Arsenal FC: Time to Re-Gain the Lost Glory
The first ever English Premier League match I saw was between Aston Villa and Arsenal some 11 years ago. I watched this match from half time. At that moment, Arsenal was trailing 2-0. Prior to this match, I saw football only when the goals highlights were broadcasted.
In that match, a tall, lanky footballer Thierry Henry scored a brace and helped Arsenal win the match 3-2. At that age (I was 12 years old), I do not know what got into me but suddenly Arsenal made huge impact on my mind. That time, I had no idea what Arsenal is and what is EPL all about.
Today, Arsenal has become a team I love and I admire. In this last 10 years, I have followed Arsenal madly, praying for their win in every match. But the last 5 years have been hell for the Gunners fans like me. Lots of talent, lots of promise but no trophies.
Arsenal play the game in the most beautiful way. The way Gunners interlink their passes for attack is a treat to watch. I always love their short passing game, the footballing vision of Arsene Wenger and his methodology to groom young players for the big stage is grand. But the last few seasons have gone against him and unfortunately, for the fans.
Undoubtedly, last season was our best chance to win a trophy. The Carling Cup loss against Birmingham City was completely unexpected but Arsenal has shown their failure to capitalize in crucial matches repeatedly. In the league too, they had the edge over Chelsea and Manchester United. If only they had played up to the mark in few matches, the story could have been different. What hurts me most as a fan is that those matches were against the teams that you expect Arsenal to beat.
For me, the story started with their draw against Newcastle United when they squandered a 4 goal lead. Arsenal might not have lost the point but the morale was bound to come down heavily. From there, they could never really recover. When I still remember that match, it makes me frustrated. Arsene Wenger blames poor referring for that but everyone could see that Arsenal did not possess enough mental strength in their young side to see the job through.
Wenger criticize referees a lot but he needs to realize the fact quickly that he needs to bring in experienced players. Arsenal have enough quality but experience matters a lot, that too when you are playing sides like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. These are the teams with the perfect blend of youth and experience; Gunners are very much short of the latter.
Every footballer’s motivation for playing is one- winning trophies. And when you don’t win trophies for 6 consecutive seasons, you are bound to get disillusioned. Arsenal’s stars are going through exactly that. Cesc Fabregas is sure to leave the club; Gael Clichy has left for Manchester City and Samir Nasri has already said that he wants to win trophies, which means he is on his way out too. Wenger stands watching all of this but what is disheartening is his unwillingness to rectify his mistakes. Arsenal have not yet made a substantial purchase in this transfer window. I wonder if Wenger’s theory of “grooming youth” will amuse anyone.
Arsenal fans have gone through a lot for the last 6 years and one more trophy-less season could be a very painful blow for them. We do not want anymore to fight for the title; we want to win this time. Mr Wenger needs to realize this and whether he change his players, staff or tactics; he needs to win this season for himself, the club, the players and the fans.