Will Arsenal ever be successful under Wenger again?

Wenger will have a lot to do over the summer to re-build the teams confidenceTalking to a friend who tells me that Robin Van Persie has just netted for Arsenal in the 98th minute. WOOO! C’mon, the title race is back on. Off to White Hart Lane on Wednesday, United on the 1st of May, la de da the Premiership’s coming back to North London. Oh wait, “HAHA Dirk Kuyt has equalised for Liverpool in the 102nd minute”. I honestly thought that it was a joke, that my friend was playing an April fool’s 16 days late. But no, he wasn’t the one playing the joke. Arsenal were. Presuming that the Gunners fail to capture the one remaining trophy this season, where would this leave them? Well, with an empty trophy cabinet covered in dust for a start.

In fact before the match with Liverpool even begun, I was considering writing about Arsenal’s failures in Europe, but I may as well just write about Arsenal’s failures as a football team. The problem with that is everyone knows about their faults; the dodgy defence, the “oooh let’s see if we can beat the high score for most passes made before a goal” philosophy, the lack of money in comparison to the likes of City and Chelsea. Oh well, a bit of light-hearted stick follows Arsenal virtually every season, and after this calamitous draw Arsene Wenger can only expect to be the butt of the jokes once again.

Not for the first time has Wenger come under scrutiny for his managing style. Sure, they play beautiful football, and the 3-1 victory at Blackpool showed that they can get down and dirty with the sides slugging it out at the bottom of the table, a stigma which has ran rugged through the Arsenal team in previous seasons. But one thing that I’m sure everyone who watches Arsenal has noticed is that they lack the conviction in front of goal when the ball just isn’t bouncing their way. When Arsenal are good they score loads. When they’re not they draw to Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers in consecutive fixtures whilst scoring just 2 goals in the process.

So what is missing from Wenger’s side that has turned them from The Invincibles to the bottlejobs? Aside from a solid defence, looking into more increasingly-noticeable factors of their performance is the missing leader. Cesc Fabregas is the captain, but it’s clearly evident that he wants to move to Spain to sit on a bench and watch the likes of Xavi and Iniesta grace the Nou Camp. Remember when Tony Adams was there to inspire his side to victory? Backed by Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Thierry Henry and the like, Arsenal had leaders across the pitch who each knew what was needed to achieve success. Now you look at the starting eleven and I honestly don’t think that there is one player who knows what it takes to be a leader, let alone a leader faced with the challenge of achieving success in 4 competitions.

I could go on about the lack of strength in depth (the man often given the role of inspiring an Arsenal victory from off the bench is Nicolas Bendtner, need I say more?) but you’ve heard it all before. Some believe that they need rescuing before mayhem ensues, and the man set with the role of becoming Arsenal’s Superman is Stan Kroenke. Kroenke owns more than 62% of the club and wants to establish Arsenal as a widely renowned football club with success on the pitch and money sweeping in off it.

But Arsenal do not need rescuing. Just two months ago they were challenging for all 4 major trophies, and even now they sit just 6 points behind United in the race for the Premier League. Fans were sold a false dream when they moved out of Highbury. The Emirates, with its 60,355 all-seater capacity, extensive computer modelling to study the sunlight and ventilation and 100 flights of stairs (which is enough to go to the top of Canary wharf twice, might I add) was meant to bring in increased revenue. Has anyone even seen where that money has gone? No me neither. They probably generate enough money to pay Fabregas’ wages just by selling pies each game, so why not splash the cash Arsene? Treat yourself, I dare you.

They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and as far as I am aware Arsenal FC is still alive, so can we expect them to challenge next year? Of course we can. Hopefully they arrive with the ability to sustain the challenge for all season or else Wenger will face the wrath of the Arsenal faithful, something which he has endured for 6 seasons now. Surely he’s had enough?

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