Where’d it all go wrong?

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Feb 18th, 2012

Where’d it all go wrong?

10 years ago Arsenal were Double winners, the year after that FA cup winners.

8 years ago Arsenal wrote themselves into the history books forever by going a whole season unbeaten. I don’t care what anyone thinks, that was the greatest achievement by a Premier League club and maybe ever. Sod United with their treble. Had they not played a very questionable 8 extra minutes to secure the extra point that helped them pip Arsenal to the league in 1999 then their own piece of history making would never have been. That Arsenal team played with spirit, heart, speed, power and skill all season. No dodgy extra time for us. No Sirree Bob!

6 years ago Arsenal were unlucky to be beaten by an offside goal in the Champions League final. The year after that they made the League Cup final and were again beaten by a questionable goal. Incidentally that was the year David Dein was forced out of the club. If anyone was ever to question what the man did for the club I would urge them to go out and buy Arsènal: The Making Of A Modern Super Club.

I think this is where things really started to go wrong. Arsenal had lost an influential member of the football community and Wenger had lost a savvy business partner, friend on the board and probably the only person at the club who would question him.

I’m not one of those fans that loves Wenger whenever we win or win emphatically like the 5-3 at The Bridge and calls for him to be sacked whenever we lose, I’m talking about you Piers. I personally think he still has a lot to offer the club but think that he needs firmer management. The one Wenger ‘philosophy’ that I cannot get my head around is his ‘this guy will kill that guy’ mentality. For those that don’t know what I mean is that Wenger wheels out quotes that signing an established player would ‘kill’ the development of a promising youth player. I have a few issues with this. Firstly, whatever happened to ‘if he’s good enough he’s old enough’? Surely if we signed, say, Arteta two years ago that Wilshere would still have got into the team. I mean look at The Ox, he is getting into the team over Arshavin because he is playing better and gives more to the team. Szczesny would still be in the team if we had replaced Almunia a few years back or at least he would be No.2 to someone he could actually learn something from.
My second issue is that if players need developing and you can’t give them a chance in your own team you loan them out. What Arsenal seem to do is loan out a load of players every year to lower league teams and then sell them for pittance. What United do is loan out their best prospects and see if they can cut it in the Premier League. If they do they come back and get a chance in the first team. Look at Welbeck and Cleverly. Welbeck gets in the team ahead of Berbatov and Hernandez who was outstanding last year and the kid’s already caused us all sorts of problems.
My third issue is that we don’t sign experienced players. When we do sign experienced players I despair at how average most of them turn out to be. Chamakh is as much of a waste of a squad place as Squallici is and will remain to be for as long as we play with a lone striker. Park hasn’t had a look in but what possessed Wenger to sign a striker that got relegated from the French league I don’t know. All I can assume is that he wanted to screw over Lille because they wouldn’t sell Hazard or he wanted to boost our Asian profile. Both cynical trains of thought but what other reasons are there?

Benayoun is a player I liked when he was at West Ham and Liverpool but I never thought he was Arsenal quality but he’s put in a few good performances and is a consistent player so kudos.
Mertesacker is a good player but he still hasn’t fully adjusted to the league and for the money we spent we could have had a proven PL defender like Cahill or Jagielka however I do think he’ll come good so I’m being harsh on him but I still feel Jagielka would have been better in the short term.
Andre Santos I felt was getting there and wasn’t any worse than Clichy and Arteta is the only really decent experienced signing we’ve made in recent years.

Arsenal are seriously lacking in creative talent and with Jack out and Ramsey off colour we are totally screwed in midfield and that is why we lost so badly to AC Milan.

The papers are rife with talk of a clear out at Arsenal as they have been for a few seasons now and this summer is the time that Wenger has to make it happen.

If we can get £20-30m for some of our turds then we can reinvest that in one really good player.

Almunia, Squillaci, Djourou & Denilson need to be moved on and a quality attacking player brought in. We have enough talent in the defensive midfield area with Song, Frimpong and the impressive Coquelin who reminds me of Flamini. We could benefit from at least one of Hazard or Götze but then again I think we have enough raw talent at the club and could do with an experienced head again like Clint Dempsey who has been on top form this year.

I think Rosicky should be handed a new deal because he does try hard and his form has been pretty decent of late. Arshavin will probably go, which is sad because I do think he has something to offer but sadly that spell upfront ruined him and now everyone thinks he is lazy. We should sell whilst we can still get £8-10m for him from someone like Anzhi.

Chamakh, Bendtner and Park all need to go. I think that regardless we need to keep RVP, even if he doesn’t sign a new deal. We need to take the risk of keeping him for a year, winning something and hoping he stays or leaving for nothing. Selling him is not an option. We’d never get what losing him would cost us when he is in his final year.

I think that if he’s free in the summer that we should sign up Drogba for a year. He wanted to move to Arsenal before Chelsea got him and his raw power and penetration is something Arsenal lack and might actually give us a plan B.

I think we have a good core of a team in Szczesny, Sagna, Gibbs, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Song, Arteta, Walcott and RVP and some promising youngsters and good squad players like Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Ryo, Toral, Ramsey and Mertesacker. Something is missing and everyone knows it is another centre back or versatile defender, a midfielder, possibly a creative midfielder and a top class striker.

Personally I’m hoping for at least Podolski and Javi Martinez. I wouldn’t say no to one of Gotze or Hazard, preferably the former but I’d prefer someone a little older and a little more used to the EPL.

If anything though I’d love to have David Dein back at the club just so he could tell Wenger exactly what the fans have been saying for years now.


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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

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