Nobody can deny that progression, in some form or another, has been made by Arsenal Football Club throughout the course of the last twelve months. They were in a pretty difficult spot during the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign as manager, to the point where most fans were just counting down the days until the Frenchman left the Emirates. When he did, it was the job of Unai Emery to take over and try to guide this team towards better times.
In the summer transfer window, he wasn’t really given the full backing of the board from a financial point of view, which in itself, may be an opinion that differs depending on who you speak with. The Spanish boss did what he could with the resources he had available to him, bringing in a series of players that will probably still have a home at the club beyond the upcoming summer transfer window. However, when you look at the squad as a whole, it’s clear to see that there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.
That was never ‘clearer’ than in the game against Brighton & Hove Albion last night, in which Arsenal surrendered a 1-0 lead and wound up drawing 1-1 with the Seagulls. It’s not like this was a Brighton team that were fighting for their lives, either, because their survival had already been confirmed as a result of Cardiff’s loss to Crystal Palace.
This latest development continues to showcase that there is an ingrained issue at Arsenal Football Club which desperately needs fixing. They just can’t seem to get out of their own way, as if there’s a mental block that they are consistently unable to overcome.
The fans are going to (mostly) stick by the club through thick and thin as we’ve all seen, but there is still an unbelievably long way for them to go before they can be considered contenders once again. Arguably the worst part about this is that they actually went on a 22-game unbeaten run this season, too, which seemed to mark the turning point for them as a club.
Instead, they’re left facing the possibility of Europa League football once more: unless they can turn it all around in that very competition.
They need to avoid disaster against Valencia in their second leg on Thursday, and then in the final, they need to give everything they’ve got to ensure they’ll be playing Champions League football next season. It’s not going to be the end of the world if they don’t, but for the morale of this football club, it’ll be a huge negative going against them.
It’s almost obvious at this point for us to state that this wasn’t the game plan whatsoever, because it seemed as if there run-in was just so easy. However, at this stage, nobody should be focusing on that.
The past can’t be changed and bizarrely enough, some bookmakers still have Arsenal as the favourites to lift the Europa League trophy – so that’s something.