Arsene Wenger: From Invincibles To Invisible

August 20, 2013 in Features, Premier League by Ballsy Banter

The amount of articles currently doing the rounds depicting the demise of Arsenal is astonishing. No matter how dramatic, over-exaggerated, or pathetic the opinions may be about the current shape of Arsenal, the harsh reality of the situation is that Arsenal are two seasons short of a decade without silverware; a scenario that many fans who still remember the Invincibles year of 2003-4 could simply not have dreamt up when our manager was on top of his game.

Arsenal have always been a team that have prided themselves on perfecting the art of football, down to every stylish pass and kick, playing the ‘beautiful’ game under the regime of the French ‘Professor’, Mr Arsene Wenger. Eight and half years on, and it seems that even the Professor can sometimes go a bit nutty.

LOL ARSENAL 2

With the introduction of billionaires, lavish yachts and blank cheques to the game, Premier League teams, in particular, have had to quickly adapt to a new game consisting more so of healthy finances and endless bank balances, rather than sustainable team development and investment in youth academies to produce home grown talent. Whilst even established managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson bent to this new emergence of capital in the game, certain individuals held on to prove a point.

One bold statement from Mr Wenger recently claimed that his team and he were working 24 hours a day to ensure big name signings arrived at the Emirates this summer. The worrying thing about the statement is that it could leave many thinking that most of the £70million kitty that is supposedly available for transfers is probably going on paying for the overtime of these staff, trying to make things happen! Many shocking figures have been released around various back pages of the tabloids comparing the finances of Arsenal to all the other Premier League clubs, and putting Arsenal in an alarmingly strong financial position - but ultimately, in an equally as alarmingly weak league table position.

Since the club last lifted silverware, much has happened, and whilst fans have used that as an excuse for many years to get away from the fact that the Arsenal team was weakening season after season, Arsenal continued to come close to success for the first few years after the stadium move,, reaching finals, semi-finals and consistently competing at the top of the Premier League table. Those days have come to a bitter end.

The day that Spurs fans are chanting for Arsene Wenger to stay at Arsenal is the day when you must wake up, smell the coffee and get yourself ready for a fight. Whilst the average age of the Arsenal team is rapidly dropping, so are their chances of harnessing a winning mentality. The current squad running out at the Emirates is made up of many players who aren’t much older than the average graduate out of university. And just like the current economic market, for top level jobs paying the highest salary, employers are demanding experience of the highest level. They want to see passion, fire, a desire to succeed, and more importantly, past achievements and accomplishments.

The upsetting fact is that even Arsene Wenger has probably forgotten what it’s like to lift a trophy.

How do you create a team of winners without having someone in the team who has tasted that success? The experience of Robin van Persie, and more importantly, the void he has left, has still yet to be filled, and what’s more is that there is an increasingly glaring gap within the team; positions where players that should have been replaced seasons ago are still vacant. Samir Nasri, Alex Song, and Cesc Fabregas are just three of the big names to have left the Emirates without being like-for-like replaced. Spurs, on the other hand, have invested in a whole new team by the looks of it, in the worry that just one of their players, Gareth Bale, will be hopping on a plane to Madrid.

Every lover of football cannot deny that Arsene Wenger brought style, beauty and class to the game, and in a way that is still yet to be matched, but even he himself can no longer produce the calibre of his early days at Arsenal. He reign of success is fast turning into a dictatorship of terror, and something has to give, before the once great Arsenal become the new mid-table, has-been of the past; the once Invincible but the present invisible.

And if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League this season, it’ll be hard to see how the future could get any brighter for Arsene Wenger, and more importantly, Arsenal Football Club.

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