Had Arsenal signed Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain or Edinson Cavani they might have won
For an average Arsenal fan, this season is characterised by a number of vacillations. Cautious optimism in September followed by a false sense of superiority over other teams in January that was swiftly followed by a cruel realisation of another season of ‘what-ifs’ and regrets over what could have been but didn’t materialise in the month of April.
It appears that the team doesn’t have the winning mentality, no real leaders in the squad, too many injuries at crucial stages, no adequate investment in the transfer window, a manager who is past his sell-by date, and the list goes on and on. What matters at the end of the day are the fans; and they are despondent and vexed.
No one really gave them a chance in August. It may have been the strength of direct rivals who invested heavily while the uncompromising Arsene Wenger decided not to sign an outfield player in the summer transfer window which made Gunners the only European club in the top five leagues not to land a senior outfield player.
Regardless, the current champions, Chelsea, had a season to forget, Manchester City seems to be waiting for Pep Guardiola to arrive as they have been plagued by inconsistency. Manchester United have had to deal with football philosophy issues under Van Gaal. This was supposedly Arsenal’s season where Wenger would prove all his doubters wrong and finally get his hands on the elusive Barclays Premier League (BPL) title.
They started off strong until January and had a win over surprise leaders Leicester City reducing the gap to two points between the two teams which had everyone saying that this was Arsenal’s title to lose now.
When the pressure is on, Arsenal crumble and they have been labelled as ‘bottlers’ which is manifested by the poor run which finds them trailing Leicester by eight points currently with seven games to go. It is highly improbable that they will win the league now. With no FA cup, the usual last 16 exits from the Champions League, and almost certainly falling short of the BPL crown, feels like déjà vu for Arsenal fans.
Stan Kroenke is happy with the sustainable income stream from the club, but Arsene Wenger is unaffected by the shortcomings of the team and the greatest asset of the club, the fans are being antagonised by promises of an enviable future, which in all honesty is unlikely to occur under current circumstances.
Wenger stated that he has Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud as strikers who can propel them to the title, and that they unequivocally didn’t need to sign a top-class striker. The fact that Alex Iwobi is the current number nine is evidence of the shortcomings of the effectiveness of the options available.
Had Arsenal signed Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain or Edinson Cavani things might have been different. Petr Cech was the signing of a phenomenal goalkeeper; finally a replacement for Jens Lehmann.
But what about signing a top goal scorer to finally replace Robin van Persie, this was undoubtedly the missing piece Arsenal desperately needed. Wenger displayed his naivety once again by not signing a player that Mesut Ozil could feed and flourish through.
The long-term injury to Santi Cazorla has been instrumental in the poor form of the team and has once again illustrated his value as he is the fulcrum in an effectual midfield.
Pundits have claimed there is a lack of leaders of the stature of Patrick Viera or Martin Keown in the current side that can lift the team in the dressing room and in the field. Arsene Wenger is a legend at Arsenal and should definitely have a statue at the Emirates after retirement for his unprecedented achievements, but can he make this team great again? I hope against hope that he can revive the success that catalysed Arsenal into a top team but sadly this season will be full of accustomed self-condemnation.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.