His post match comments remain upbeat. Arsene Wenger maintains it is not all "doom and gloom" at Arsenal. But it is. And with the 4-1 thrashing at the weekend by Chelsea, Wenger may as well have handed in his resignation. He was effectively saying: “I can do nothing more here.” And he can’t.
Arsenal have won nothing since the FA Cup on penalties in 2005.
Things have certainly not been easy for the North Londoners for several years. Without the benefit of a gloriously wealthy benefactor, they have been and continue to struggle financially.
Building the Emirates Stadium nearly killed them. Literally. In their last season at Highbury, and many millions in debt because of the construction of the new stadium, it came down to the last match of the season against Tottenham for the Gunners to squeak into the final Champions league slot. If they had missed this, they would have gone the same way as Leeds. With a fire sale the only way to make payments on the mortgage and no Champions League money to finance it.
Financial policy at the club means that they are losing their best and finest—Thierry Henry left, as did Matthieu Flamini—and many suppose that they’ll be followed this summer by Adebayor, Van Persie and Fabregas. Let’s face it, World Class players are not likely to stay at the Emirates and get paid peanuts when even the likes of 15th in the league lowly Portsmouth can pay Sol Campbell $105,000 a week.
There are anomalies of course, glimmers of hope—the arrival of perhaps the most exciting new talent in the Premier League in Andrei Arshavin may prevent the acceleration of the slide, but that is all. Arsenal are heading downhill.
There are now no more excuses. Arsenal again managed to squeak into the Champion’s League. They have had their new stadium up and running for a few seasons now, money in the bank presumably. But not players on the pitch. And if they continue to make dismal and mediocre performances like the last four against Chelsea and Manchester United, their supporters are going to be less than keen to fill that lovely new stadium each week.
Wenger’s done nothing wrong—he’s the manager who lead his team to an undefeated season, to league and Cup successes. But while he’s doing his best with what he’s got, it’s no wonder he’s failing. Arsenal won’t get the players and won’t get the performances under the current structure. Next year they won’t make the Champion’s League. Sad to say of a once great club, but Arsene Wenger is better off elsewhere.