Arsenal FC: Arsene Wenger and Gunners Heading for Disaster in 2011/12 Season
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After last season ended on a whimper for Arsenal, the campaign ahead looks just as bleak for the Gunners.
Already in the close season, manager Arsene Wenger has had to deal with his rivals spending big, signing all the top talent, strengthening their team and generally trying to steal a march on the opposition.
On top of that, Le Professor has also had to contend with several of his players implicitly, and even explicitly, stating their desire to leave the club and move to a team capable of winning trophies.
Add to that the fact a lot of key players have blabbed to the media and put pressure on themselves, by demanding the team finally win a trophy this time round, it seems Wenger is leading a ticking time bomb at the Emirates waiting to explode.
Having won just three times since their Carling Cup Final defeat to Birmingham City, Arsenal's 2010/11 season finished on a downer, suffering crushing home losses to the likes of Aston Villa and seeing what seem a certain place in the UEFA Champions League next season slip away.
Now the Gunners will go into the new season with the failures of the previous campaign still fresh in the memory, while Wenger will have two more unnecessary matches against obscure European opponents to dent his pre-season plans.
And speaking of the Carling Cup Final, the players' confidence won't be sky high knowing they couldn't even win a trophy against a team who were incapable of staying in the Premier League.
Will 2011/12 turn out to be a disaster for Arsenal?
Arsenal most likely won't be going into the new season full of belief, something which is very significant. Chelsea ended 2009/10 on a high, winning six of their last seven league games and scoring 28 goals in the process.
They then started 2010/11 in a similar vein, again winning six out of their first seven league games, scoring 23 goals.
Arsenal have also had the problem of their biggest Premier League rivals already spending big this summer and signalling their intent ahead of the new campaign.
One of the club's top transfer targets, Phil Jones, completed his £16 million move from Blackburn Rovers to Manchester United, and look set to add another on Arsenal's radar, Aston Villa's Ashley Young, to their ranks for £20 million.
Meanwhile Liverpool have secured rising England star Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for £20million, with Chelsea also showing off their financial power having agreed a £17.7million deal with RSC Anderlecht to sign the next Didier Drogba, Romelu Lukaku.
Then there's Arsenal, who have signed Carl Jenkinson from Charlton Athletic for £1million and have far more column inches devoted to players leaving than those arriving.
For the Arsenal players on holiday reading, watching and hearing how much stronger their opponents are getting, not only must it be quite concerning but also quite disappointing, with the Gunners having missed out on some of their top targets and giving off an impression of a lack of ambition.
Again, confidence and trust in Arsene Wenger and the board of directors won't be sky high from the players, with almost every other club seemingly adding more and more top talent to their ranks.
But even when Arsenal do sign new players, they're going to have to offload talent, with centre-back a particular problem position.
Considering the Gunners signed two new centre-backs last season and have four centre-backs on long contracts, yet still don't have a quality enough central defender to partner Thomas Vermaelen, it's clear disharmony within the defence and anger towards Wenger and the board will occur should Arsenal sign a new defender, doing nothing to create a positive vibe at the club ahead of the new season.
And while that's going on, players have spoken to journalists about their desire to leave Arsenal.
Speaking to Danish media, Nicklas Bendtner said: "I can promise that there won't be another season like this one. I have decided 100 percent that I must leave Arsenal."
Then there's Denilson, who told the press: "I'm not happy at Arsenal and, after five years at the club, it's best for me to go... I believe I've had my best season personally, but I want to win titles."
Samir Nasri also poured doubt over his Arsenal future, while Gael Clichy is widely reported to be leaving, with it also common knowledge captain Cesc Fabregas would rather be at another club, with Andres Iniesta claiming the World Cup winner would fit in well at FC Barcelona.
Such reports, and more importantly comments from players who still are contracted to Arsenal, will do nothing but create a sense of animosity within the camp, with players effectively telling their teammates they're not good enough footballers.
Togetherness is absolutely vital in football; it won Manchester United the Premier League and FC Barcelona the UEFA Champions League.
Such togetherness is clearly not evident at Arsenal, and when the Gunners need to change the squad around, selling off players who are part of the fabric and integrating new faces into the team, that close-knit feeling is not something which is going to be garnered any time soon, especially considering the fans have also turned their back on some of the team's key players.
And lastly, the Arsenal players have given themselves a huge psychological mountain to climb in the new season, putting unnecessary pressure on the team to finally win an elusive trophy.
Jack Wilshere claimed it will be a disaster if the Gunners don't win any silverware next season, while Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou have publicly demanded the team win a title in the 2011/12 campaign.
So, as it's shaping up to be, this is an Arsenal team which has all the makings of a ticking time bomb if they don't make a fantastic start to the new Premier League season.
Because when a player says his club must win a trophy, then the season doesn't start great and the chances of winning something look ever slimmer, not only is it a huge, public body blow to the club, but it also makes the player doubt why he's at that club, and whether he'll ever be a success there.
That looks likely to be the case for Wilshere, Walcott and Djourou, with the media painting a crystal clear picture of Arsenal and their rivals for the 2011/12 campaign.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea have already spent big and Manchester City will soon too, with the fans full of hope and optimism, and the players looking forward to what the new season will bring.
Arsenal have barely spent a dime, with the fans and players feeling the same; disappointed, frustrated, demanding success, and scared of failure. All the perfect ingredients for disaster.
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