From a team fighting for the championship, to a team finishing just above the teams fighting for the last European place. THAT has been the fate of Arsenal football club lately.
We can hand over the culpability to the medical team, who has not been able to deliver fit players throughout the season. We can curse our luck for the fact that we had to go for a trip to the world’s most feared football stadium, Camp Nou, without Cesc Fabregas, Andrei Arshavin, Robin Van Persie, William Gallas, Alex Song and a sane goal-keeper. But we cannot come out with a logical justification for a defeat at the DW Stadium, when we are cruising at 2-0 with ten minutes to go for the final whistle. For a club like Arsenal, that is simply unacceptable.
With a chance to inch closer to the two other title-contenders, Arsenal needed to stay focused and come up with their best game against the Latics on Sunday; instead, they thought that just appearing for the match was good enough for them to secure three points. The Arsenal team looked like an outfit without a mission, trying to stroll around a park in Greater Manchester, sharing greetings with old ladies and young children.
For most parts of the match, Abou Diaby was seen trotting around the green searching for water lilies in a desert, clueless and hallucinating. Though Theo Walcott scored a very decent goal, he was imperceptible for the majority of ninety minutes. Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri roamed around the green, trying hard to make an impact, but failing to do so owing to their ‘tired legs’. Craig Eastmond, the young kid with loads of ‘potential’ did his bit, nothing spectacular and yet nothing stupid that is worthy of any flak. With Mikael Silvestre, a Manchester United discard, Arsenal fans have their hearts in their mouth every time the French senior citizen tries to outrun a forward, or does an implausible One-Two with Lionel Messi, much to the amazement of his own team-mates.
Finally, our keepers, Lukasz Fabianski and Manuel Almunia, are like laboratory specimens for cultivating young goalkeepers with ‘101 ways of conceding goals with ridiculous positional sense and retarded ball-clearance’. When we get to watch the above mentioned personnel trying to simply complete participation for a football match in utter indolence and aimlessness, we are left to believe that this team is still not ‘good enough’ to compete for England’s top football honor. These are, sadly, not the right components for winning the much coveted Premiership title.
Time and time again, we have seen this Arsenal team fading into mediocrity, fashioned either by their over-confidence or simply due to a lack of motivation to perform. For a common Arsenal fan, it is quite difficult to comprehend as to what could be more motivational than wearing an Arsenal jersey, what is more purposeful than playing for the millions of Arsenal fans worldwide, and what is more inspiring than emulating the distinguished Arsenal sides of the past.
Over the last two years, this Arsenal team has been at the receiving end of such denunciation, and yet they commit the same mistakes over and over again. Is it because of the ‘relative’ inexperience of this team compared to the Arsenal teams of the past? Whatever it is, Monsieur Arsene Wenger is left with a Herculean task of lifting this team and getting it equipped for yet another title challenge in the coming season. If we see a recurrence of this season again, there is a danger of Wenger’s current team being branded with a football style, which will be labeled ‘The Beautiful game sans purpose’.