When you talk of the most prestigious clubs in the history of English and world club football, the list will be inconclusive without London-based Arsenal. The Emirates-based London club is the pride of hundreds of football fans around the world.
Arsenal was the first club from the south of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They continue the longest streak in the top division, having been relegated only once from the top-flight in their history.
Today Arsenal fans are probably the most disappointed fans in Europe, as they have now gone 12 years without being crowned champions of England, and considering recent developments, they do not seem to be at the end of the wait, this season at least!
On the international scene Arsenal’s form is far from being enviable as it has failed for years to go past the round of 16 in the Uefa Champions League, with its most recent defeat at the hands of German giants Bayern Munich, a cumulative 10-2 goals drubbing, humiliating to say the least.
I guess the most painful part of this defeat to Bayern was that many did not get the impression it was two teams from the same category at play, but rather a lower league v top league encounter!
However, credit should be given to this team for at least having been a regular qualifier out of the fiercely contested English Premier League to the Champions League year in and year out.
This feat is even more prestigious when one takes into consideration that current Premier League runaway leaders and dominators, Chelsea, failed to qualify to even the Europa League this season.
We all most probably have friends and family members who are Arsenal fans, and the question that comes from the ones I have are always the same after every weekend of Premier League encounters: Can we ever be dominant again in our lifetime, and when will the sad feelings stop?
Arsenal’s longest serving and in all fairness, arguably the most successful manager ever, Arsene Wenger is under serious pressure from most departments, as many see him as the fall guy when things go wrong.
Is this fair? Has he lost the winning formula? Would a manager change bring better fortune? Questions are endless.
Some die hard Arsenal fans believe that the lack of big name star players in the Arsenal squad is the reason why they are currently relatively unsuccessful, but the extraordinary conquest of the Premier League by financially modest Leicester City last season, and it’s continued success in the Champions league this year, seems to have killed this argument, or excuse as some say.
This is a monumentally traditional football club with an exceptional and massive fan base worldwide, with so much potential. Hence things staying like they are today in my opinion is merely temporary.
A better player recruitment system has to be put in place. Imagine a player like N’Golo Kanté in the central midfield of Arsenal? What a relief that would be to my favourite Arsenal player, Alexis Sanchez!
An improvement in their playing style and fighting mentality would go a long way in helping them win matches the ugly way, as every potential champion has to do every now and then.
I do not support calls for the exit of Arsene Wenger from the club, as it is not only unfair but probably ungrateful in some respects.
It is no secret that Arsenal is probably the most ‘financially sane’ football club in England, and this is all due to Wenger’s managerial style. It is also important to remember that Arsenal have won the FA Cup twice in the recent past.
On the contrary, Manchester United have had three new managers since the departure of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and even they, with almost a great deal more spent on player acquisitions, are far from being dominant as we speak.
One thing is for sure though, Arsenal will get back to the top sooner or later and in some ways I do pray for the Arsenal fans that rumours of current Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique’s arrival as the next manager of Arsenal are true, because he has shown with Barcelona that he is world class.
A retention of Wenger as director of some sorts could go a long way in making Arsenal dominant and financially stable at the same time.
One thing is obvious though, like in life, you cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. So for Arsenal to improve its fortunes, it has to change its ‘modus operandi’.