Problems At Arsenal Football Club
The cameras have begun rolling, and Arsenal’s perpetual free-fall is showing no sign of stopping. Three games into the Premier League season and the club are in a position where most expected them to be – at the bottom of the table. Yet to take a point or score a goal, Arsenal have registered their worst start to the league in 67 years with cries of “Arteta Out” only set to get louder every passing minute.
Arsenal have inexcusably hit rock bottom vis-à-vis the ambition throughout the club. The manager’s failure to produce results on the pitch, presumable lack of football knowledge at the board level, and the questionable commitment of squad members have plagued the North-London club since the departure of former manager Arsene Wenger in 2018.
Although arguably, Arsenal began its free-fall back in 2015/16, the repeated failure to address prevalent issues, reckon with past mistakes, and communicate with the fan base has exacerbated problems and rendered the club incompetent and dire off the pitch. From ownership to recruitment and running through team and player management, Arsenal does not reflect the modus operandi of a so-called ‘Top club’ in world football. The fan base is fitfully polarised in their opinions.
While some blame the current manager, Mikel Arteta, for not producing extracting the best out of the current crop of players, others hold the hierarchy accountable for being reticent in their communication and damaging the club’s legacy and reputation owing to their inexorable temerity and pitiful footballing decisions. Players too are condemned for not playing for the badge, with the majority of fans suspecting a common mood of disinterest and recklessness in service to the club, running through a handful of squad members.
Bluntly stating, the North-London club are a long way away from redeeming their renowned ‘Elite club’ status in English football. Arsenal are still undeniably amongst the biggest clubs in the continent, however, tectonic shifts in ideals and functioning have untenably damaged their prospects of an improving future sooner than expected.
For all the condemnation handed out to the hierarchy within the club, many consider the manager equally responsible for not improving the precarious predicaments of the football club. A promising start to his managerial career at Arsenal saw Arteta win the FA Cup in 2020, however, two consecutive eighth-places finishes in the league and poor performances on the pitch and in cup competitions have left many unconvinced regarding his potential to improve the team and as a manager.
To top it off, Arteta is going into his third season as manager of Arsenal but has little to show for his investment and promise entrusted in the team. The manager has, arguably, stuck by the same rigid mentality of counter-attacking football, with little to no improvement in results, despite the approach costing the team several points and a shot at the UEFA Europa League trophy last season. Additionally, the board’s repeated failure to back Arteta’s predecessors and build a squad capable of competing for honours has dwindled the players’ and the supporters’ collective benchmark for success at the club.
Arteta too, has been culpable enough for repeating his mistakes on the pitch; being unable to cultivate a winning mentality amongst the squad, and sticking by a footballing philosophy clearly unsuitable relative to the level of performance displayed by a majority of first-team members. Arteta’s appointment marked a possible rerouting of the club’s ambition, however, numerous issues continue plaguing Arsenal while the manager’s inexperience and flaws continue to impede progress on the pitch.
Arsenal have spent the most (£149mn) of any club this transfer window, however, fans consider the expenditure as a softener due to the European Super League debacle last season. Though the club have backed the manager, many argue that player recruitment is a band-aid solution to the problems that persist within the hierarchy of the club.
Team captain, Granit Xhaka, looked set to leave the club this summer, however, a new contract signed at the club left many perplexed within the fan base. Players such as Sead Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, among others, have been subject to scathing opinion, however, the failure to sanction sales and subsequently offer contracts comprising bloated wages have resulted in severe condemnation of decision making at the board level.
Additionally, the club’s technical director Edu Gaspar too, has been complicit in Arsenal’s downfall in recent seasons. With this summer being the exception, the scouting and considerable transfer fees paid to acquire players are questionable, leaving many unconvinced owing to their performances on the pitch. Unsurprisingly, Edu’s appointment came on the back of no recognizable experience in the role, thus, exposing the Brazilian’s lack of specialisation in his modus operandi.
Despite mounting pressure on the owners – Kroenke Sports & Entertainment – following the Super League debacle, their reluctance to consider an offer for the club or communicate with the fans has been appalling, to say the least. An offer by Spotify co-founder, Daniel Ek, sparked the possibility of a new beginning at the club, however, a proposed sum was soon turned down by the Kroenkes.
At the moment, a challenge for top-four or least, a consistent winning run seems a distant dream for most Arsenal supporters. While some believe the club needs to move for the appointment of Antonio Conte as the new manager, others stand by Arteta, giving him a chance at carrying out his long-term vision on the pitch. Described as a ‘conundrum’, the word simply understates the underlying issues throughout the club. Tangible progress is indispensable at Arsenal if the club as a collective are to find themselves in a better position in the coming seasons.