Across the Pond: The Arsenal "Crisis"

Joe GSenior Writer IMay 12, 2009

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 07:  Manager of Arsenal Arsene Wenger shouts to his team during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg match between Villarreal and Arsenal at the Madrigal Stadium on April 7, 2009 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Across the Pond is a series that offers this Yank's take on major events in sports from Europe and the rest of the world. For the last installment, click here.

Football fans are a fickle bunch.

Arsenal is nearing the close of what will be a fourth consecutive season without trophies. We're seeing articles all over the place questioning Arsene Wenger's managerial philosophy and the overall direction of the club.

With all the panicky Gooners out there, one could be forgiven for thinking that Arsenal was struggling as badly as Newcastle.

As a Yank, all of this doom and gloom over a mere four seasons without glory is fascinating, and a little baffling.

To some, this minor drought constitutes a full-blown crisis.

If that's the case, then the question must be posed: Why do the 16 teams that don't finish in the top four each season even bother showing up for training?

If Arsenal is in a crisis, then Fulham and Everton must be in a complete tailspin, bound to melt down and be relegated to the Unibond Premier League at a moment's notice.

A "crisis" for Arsenal still results in 16 Premiership clubs that would love to trade places with them right now. A poor season marred by injury and upheaval still results in a top four finish domestically and an appearance in the Champions League semifinals.

Doesn't it seem like things are being overblown just a little bit?

We've got to stop the sensationalized coverage of the Gunners. No more comparisons to Leeds United, no more wild claims that Wenger will cut and run, and no more ridiculous assertions that Arsenal will never again challenge for trophies.

Don't get me wrong—Arsenal has underachieved quite a bit these past few seasons, but they are not in a crisis.

Newcastle's plummet to the bottom of the table this season, coupled with their high managerial turnover rate, would qualify as a crisis. Leeds being relegated to the third tier of English football less than a decade removed from an appearance in the knockout rounds of the Champions League qualifies as a crisis.

Let's put some perspective on this thing.

The New York Yankees are the most successful club in Major League Baseball history, yet they haven't won a title since 2000.

The Montreal Canadiens have won an astonishing 24 Stanley Cups, but none since the 1992-1993 season.

The Detroit Red Wings went over 40 years between Stanley Cups.

Before last season's triumph in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics last won a title in 1986.

Liverpool won no trophies between 1995 (League Cup) and 2001 (League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, etc.), and they've still never won the Premiership.

The Cincinnati Bengals have only finished with a winning record four times during my lifetime.

I won't even mention the respective curses of the Cubs and Red Sox.

The point is, sporting success is all cyclical. Every club in the world will struggle for periods of time, but the clubs with a great pedigree always bounce back.

Arsenal fans have no reason to show such high levels of panic. The club has spent time transitioning from "The Invincibles" to a new era and simply appears to be searching for their identity. Despite the struggles, the club still has a great manager and great talent on the books.

It's okay to be frustrated by the recent struggles, but please, let's leave the hyperbole at home.