Once a former world power that found itself sat firmly atop the English football pyramid, Arsenal FC are a club that has quickly and quite clearly lost its way. Over 15-years removed from their last English Premier League title, Arsenal now find themselves in a truly dire position. Recording just one win throughout their past nine league matches, Arsenal have fallen to tenth place in the table. If not for their come-from-behind victory at West Ham United a week ago, Arsenal’s situation would be much worse.
Under Construction: Complete Rebuild Needed at Arsenal
Just seven points clear of a heated relegation battle, the Gunners face the same deficit to current fourth-place side Chelsea. Despite these league struggles though, surely a decent run in Europe could save their season. However, for that logic to fit this Arsenal side, they would need to be having a good European campaign.
Beginning their Europa League campaign with three straight victories, Arsenal was in cruise control against their supposedly lesser competition. The Gunners won their first three matches with a 10-2 combined scoreline. However, that too would come to a screeching halt. Arsenal would fail to win any of their final three group stage matches. Drawing both Standard Liege and Vitória de Guimarães, Arsenal would also suffer a humiliating home defeat to 12th placed Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt.
Capitulating from a winning position in two of those matches, Arsenal needed two late goals against Standard Liege just to draw their opponent. This match was their first in Europe following the firing of former manager Unai Emery. A result that proves just how bad the Gunners problems have gotten.
New Manager, Same Problems
Placed under the leadership of interim manager and former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg, the Gunners’ struggles have since continued. Despite securing a great 3-1 victory over West Ham last week, Ljungberg’s tenure has been a mostly uninspiring one. Drawing 2-2 at Norwich City in his first match as manager, Ljungberg’s Arsenal side have continually turned in some very uninspiring performances.
This includes two incredibly bad home defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City. Results that show just how poor this Arsenal side is. Paying the price for several errors over the past few seasons, Arsenal issues are strung out across the club. Moreso, Arsenal could be about to make another major mistake with the appointment of their next manager.
Heavily linked to former club captain and current Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta, this appointment could prove to be a major mistake. Never serving as a full-time manager, Arteta’s only experience comes from his current assistant duties. Moreso, Arteta has served as an on-field manager just one time in a 2-1 home defeat for City against Olympique Lyon.
Arsenal Players Share Blame for Current Mess
However, while the Gunners manager situation may be a decrepit one, the situation with their first team may be even more dire. From a supposed talent standpoint, this Gunners side has been underachieving since the word go. Mesut Ozil continues to be a high priced bust, David Luiz remains an extremely questionable signing, and even the club’s star attacking players have gone MIA for massive periods this season.
While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains as one of the Premier League’s best finishers, other Arsenal stars have failed to live up to their hype. Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette both come to mind here as both have struggled to string good runs of form together. 18-year-old sensation Gabriel Martinelli has outscored both Lacazette and Pepe. An Arsenal youth product, the Brazilian has made just two Premier League starts for the Gunners.
Worse though has been the performance and conduct of former captain Granit Xhaka. Ridiculed by huge amounts of Arsenal supports, Xhaka has been out of the Gunners side since being subbed off against Crystal Palace back in October.
Reacting to fans cheering his removal from the match, Xhaka acted sarcastically before mouthing expletives towards the home crowd. Even worse, this incident occurred while Xhaka was still the club captain. In nutshell, this incident showed just how far from glory the Gunners had truly fallen.
Rebuild Only Solution for Arsenal
With a number of underperforming and overpaid players, Arsenal’s only option at this stage is to perform a top-down rebuild. This Arsenal Rebuild is something that has been coming for a long time. Unfortunately, this answer may not be one the Gunners’ supporters want. But, it is one that both they and the club need to accept.
To compete at the top of the Premier League and in Europe, Arsenal must clean house. Possessing a few promising youngsters, the Gunners need to start grooming these stars of the future. Giving them full first-team minutes, Arsenal can then proceed to try and sell-off a lot of their dead weight. Gaining some useful funds, the Arsenal rebuild could fully swing into action as soon as this summer.
Arsenal need to move on from players such as Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, and David Luiz just to name a few. The club could then start fresh with a new, hands-on manager at the helm. Combining their buying power with that of their starring youth, Arsenal could complete such a turnaround in as little as two-years if done right.
However, if this Arsenal rebuild is not accomplished or even accepted, this is a side that could be doomed to mediocrity. A fallen from greatness side, Arsenal would be doomed to yo-yo around the English pyramid much like many of the other formerly great English sides.