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Time is Running Out For Arsenal To Secure Champions League Place

As the sun sets on another enthralling Premier League season, Arsenal are once again vying for Champions League football. Is this a surprise? No. Is this unacceptable? Yes.

Clearly, investment is a word often associated with Arsenal, but for many wrong reasons. Losing their best and only world class player to the eventual champions was a bitter pill to swallow and frankly their season has progressed in a manner that reflects the loss of their key man.

At the beginning of each season, their manager boldly asserts that they are genuine title contenders but as continues to be the case, their challenge falters by mid-October. The problems within the club are deep-rooted, but can they be rectified and if so how?

Soccer is a wonderful game, evoking a barrage of euphoric and painful emotions throughout a regular league game, but for Arsenal fans this season has been a thoroughly gut-wrenching experience. Being humiliated in the domestic cups by lower league opposition is hard enough to take, but add in a number of over-paid footballers and you have a serious problem.

How have Arsenal been allowed to disintegrate into a team happy to secure fourth place, when they became the only team in the modern era to complete a regular season undefeated. Investment categorizes their plight, or lack thereof. With the most expensive season tickets in the entire Premier League, revenue shouldn’t be an issue for the club. Yet it has certainly contributed to their gradual decline over the past number of seasons.

However, in spite of poor investment and the failure to replace world-class footballers with equally gifted players, something else is at the root of the problem at the club. And unfortunately that is the manager. I am the first to accept all the tremendous things he has brought and given to the English game, but his failure to address this horrible slide into mediocrity has been painful to watch.

A hallmark of his early years in the role was an innovative tactical system and an eye for a player that other managers could only dream of possessing. Unfortunately these gifts have gradually deserted him and now he is becoming more of a liability for the club than one could ever have envisioned.

And now the club has been hit by The FA suspending striker Olivier Giroud for three of the last four matches of the season. Where will Arsenal’s goals come from?

Would a year without Champions League football benefit the team in the long run? Certainly it would free them of unnecessary expectation and allow them to focus their efforts on mounting a serious title challenge. If this was to occur, would the injection of a new manager bring with it a new ethos to resurrect the fortunes of this historic club?

A certain Scottish manager currently working in Merseyside is out of contract in the summer and would represent a bold and innovative appointment. His ability to mould teams in his image and produce quality football marks him out as the ideal candidate to lead Arsenal out of their current mediocrity.

Clearly Arsenal are an excellent soccer team, but the general malaise that has set in over the last two seasons is difficult to rectify and only through an overhaul of the manager and a host of under-performing players will they return to challenging seriously for the Premier League title once again.

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  1. Wolfgang

    April 24, 2013 at 7:14 am

    If Arsenal can’t get 4th,Wenger shd go. He has been given more time than other top bosses and failed.

    • Dave

      April 24, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Getting Arsenal to the Champions League every year is not failure. Even if Wenger doesn’t get Arsenal into the CL this season (right now they are on course to do so again), it would only be a one season failure. Most top clubs measure success by their qualification to the CL.

      As far as Arsenal not having won a trophy in years, that obviously is a major concern. Unless Arsenal get another top-class manager they won’t do any better than Wenger. These managers don’t come cheap and they would want to assemble their own squads which would cost money. Will the Arsenal board sanction such a move? I doubt it. Wenger leaving voluntarily is the only way a new manager will be brought in. No one knows what Wenger’s future plans are.

      • DrFager

        April 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

        I couldnt agree less that top clubs judge success by CL qualification. Genuine top clubs judge success by trophies won. Clubs that dont win trophies judge success by CL qualification. There is a difference.

  2. Wolfgang

    April 24, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Just iamagine this scenario. Spurs and Chelsea both need apoint to qualify for cl soccer at the xpense of Arsenal. So don’t be surprised both will play to a draw,as no risks will be taken.

    • IIB

      April 24, 2013 at 8:38 am

      I am afraid you are wrong. Chelsea is currently 1 point behind Arsenal, Spurs 2 – both with a game in hand. Assuming the game between them is the game in hand they each have. If they draw, Chelsea will draw even on points, but Spurs will remain one point behind Arsenal. At this point, as the saying goes, Arsenal’s fourth place fate is in their hands. (win all the games and they are in, regardless of any other results)

  3. Efrain

    April 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Think only way AW goes is if we don’t qualify for CL. If we do qualify, probably another stressful season with AW.

    Giroud not playing for 3 matches hurts. He may not be RVP but he is a threat in the air. One less thing opposing teams have to worry about.

  4. kyle

    April 23, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Arsenal have the easiest schedule left of the 3 teams battling for 3rd and 4th. Chelsea have the toughest and they have at least 2 more Europa League games left as well which means more Thursday and Sunday games. That can take its toll. Rafa has done a good job rotating but I can see at least 2 draws and maybe even a loss at United.

    Arsenal will be fine. Spurs need to beat Chelsea in 2 weeks, May 8, and they will have the upper hand.

  5. Chris

    April 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    This just reeks of lazy journalism, did you just piece this together from Wikipedia and tabloid articles? To pick just one “With the most expensive season tickets in the entire Premier League, revenue shouldn’t be an issue for the club.” Season ticket revenue is not the sole income for a club’s revenue. How much money do you think it requires to move to a new 60,000 seat stadium?

    Moyes actually has a new spend higher than Arsene while both have been at their respective clubs. Do you seriously think Moyes could do a better job?!

    It’s easy to preach for change just because your team isn’t winning everything.

    • DrFager

      April 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Im not sure where you get your facts but in the past 5 years Arsenal have spent 145m on players to Evertons 63m. Arsenal have generated 182m in player sales to Evertons 75m.

      11 teams have spent more on transfers than Everton in the last 5 years, which makes their consistent presence around European qualificatin (Uefa and CL) all the more impressive. Few have done more with less than Everton.

      Consider this, three teams that are around them in transfer spending, some more some less, (West Ham, Wigan, QPR) one has been relegated and two are close to relegation.

      Dont slight Everton or Moyes, its absurd.

  6. Yespage

    April 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Aren’t Arsenal 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, 5-1-0 in their last 6 games?

    They are without van Persie and are having a pretty good season, and a particularly strong 2nd half of the campaign. Their only weakness is they haven’t been able to defeat the top teams.

  7. AJ

    April 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Wenger has less options, so he’s been prone to make more mistakes. Moyes already works with a small squad and is successful.

    • IIB

      April 24, 2013 at 8:49 am

      I could never really understand the Moyes love fest on display in certain circles. Moyes is the right size fish for his pond: mid-PL table team, relying more on footballing brawn than brain, reasonably attractive to watch (more so than Stoke or Reading, less so than Swansea and West Brom)

      Moyes replacing Wenger? I just don’t see it – nor do I wish to.

  8. V

    April 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Moyes is actually one of the few candidates I would even consider as a improvement.

    However, I really think there is more behind the scenes at Arsenal than meets the eye. In other words, I believe Arsene is covering for the failings of Arsenal’s board and business development organization. And Arsene is too classy of a guy to outright throw them under the bus.

    • PhillySpur

      April 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      I agree with your assesment but your use of the word “failings” is open to disagreement. They are a business and from a business perspective, a huge success. As long as they are a ranked as one of the most valuable clubs in the world, you’ll have a hard time convincing management that they are a failure.

      • V

        April 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

        In terms of the bottom line they continue to make money, but you look at how they did it last year and you notice a disturbing revelation. Without selling their best players… Arsenal isn’t making money.

        To quote Swiss Ramble’s analysis of Arsenal’s finances: “No other leading club has been so dependent on player sales as part of its business model. In fact, over the last six years, selling the club’s stars has been responsible for £178 million (or over 90%) of the £195 million total profit. That’s great business, but it makes it very difficult to build a winning team, as Arsenal seem to be perpetually two pieces short of the complete jigsaw.”

        That is ridiculous, last year Arsenal would have lost 31 million pounds if they didn’t sell players.

        For an in depth analysis of Arsenal’s finances for the 2011/12 season look here:

  9. CTBlues

    April 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I think I would rather see Arsenal qualify over Spuds.

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