(womenforfootball.com)- The only club in Europe currently battling with crisis is not Liverpool for being 9th spot, Chelsea for their mid-table spot. It is not Manchester United being out of Champions league contention, nor is it Real Madrid with their young coach. It is Arsenal, which is in its worst club crisis ever witnessed. The clubs’ extremely patient fans are boiling in anger, booing their once legendary coach during the match, holding up banner wanting “Kroenke(Club owner)out”, even to the point of total division with fist fight against each other, outside the stadium, out of frustration, after the mediocre Arsenal games.
Is current height of crisis at Arsenal surprising? Not for the team supporters who have been through thick and thin of the club for decades. It is not surprising for pundits, including former Arsenal squad members.
For the 12th season in a row Arsenal look set to miss out on the Premier League title.
For the 6th year in a row, Arsenal was knocked out of Champions league games in first round of knock out stage.
For the first time in 21 years, Tottenham could finish above Arsenal at the end of the season.
With Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all out of title contention from the first few weeks of the season, Arsenal faced little competition from big guns for title contention this season.
The reasons for Arsenal miseries have piled up over several years, in which here we look at top 5 reasons for the historical crisis Arsenal is facing these days.
1. Club ownership & Kroenke’s poor management: Ever since the Billionaire American Sport investor Stan Kroenke pinched in and bought shares at Arsenal back in 2007 all the way to become the club owner in 2016, the club has been in financial prudence instead of making squad rejuvenation, while increasing ticket prices. Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston recently, Korenke had said: “If you want to win championships then you would never get involved. I think the best owners in sports are the guys that sort of watch both sides a bit. If you don’t have a good business, then you can’t really afford to go out and get the best players unless you just want to rely on other sources of income.” (Evening standard) After these comments, furious Arsenal fans have started petition to remove Kroenke as the owner.
2. Squad depth: It is not about age, but Arsenal truly lacks depth in defense and central midfield. Something that has not been addressed ever since departure of Patrick Vieira, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and alikes. Buying the experienced Peter Cech- the most impressive Arsenal player throughout the season- is not enough as the team continues to fail in offside strategy against opponents, and defenders are constantly left behind quick strikers of opponent team.
3. The number of big-name players Arsenal have lost over the years is mind-boggling in comparison to their young replacements. Henry, Pires, Vieira, Sagna, Petit, Ljunberg, Clichy are amongst the many who could not be replaced. Things are so severe that Arsenal even lacks a leader on the pitch as a team Captain.
4. Aiming for Champions League revenue than title: As painful as it sounds, Arsenal board members and even the manager for too long relied on top 4 finish in English Premier League to merely make it to UEFA Champions League the following season. Without any specific success target, Arsenal is perceived to play at Champions League to only receive the € 12m compensation for qualifying. Yet, the team displays the same errors in elite European games, and continue to be ousted by their opponents early in the games.
5. Disconnect between Arsenal board members and Club fans: The worst fate for a club happens when the club members do not listen to the team supporters’ needs, pundits and media. The team supporters have the most genuine feedback of the games, as they see improving or worsening condition of the team week-in week-out, while paying for the tickets and chanting for the team’s success.
In recent years, even the experienced and former squad members of Arsenal, amongst the pundits, have publicly voiced their concerns about squad depth, club’s poor management, and club’s mistakes in transfer market. But they are not being listened to by the Arsene Wenger, or any of club hierarchy. This disconnect has created a toxic sense of Arsenal club board members and the coach being egocentric corporation, who do not listen to the employees or the customers of the company. We all know the ill-fate of such corporations, and Arsenal club is quickly reaching the end point against furious club fans who have started shouting “we have had enough.”
It is unclear when changes will happen as a result of the brewing crisis at Arsenal, but whether this season or next, such crisis will not end without a casualty at hierarchy of the club.