Once upon a time, Arsenal were title challengers. They even won the Premier League in 2003/04 by going through an entire season unbeaten.However, since winning the FA Cup in 2005, the Gunners have failed to win any silverware in seven successive seasons.
The fans have stood behind Arsene Wenger and his policy of not making big-name, big-money signings throughout that time, but the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United in the summer has highlighted the major flaw in Wenger's management.
Instead of hanging on to their star players for as long as possible, Arsenal have become something of a feeder club. They will have been troubled by the development of Financial Fair Play regulations having accrued a massive debt in the move from Highbury to the Emirates stadium, but now that they are on a more secure financial footing they will need to splash a bit of cash if they want to succeed any time soon.
They made a profit of around £20 million on Robin van Persie, having bought him from Feyenoord for a reported £3 million in 2004, but they need to re-invest some of that money to find a goal scorer who will provide as much as Van Persie did.
The frustration of failing to bring home a trophy in any of the past seven seasons will be compounded as their recent poor run of form has seen them slip further off the pace in the running for a Champions League spot. A win over their London rivals would provide the boost to morale that the Gunners are so desperately seeking.