The Curious Case of Arsenal

It was a Winter to remember for Arsene Wenger, the players and the fans of the club as Arsenal continued to knock on the door of their closest rivals in the Premier league and looked unusually good to go all the way in multiple tournaments.

Everything seemed to be working to plan, before one fine day, lowly Birmingham pipped Arsenal to steal the Carling Cup from right under their noses. What followed, almost like a Domino effect, is something no fan like me or the millions across the globe would have liked to see. The mighty Catalans dumped Arsenal out of the Champions league and Manchester United tactically outplayed them in their FA Cup match up to leave the Gunners dejected. However, the happenings of recent few weeks wouldn’t have come as a surprise to those who have been following the club closely for the past few years.

The reason for that is plain and simple. This team lacks the experience and the strength to cope up with the rigors of a long season of top flight football. Of course, one doesn’t need to think twice to say that Arsenal can beat any team on their day given their ability to pass the ball with ease and poise. But that alone isn’t enough to take a team to glory. When it came down to the pressure matches, the Gunners gave themselves in too soon. They were left groping around for possession and whenever they did get that, they couldn’t turn it into anything productive. I believe the key issue with the team is the dearth of experienced players. A talisman like Patrick Vieira or Roy Keane could have steadied this rocking ship.

Come to think of it, players of the likes of Sagna, Clichy, Fabregas, Arshavin, Van Persie do have valuable experience.  However, given the weak bench strength, it becomes crucial for Arsenal to play all of them in every match which is practically impossible.  The first choice goalkeeper in the squad hasn’t played a single international game and none of the central defenders have had any sort of top level exposure. What makes the situation all the more pensive is the fact that Arsenal haven’t won a single trophy in the last 6 years.

Arsene Wenger, the manager, has been in charge of the club for the last fifteen years and given his reputation and unbelievable success in the past, why can’t he see what even I can is beyond me. His stubbornness in sticking to the current pool of players has drawn flak from many critics and fans.  You never get beyond what you put. This is true to everything in life including football. So, unless the club invests in established players, the trophy cabinet will reflect an ignominious look. It is high time that Wenger made a move or it won’t be long before the axe falls on him.

All that aside, Arsenal still have a fair chance of snatching the Premier league. The fact that they do not have any other competitions to worry about works in their favour. Will the fans’ dream of an EPL title be realized? We have to wait till the End of May to find out.

Vikas Plakkot

Quizzer. Quizmaster. Pseudo Engineer.  Teach for India Fellow. Numismatist. Football Crazy. Sports Enthusiast. Traveler. Blogger. Dog lover. Old Fashioned. Aspiring Manager.

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