Arsenal Fans Must Realise Their Team's Recovery Will Be a Process

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks thoughtful during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

Arsenal fans must understand there is no quick fix for their team's current malaise. The recovery will be a process.

That's because this is virtually a brand new Arsenal team. Saturday's limp surrender at Old Trafford highlights the point.

The midfield was brand new, thanks to the arrival of Santi Cazorla and the 17 months Jack Wilshere was injured.

Even in defense, it is all change.

How many times did Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker play together last season? The Belgian missed time at the start of the campaign, while Mertesacker was lost in February.

This season, injuries to Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczesny have thrown together a different combination of players. That's before even considering the issues up front.

Those issues stem from the loss of Robin van Persie. That problem has been compounded by the struggles of new additions Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

This lack of familiarity contributes to the stunted performances that currently leave Arsenal sixth. Yet any new team can only develop rapport and productivity over time.

Recently, a regular Bleacher Report reader and passionate Arsenal fan commented about how much Arsenal miss Alex Song. While that reader and this writer disagree on this point, Song's progress last season illustrates this year's struggles.

The creative link that Song enjoyed with Van Persie proved vital to Arsenal's third-place finish. However, that connection didn't happen overnight.

In fact, it wasn't until this time last season that Song's proficiency creating chances for Van Persie became a regular occurrence.

So far this season, Cazorla and Podolski have, at times, shown the ability to combine effectively. Similarly, Podolski has also worked with Gibbs. There's also no denying that Arteta and Cazorla dovetail nicely in the middle.

The point is, these combinations and dynamic can only develop if they are given reasonable time and opportunity.

That's why chants for Arsene Wenger to "sort it out" and calls for his head are unrealistic. How does removing Wenger now help?

Does any Arsenal fan really believe that dismissing Wenger will prompt the board to suddenly splash £100 million in January? Who exactly are the realistic targets for this £100 million, anyway?

Arsenal fans must break the habit of treating the last seven trophyless years as the product of one particular squad. This is a new squad and a new start.

Results went Arsenal's way over the weekend. After tonight, they could even find themselves still sixth, just two points shy of the top four.

Saturday's defeat at Old Trafford certainly won't seem as bad in that particular context.

Wenger's real task is to establish continuity within the key areas of this team. Only then can his latest batch of recruits create their own collective style and rescue this season.

That's a process that should begin on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League against Schalke 04.

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