At the present time, Arsenal winning the Premier League seems like an awful long way away. Just ask Paul Scholes.
There are no leaders, no Patrick Vieira, no Tony Adams, (Martin) Keown.
Sometime as a midfield player when you're up against it you have to say: 'Look, just come in, get in here beside me for five minutes or 10 and stop the flow of attacks.'
These, they go 2-0 down and they just carry on what they are doing. And you wonder why they are in the position they are in. I feel for the Arsenal fans, they get a little hint of the title for a few weeks and go to Chelsea, to Liverpool to City and they just do nothing.
Fans expect Arsenal to go for the league and I know they are third or fourth but they are a million miles away in my eyes.
For much of this season, Arsenal fans hoped that this could be their year. There were certain omens that suggested it might be the case. This season marks 10 years since Arsenal’s last league triumph. It’s also the campaign in which they shattered their transfer record to recruit Mesut Ozil. The arrival of a marquee player felt like a sign that trophies could soon be returning to Arsenal’s marble halls.
In the early part of the season, those portents bore fruit. Arsenal’s excellent form took them to the top of the Premier League table. At one stage, Arsene Wenger’s side picked up 10 consecutive wins in all competitions. The Gunners were firing on all cylinders.
That’s but a distant memory now. Arsenal’s recent Premier League form has seen them tumble from first place to fourth. Rather than chasing the title, Arsenal find themselves embroiled in an all-too-familiar battle to secure Champions League qualification.
Arsenal fans must set their dreams of a title win aside for another year. It’s difficult, as they know full well that winning the Premier League would be transformative for the entire club.
The most obvious impact would be upon the players. The recent capitulation at Chelsea was indicative of the inferiority complex that undermines the current squad. They have no experience of winning a trophy against elite competition. To have that achievement under their belt would infuse them with a confidence that no pep-talk from Arsene Wenger can provide them.
Arsenal may yet win the FA Cup this season. That would be a significant landmark for this team. However, it could not hope to match the injection of authority that a Premier League win would provide. Manchester United have shown in the past that winning the league can become a habit. It’s a habit that Arsenal are desperate to acquire.
It’s not just the players who would benefit from such a win. Arsenal’s manager has as much to gain. The Gunners’ collapse this season will have hurt no-one more than Arsene Wenger, who is desperate to end his own long wait for a trophy. In the first half of his time in London, he racked up the medals. However, he is now without a major prize in nine years.
At times, Arsenal fans worry that Wenger may have forgotten how to win. The team is ultimately constructed in his image, and it is a fragile one. Winning the league would restore his confidence and give him a boost that could see his reign at Arsenal significantly extended.
The current version of Arsene Wenger divides supporters. However, Arsenal fans are unanimous in their desire to see the old Arsene Wenger back. A title win could revitalise the Frenchman and give them precisely that.
The last group of people to benefit would be the fans. Being an Arsenal supporter isn't always easy. The Gunners flirt with success without every truly delivering. Fourth place might seem desirable to fans of Everton and Tottenham, but for a club with Arsenal’s aspirations it has a perennial purgatorial feeling to it. The club remain on the cusp of something without ever truly delivering.
Winning the title would bring a huge cathartic release to fans who will feel they have waited long enough. Following Arsenal is expensive, both emotionally and financially. The fans have been patient and deserve their reward.
The party to follow a hypothetical Premier League win would be like no other. A spell without a trophy has taught Arsenal fans that success can be fleeting: when it comes around, you simply have to enjoy it. Arsenal's next first-place finish will be just as treasured as any other title win in the club's history.