For all the brilliance Arsenal have produced throughout the Premier League season, their current situation seems to be a bit of a shemozzle – a wonderful mess that has resulted from their own failures, both on and off the field. And the situation is not even a surprise, because over the past decade or so, it has always been like that for Arsenal, with each ambitious yet realistic title challenge ending with an age-old feeling of what could have been.
As it stands, this season could yet be Arsenal’s, thanks largely to the brilliance of Mesut Ozil, but how long for can he carry the burden of his underperforming teammates? Alexis Sanchez has been hitting form in patches, so has Olivier Giroud. As for the rest, they keep getting injured on a regular basis, and that perhaps is the biggest problem at the club right now – “The Annual Injury Crisis” that has so often been the undoing of the Gunners’ title challenges.
SEE MORE: Cazorla diagnosed, out four months.
It could be the same this season, as well, once you take a look at Arsenal’s celebrated injury list, one that includes Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta. Half of the names there have become fainéants, considering how much time have they spent on the bench. Why do they keep getting injured? It’s an interesting question, the answer to which may well be with Arsene Wenger and his backroom staff, who seem to send players out with glasses instead of bones in their bodies.
Similar questions can be asked of players’ form, which falls to pieces when the pressure tends to rise, with those swoons reflected in November’s poor showings: played five; won one (at home against Dinamo Zagreb); drawn two; lost two. Go a bit deep into those stats and you’ll find that the North Londoners picked just two points from a possible nine during the month in the Premiership – the very month when Arsenal had multiple chances to nail down the league’s top spot. That shows how weak they are under pressure, and how inconsistent Arsenal can be in any description.
A whole team of mentally “weak profligates” to go with a manager who’s overly reluctant to spend is a fatal combination, and that better be realized by none other than Wenger himself. Arsenal need to get to terms with the fact that this really is their chance to win the title, maybe their last chance to win it for a few years. With a series of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale-like superstars increasingly looking like they might change places, and the Manchester teams plus Chelsea ready with millions in hand alongside Jurgen Klopp’s rejuvenated Liverpool, it could get exceedingly tough in 2016-17.
If Arsenal win the title this season and follow that up with major additions next summer, they’ll have overcome their fatal combination. But if they fail to win the Premier League before going in the transfer market, they may as resign themselves to an empty-handed summer. Compared to their biggest rivals, the club have relatively less financial power to fund huge deals, and they won’t have the trophies to cajole the big names, either.
Arsenal’s fate still rests nicely in their own hands, it’s only about seizing the initiative and making this season, possibly a few of them, theirs.
More Premier League:
- Koscielny’s health a boost; Sanchez still a doubt.
- Klopp giving Liverpool reason to think beyond top four.
- China’s CFG investment part of creating a world power.
- The weight of England is on Neville’s shoulders.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family