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24 Desember 2008

Why have Arsenal failed to live up to their expectations?

The headline of this article has been the question being asked for the past couple of weeks in the SoccerNews poll. A number of you have voted and the result makes for interesting reading.
Despite beating Chelsea and Manchester United and holding Liverpool to a draw with only ten men, there is no doubt that this season has been, in the main, a disappointing one for the Gunners. They wouldn’t have wanted to be sitting in fifth place at Christmas time and despite Arsene Wenger’s protestations about being a young side and learning all the time and being a great side in the future, he must be as upset as the fans and the players.
There has been some turmoil at the club with William Gallas speaking out about team-mates and things that should have stayed in the dressing room. He was, of course, stripped of the captaincy.
Someone new
There has been some strange comings and goings at boardroom level, and for the first time in his reign, there have been a few fans thinking that Arsene Wenger has done as much with the club as he can and they should consider bringing in someone new.
They lost Hleb and Flamini. There has been much talk of Adebayor and Fabregas leaving. They have been without Rosicky and Eduardo.
All out attack
The fans have booed their own player in what seemed like an all out attack against Emmanuel Eboue. It is some time since the Gooners have turned on one of their own.
Transfers in have been minimal and many eyebrows were raised about the signing of Michael Silvestre. Hardly a move designed to bring about an end to the small run of trophyless years.
The board spoke out that Wenger had money to spend if he wanted to, yet the big names did not come. Is this because Arsene Wenger stubbornly refuses to bring world stars to the club or because the club has a wage structure that makes getting the top players to sign too difficult?
The results of the poll show that at 43% nearly half of the respondents feel that they have under achieved due to the simple fact that the squad is too inexperienced.
Some 18% think the blame lies in a weak midfield. With the loss of Hleb, Flamini, Gilberto, and Rosicky, that may well be the case.
Roughly the same number of respondents put the blame firmly at Arsene Wenger’s door, blaming his stubborn views on the club’s transfer policy.
15% of respondents felt that the internal problems at the club have caused the problems and 5% actually went as far as to blame William Gallas personally.