7 Most Frustrating Things About Being an Arsenal Fan Right Now
Being an Arsenal fan is often a frustrating experience. The Gunners endured almost an entire decade without silverware before lifting the FA Cup in 2014, in which period they became the infuriating "nearly men" of the Premier League.
Even since ending their trophy drought, the Gunners still have the potential to irritate their own fans. Take the manner in which they started the season: After a summer of hubristic hype, they lost their opening encounter at home to West Ham.
Go to the next slide to discover the seven most frustrating things about being an Arsenal fan right now.
Losing the Opening Game
Arsenal’s undoing in 2014/15 was their failure to start the season well. The Gunners won just two of their opening eight games, handing Chelsea a lead that proved insurmountable.
Given that, it felt essential that they began this Premier League campaign strongly. Instead, they turned in a nervous display in a dispiriting 2-0 defeat to West Ham.
Losing the three points is bad enough. However, the most damaging aspect of the defeat is the way it’s slowed Arsenal’s momentum at the outset of a new campaign. Although they followed up with a win over Crystal Palace, Gunners supporters will understandably be disappointed not to have taken six points from their first two fixtures.
The Form of Petr Cech
When Petr Cech arrived at Arsenal from Chelsea this summer, he was widely hailed as the man who could turn the Gunners into legitimate title-challengers. However, his early form for Arsenal has been far from convincing.
Thus far, Cech has been more of a problem than a panacea. He made two costly mistakes in the West Ham match and might have got down quicker to prevent Crystal Palace’s equaliser at Selhurst Park.
A couple of stuttering performances do not make Cech a bad goalkeeper. However, the point of signing a goalkeeper with bags of Premier League experience is that he ought to be capable of hitting the ground running. Thus far, Cech has struggled to replicate his Chelsea form in an Arsenal shirt.
Arsene Wenger’s Failure to Sign a Defensive Midfielder
Against Crystal Palace, Arsene Wenger decided to withdraw Francis Coquelin to avoid the risk of him receiving a second yellow card. Although Mikel Arteta fared relatively well as his replacement, Gunners fans will wish Wenger had a more convincing alternative at his disposal.
Neither Arteta nor Mathieu Flamini have the physicality and ball-winning ability to match Coquelin’s contribution. At present, the younger Frenchman is absolutely integral to Arsenal’s hopes. With the transfer window close to closing, Arsenal supporters are tearing their hair out at Wenger’s refusal to recruit a suitable back-up.
Another Injury to Jack Wilshere
There is arguably no Arsenal player more frustrating than Jack Wilshere. He has bundles of talent, but just can’t seem to put together a run of fitness and thus form.
His latest injury is simply the last in a long line of problems. Many Arsenal fans must now be beginning to question whether or not Wilshere will ever fulfil his enormous potential.
Every injury has a knock-on effect that extends beyond his period on the sidelines. When Wilshere does eventually return, it will take him some time to regain the sharpness required of a Premier League midfielder. Wilshere’s season has been derailed before it ever begun.
The Manager Meddling with a Successful Formula
Arsene Wenger has a troubling tendency to tinker with his team at the start of the season. Last season, he sought to employ a 4-1-4-1 system that enabled him to field Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil in the same starting XI.
This time around, he made the baffling call to move Santi Cazorla out of the centre for the first Premier League fixture against West Ham. Cazorla was ineffective out wide, and Wenger rectified his mistake for the second match away to Crystal Palace.
Hopefully the Arsenal boss has learnt his lesson. Playing Cazorla in the middle was a hugely effective tactic last term—and if it isn’t broke, he shouldn’t attempt to fix it.
Olivier Giroud’s Limitations
Despite his acrobatic goal against Crystal Palace, Olivier Giroud’s limitations remain one of the most frustrating elements of this Arsenal team. For a set of fans who were once accustomed to watching Thierry Henry in his pomp, the lumbering Giroud is a rather different proposition.
With a couple of weeks still left in the transfer window, many Arsenal fans will be hoping that Arsene Wenger can unearth a striker with the pace and consistency in front of goal that Giroud lacks.
Alexis Sanchez’s Schedule
There’s nothing more frustrating than something beyond your control, and Arsenal fans will be understandably annoyed by Alexis Sanchez’s hectic schedule over the past year.
After following up the 2014 World Cup with a gruelling Premier League campaign, Alexis then led Chile to victory in the Copa America this summer. That meant he returned to preseason training late and was not fit for the start of the league season.
Alexis is arguably Arsenal’s most important player, so not having him available will have been hugely irritating to the Arsenal faithful.