It is almost universally accepted that they play the most expansive and attractive brand of football in the English Premier League. Yet, they have now gone five years without winning a single trophy – that despite the promise from manager Arsene Wenger that his team were ready to win a major trophy last season. The faithful fans await that day when there will be an addition to the Gunners’ trophy cabinet.
Critics will say that Arsenal have now pretty much officially gone into reverse as a team, and certainly as a major force in the English premier league since 2005. That was the last year the Gunners finished in the top two of the premiership even though they were 12 points behind the then champions – Chelsea. Since then they have basically flattered to deceive as genuine title contenders. Over that period, they finished 4th in 2006, 4th in 2007, 3rd in 2008, 4th in 2009, and 3rd in 2010.
As most fans know all too well, winning the English premier league is a tough challenge and it has certainly got tougher in the time since the Gunners last won the league. In that time, although Manchester United have won the league there times and Chelsea twice, a number of newbies have emerged to challenge the orthodoxy.
Enter Old Trafford’s noisy neighbours from Manchester City and the Gunners’ very own neighbours from hell, Spurs. Tottenham have moved from journey men in to a serious outfit under the management of Harry Redknapp who seems to be enjoying the chance to manage a club with big ambitions and relatively deep pockets.
Fancy footwork only goes so far. What Arsenal need is not a flashy striker but some semblance of backbone running through the team. A solid midfielder who can hold the forte while others around him such as Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri surge forward is much needed and the available option simply don’t cut it at the highest level. Memories of Rooney and Ronaldo and then Rooney and Nani running rings around the arsenal midfield and defense in subsequent Champions League semi-finals still haunt the Emirate faithful. Alexander Hleb, a former Arsenal midfielder recently joined Birmingham City football club on loan for the season. His old team could probably use his services even more.
Arsenal’s squad for the new season consists of the following players: Manuel Almunia, Andrey Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh, Gael Clichy, Pereka Neves Denilson, Vassiriki Abou Diaby, Johan Danon Djourou-Gbadjere, Emmanuel Eboue, Lukasz Fabianski, Cesc Fabregas, Laurent Koscielny, Vito Mannone, Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, Bilong Song, Dimitri Alexandre, Robin Van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Sebastien Squillaci.