi Martins to leisurely tap the ball in to the net, with only a matter of seconds left. Birmingham went on to the lift the trophy, deservedly in my opinion as they outfought Arsenal. Surprised?
Maybe if Wenger had listened to the Arsenal faithful moan (yet again) he would have improved the team in January, which could have been enough for Arsenal to beat Birmingham, and end their trophyless streak. Would Arsenal have been happy if they had won the trophy?
This was just the start for Arsenal, and I’d be lying if I didn’t include Birmingham themselves in that. Arsenal faltered after the huge blow of the Carling Cup. The defeat looked to strip Arsenal naked of all the confidence, freedom and swagger they had so eloquently displayed up until then.
Arsenal proceeded to crash out of the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona, no shame in that at all, as the Catalans went on to dominate Manchester United at Wembley. Arsenal were actually very unlucky to lose to Barcelona, with the ridiculous sending off of their main striker, Robin van Persie.
Premier League and FA Cup, you say? The Gunners were handed a trip up to Old Trafford in the quarter-finals and were brushed aside by United – leaving Arsenal driving back down the M6 with only the Premier League campaign to concentrate on. Arsenal slumped, and dropped far too many points for their title ambitions. Wenger’s side were out of the running in April, when they only managed to win one game that month, which was at lowly Blackpool. Later that month, their aspirations really were dead; as a Daniel Sturridge inspired Bolton side nicked the game at the death. Typical Arsenal, really. Arsenal went on to finish fourth, as a Manchester City side steamrolled in to third position, joint second whilst picking up the FA Cup trophy – our first piece of silverware in 35 years.
So that was that. Another trophyless year for the Gunners, and despite all the early promise – a disappointing league campaign too. You could blame luck, as Arsenal were handed nasty ties in half of the competitions they were in. You could blame the poisoned chalice of the Carling Cup, as Birmingham slumped to relegation on the last day at Tottenham. But I believe you make your own luck in this game, and I think Arsenal simply weren’t good enough to win a trophy.
Their fans, rather angrily on message boards and Twitter often clash with fans of Manchester City and Chelsea and inform us, not politely that we are “buying success.” but that “Money can’t buy happiness, or class.” Well, when we lifted the FA Cup, that’s one of the happiest days of my 16 year life, so your point, simply, is null-and-void. Where football is concerned, money can buy success, which equates to happiness, in my opinion.
I don’t get the impression that if Stan Kroenke was to spend in the excess of £100m on top players at Arsenal, their fans wouldn’t argue, am I right? Comments such as “Money can’t buy success.” are jealousy driven comments by fans that are aware they can’t compete with the likes of City, Chelsea, and arguably Manchester United, the top three teams in England.
Arsenal have a long way to go if they are to get back in the frame, and same class as the top 3, as they continue to spend, with City being linked with every player under the sun, United bringing in Ashley Young and David de Gea, and Chelsea rejuvenated with their new manager.
However, it is certain most teams in the top six will improve their squads before the 1st September deadline, but will Arsene change his policies in order to bring success to the Emirates Stadium? He may lose star pair Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and struggle to replace them. If he doesn’t, there is a danger that there will be no trophies at Arsenal next season, and even worse – as chance that they won’t qualify for the Champions League.
If Arsenal want to keep up, it’s certain that they have to invest to improve. Will the Arsenal fans moan if cash is injected? Probably not.