Another promising year for Arsenal looks as though it will end with a whimper. For most clubs, a top four finish in the Premiership and semi-finals in both the Champions League and FA Cup would be seen as a cause for celebration, but not Arsenal.
They like to keep up with the Jones and their Jones are Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. At the pointy end of the Premiership you need to deliver results and that means holding up trophies with red and white ribbons dangling from them.
Throughout the course of the season Arsenal have played some scintillating soccer and truth be told they haven’t been that bad, but the onus is on them deliver each and every game.
Could it be that the Gunners are yet to recover from the loss of Thierry Henry and Fredrik Ljungberg? Both were tough, uncompromising and personified the Arsenal spirit and character. Sure the likes of Samir Nasri, Mikael Silvestre and Andrey Arshavin came into the side, but they aren’t in the same soccer league as these two.
You also have to factor in the departures of Jens Lehmann, Mathieu Flamini, Aliaksandr Hleb and Philippe Senderos. All were good players and their departure marks the end of an era. From the starting XI which took the field for the 2006 Champions League final only Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure and Cesc Fabregas remain.
In recent times, Arsenal has played second fiddle to the other teams in the transfer market, especially Manchester United. Speaking of United, they travel to Old Trafford this weekend to play the Red Devils. After the Champions League semi final loss they would love nothing more than a win here. While it wouldn’t mean anything as far as Arsenal’s current season goes, it may light a spark that they could take with them into the 2009/10 season.
Soccer betting has United as favorites but that has never troubled Arsenal in the past. If they believe in themselves, they are more than talented enough to leave Old Trafford with three points.
Arsene Wenger cops a lot of stick and this would be a good way for him to silence his critics. And for once the Liverpool fans will be cheering him on hoping that he pushes all the right buttons to have the Gunners firing.
David Wiseman is a sports analyst who works for Betfair Australia. He will be providing us with regular opinion from Down Under. As well as football, he is, being an Aussie, a huge fan of Cricket, afl and nrl rugby league.