ARSENAL HAVE SUFFERED A MISERABLE START TO THE SEASON, IS THIS (FINALLY) THE END?
I support Aston Villa,
and I troll Arsenal as often as misfortunes – in any form – happen to them; let’s
get that out of the way. But this write up has nothing to do with this history of
Arsenal trolling, it is a look at the gruesome facts that point to the slow
evisceration of arguably the best football playing team England saw over the
past 10 years. Arsenal are slowly becoming a mid-table club, and here are the
It all started with a ‘successful manager’ for Villa,
the Gunners are in the same position.
Believe it or not, the change of ownership and the appointment of Martin O’Neill
spelt the beginning of the end of Aston Villa as a Premiership side, although
the fans did not know it at the time. The Irishman was good for Villa; he took
Villa to the highest position in the Premiership in 8 years within two seasons,
but the club stagnated under him. For three years, O’Neill did the same thing
over and again; so, while the team looked like it was making progress, Villa
were actually sinking. Wenger has been doing the same at Arsenal: early
success, followed by a period of stagnation, brought on by repeating the same
mistakes every season. Villa dramatically nosedived after the period of
stagnation, Arsenal are sinking now.
Villa were relegated within five years of O’Neill’s departure; Arsenal still
have Wenger, but the club has been in decline for a while. The effect on Villa was
lower league positions that eventually led to the team being relegated. For
Arsenal, a team that used to be Premiership contenders, the fact that they have
not been in the conversation for years, paints the picture. The decline had set
in years ago, but has been covered by Cup successes. The exit from Champions
League is a final confirmation of how far the Gunners have sunk. It may not
stink as bad as the Villa decline, but it reeks all the same. Villa sold off its best players when the rot started,
Arsenal have been selling too.
Star players know when a club is sinking; and they seek greener (trophy)
pastures. When Ashley Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea at the end of the 2006
season, it was for money; by the time Thierry Henry left for Barcelona a year
later, he was looking to win trophies. At least he wanted to win the Champions
League. Arsenal have been selling their top players since then, and most left
in search of trophies. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may be the latest, and Alexis
Sanchez may be the next. Managerial changes created a hard-to-fill vacuum for
Villa, Arsenal may be heading for the same.
The departure of Martin O’Neill threw Villa into a spin; just like the
departure of Sir Alex Ferguson threw Manchester United into a free fall. Whenever
Wenger leaves, Arsenal’s position will become more precarious. After results
started going bad for Villa, the players became lackadaisical; Arsenal are
displaying the same trait. The Gunners are in for a bumpy ride, the fans better be prepared; rougher days may be ahead.