Arsenal are a frustrating club to support. Perennial underachievers, they find new and bewildering ways to fall short year upon year.
In recent seasons, the situation at the club has taken another negative twist with anger at the manager, board and owner on the rise—but what is the single most frustrating thing about supporting Arsenal?
Bleacher Report spoke to 10 Arsenal fans on Twitter to discover what they consider the most exasperating aspect of following Arsenal.
1. No real hope of change until the manager or owner goes
Fan: Sameer Shah, @TheSquidboyLike
"As a sports fan, one of the key things that keeps me going is hope. Whether that's in the short term or long term, hope of better times ahead.
"Unfortunately, for me, this hope has been eroded when it comes to Arsenal. It's no secret that we're kings of producing the groundhog season for the best part of a decade now. We either start well and give the pretence of a title challenge before the annual collapse that sees us settle for CL qualification. Or, we start badly and recover to clinch that CL spot.
"Of course, we didn't make the CL last season—which perversely gave me hope that things might change at the club. However, our owner renewed the manager's contract and is seemingly content with our current performance levels, while the manager remains incapable of getting the players to consistently perform to their maximum.
"Until we have an owner who demands better, or a manager capable (be it tactically and/or motivationally) of getting the best out of the players every week, my hope lies dead in the water."
2. The team is less than the sum of its parts
Fan: Tobi Wilson, @tobiwilson56
"The most frustrating thing about being an Arsenal fan at the moment is that for the first time in recent memory, we have a team that is less than the sum of its parts.
"We've relied on the coaching and genius of Arsene Wenger to make rag-tag players into a team, or create world-beaters from unknowns, but now we have a lot of sought-after proven talent and can't compete with teams with [arguably] less talent on paper."
3. Deja vu
Fan: Keith Kennedy, @keithdsign
"The sense of deja vu every season; in the beginning there is a small sense of optimism that this year might just be different—of course three or four games in we know that it was all a con and we start making the same mistakes, conceding sloppy goals, underestimating lower-table teams and getting a spanking from the big boys. It's a case of rinse, repeat and hope for top four."
Fan: David Nelboy,@davidnelboy
"Clearly Arsenal Football Club's biggest problem is consistency. We've heard it many times in the past by ex-players and pundits, and we'll keep hearing this word for a very long time. The reason why this is frustrating for us fans is because we've seen our team play some world-class football over the years—football that any team in the world would dream of playing.
"We've all witnessed these matches where every player has a five-star performance—I briefly think of our 2-0 win away at Manchester City a couple of seasons back, our 3-0 win Chelsea at home last year, even when we were too much for Bayern Munich in the Champions League at home.
"These matches are the perfect reflection of what our players, our team is capable of producing at the very top level.
"Yet, in a very 'Arsenal' fashion, we still manage to have diabolical performances against somewhat lesser sides (Watford away this season, Crystal Palace away last season, Southampton a couple of seasons ago).
"Personally I don't understand how or even why this happens on a yearly basis. Take the past few weeks as a prime example: We played a somewhat promising and encouraging match away at Stamford Bridge, a ground where we are used to getting battered all over the park yet we almost won the tie. In the end it finished 0-0, but we had a good feeling of pride and self belief, we then went on a small winning run that came to a shuddering halt.
"After taking the lead and looking comfortable away at Watford, we lost the game after collapsing under a small wave of pressure. How on earth can this happen? A team such as Arsenal should be more than good enough to see off a few last attacks from a lesser team, but still we missed golden opportunities to see off our opponents and we paid the price for those mistakes.
"This may sound obvious to football fans who are reading this, but consistency is key to winning any silverware at a football club. It's frustrating for us Arsenal fans to go to games week in week out, not knowing which team will turn up: Will we see the world-class side or will we see the weak and error-prone side?
"A club like Arsenal shouldn't have this problem but sadly, they do and have ever since we've moved to the Emirates Stadium. Some argue it's mentality, others argue it's pre-match tactics…nobody really knows. We just have to hope for the best every time we hear the referee's whistle at the start of every match."
5. Failure to spend
"One of the biggest frustrations of being an Arsenal fan is our apparent inability to capitalise on our improved economic position to compete with the world's biggest clubs for big signings.
"We are a huge club with a global fanbase yet continually fall short when it comes to securing top talent. As fans, we're entitled to ask precisely where the money is going, because it doesn't seem to be invested in the team."
6. The polarised fanbase
Fan: Stig, @stigem
"Arsenal might have one of the most polarised groups of fans out there. The 'Wenger Out' brigade versus the 'Arsene knows' following has become a stale battle. Even though most fans lie somewhere in between these two, the moderates don't voice their opinion as loudly.
"Arsenal Fan TV and several other bloggers who are very opposed to Wenger continue to work at odds to the club. I'm not familiar with many 'Pro Wenger' blogs, but as always it's the few negative views that tend to draw the most attention."
7. Encroachment of apathy
"My frustration with Arsenal is not one single item I can put my finger on except maybe the growing frustration with myself. I now find that I don't even rush back home to watch games on TV, I have stopped going as a season ticket holder—rather exchanging my ticket and paying a reduced renewal rate—as like most I fear losing it but don't favour using it.
"It's my apathy that upsets me but I can't seem to change, I find myself being exactly one of those people I despised only five or six years ago. I still deeply love Arsenal but somehow just don't seem to find the will to care as much as I should or did. I don't think I am alone."
8. Fans have no voice
"One of the most important concepts that unites all Gooners is the idea that collectively we have a voice. Any given person alone cannot possibly wish to shout loud enough to grab Wenger's or Kroenke's attention, but when we all stand and shout together it must be loud enough to be heard.
"The frustration felt by many supporters, including myself, in recent years is in large part because our voice has fallen on deaf ears. We shout 'spend more money! Compete with top clubs!,' but we get ignored and the club decides against appointing a director of football.
"We shout 'Place Wenger under pressure! Compel him to either modernise with the game or move on from Arsenal!,' and the response is allowing Wenger to ignore all contract talks until the end of the season and then to hand him a new two-year extension.
"And these are only the hard-pressing mainstream issues, the smaller ones we cannot even wish to have addressed. As supporters we have now found ourselves in a rather frustrating position because we are caught between our unmeasurable loyalty to Arsenal Football Club and our increasing anger at the management for their unapologetically obvious disregard for our input.
"As a result the supporters have been left with no realistic hope of winning the league, and even less realistic hope that perhaps out of the ashes of a poor league run and a year in [the] Europa [League] will arise a rejuvenated, transfer-strengthened and competitive Arsenal. Without any hope for the present and even less hope for the future, the frustration that is vocalised by so many of us Gooners can best be described as a cry for help. Help to stop what seems to be Arsenal's slow drift into mediocrity."
9. Frailty in big moments
"Arsenal's frailty in big moments is frustrating beyond belief, due to three main things. Firstly, it happens season upon season and no-one seems to learn any lessons. Secondly, previous teams under Wenger seemed to have resilience in abundance. For example, in 2001 we were a man down at Anfield and yet won 2-1
"Lastly, if we could overcome our mental fragility we would have won the league by now and saved us from accusations of lacking 'cojones.'"
10. The mess in midfield
Twitter: Sean McKinney, @RangerGunner35
"When Arsenal switched to a back three it stabilised a team in free fall. However, it has limited our offensive creativity immensely. Arsenal have become remarkably predictable to play against. We've been relying on a predictable system of pinging passes wide and hoping to create with combination play of Ramsey and either Ozil, Alexis and whichever wing-back is playing in that three.
"Bigger teams have and will continue to easily exploit this and hit us on the counter, continuing to leave us exposed. Switching to four at the back allows us to insert another creative midfielder (ideally Jack Wilshere) to keep our attack differentiating in the approach to goal.
"With players as dynamic as Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez, having more creators makes their movement that much more dangerous. Not only can that illuminate Mesut Ozil's unique passing ability, it should keep teams from committing forward and alleviates the need for three centre-backs."