Why have Arsenal not won a trophy in seven years?

By on November 30, 2012 - 140 views

Arsenal’s demise from the “invincibles” is a problem which has not been solved by Arsene Wenger.

You could point to several significant reasons for Arsenal’s trophy drought, which has overshadowed the clubs recent success; did they became a victim of the emergence of the “billionaire” owners in football meaning they could no longer compete financially, with the likes of Man City and Chelsea? Did Wenger make an error of judgment by never replacing Arsenal’s talisman captain Patrick Vieira?

That in itself is only scratch on the surface and just part of the real answer to the underling problem for Arsenal in the last seven years. The real reasoning lies deep in the centre of the club and the issues which have emerged off the field rather to those on the field in recent years.

Arsenal in 2003-04 season changed the footballing philosophy of the Premier League, they brought an attacking style to the league which had never been seen before. They were hailed; “invincibles” and defied football logic by winning the Premier League without losing a single game.

Still eight years on we look back at this remarkable football achievement and with the emergence of billionaire owners and the oil money of Chelsea and Manchester City no one has matched or come close to eliminating this achievement.

Wenger alone had created something unique and had revolutionised the way football was played with the “invincibles”. Wenger was hailed as a “genius” and many thought that season Arsenal would go on and rule football for years to come but the strength and talent of the Invincibles faded and deported. The foundations of which Wengers empire had been built was slowly falling part as the end of an era was drawing close at the historical Highbury Stadium.

The demise of the “invincibles” in 2006 is an underling reason why Arsenal have not won a trophy since they left Highbury. It’s more obvious now, that Wenger made an error of judgement by never replacing the club’s talisman captain; Patrick Vieira, Arsenal have never had a captain and leader like the talisman player since, as result Arsenal’s midfield still lacks any “steel” and is too “brittle”.

A host of players have played a part in trying to fill the void left by Vieira in the team such as Flamini, Denilson, Alex Song and Diaby in recent seasons but all of them have fallen short of filling the boots of Patrick Vieira and providing the presence in midfield. At the time of losing the captain, no one foresaw the consequences it would have and Arsenal are still waiting for a trophy.

It was an end of an era which seemed to start the exodus at the club like many other players after him which is a worrying continued trend still. Somehow Vieira, seemed to foresee the fall and demise of such a great club and team when he left for Juventus in 2005. The demise of the Invincibles continued with Ashley Cole’s move to Chelsea a year later in 2006 and then the departure of Arsenal’s all time top scorer; Thierry Henry in 2007 to Barcelona.

The walls of the “Invincbles” were crumbling down around Wenger.

The sale of Arsenal’s “crown jewels”, with the cream of the best players being sold season after season, has been a worrying continued trend at the club and has been a major factor for the trophy drought in recent seasons.

Worryingly it doesn’t seem to be halting any time soon, with Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna looking destined for the Arsenal exit with their contracts running down.

Its problem which should never happen at a top club, to allow players contracts such as Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott run down to their last 12 months is a trend which would have never happened under the years of David Dein who always ensured players contracts were never left to their final 12 months.

As result of this error of judgement, last year, Arsenal saw one of the clubs talisman; Samri Nasri leave to Man City and go on to win the Premier League, along with Gael Clichy who was the last surviving squad player of the Invincible era.

This trend is not new either with Kolo Toure another key player during the Invincibles, leaving for Man City in 2009 following the trend set by Adebayor who signed for Man City in £25m deal on 18th July 2009. If Arsenal are going to win trophies consistently again, it’s paramount that Wenger keeps a core squad of players together.

Arsenal can’t possibly continue to competitively compete for Champions League football and honours, let alone compete with Manchester City and Man United for the title, if season after season, they sell the likes of Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie to their fierce rivals.

Wenger is not to be blamed as such, the real blame lies with the board who system of allowing players to run down their contracts to their final year and force a sale from the club. Arsene Wenger has not received the praise he deserves for doing a remarkable job in itself to just keep Arsenal afloat and in the top four.

Football is in an era now which is dictated by money, which Arsenal have become the victim of being unable to financially compete in the market with teams such as Man City and Chelsea, the game has sold its soul money and with everyone spending more than they have.

Arsenal are an example of being one of the only clubs that are run properly and rarely spends what it can’t instead its criticised and ridiculed because of its lack of trophies in seven years and the sale of their best players pouched by other teams like Man City and Chelsea and bought with oil money.

It also slips many people’s minds that we are in era of spending giants in football now, where Man City and Chelsea have blown everyone else out of the water.

The goal posts have moved in football, sadly it’s not about the prestige of winning the FA Cup or League Cup, the now so called minor cups but the value financially of winning cups. The FA Cup is now only worth £1.8 million and the League Cup is worth even less financially, at £100,000 which is why Arsenal have not prioritised them ahead of a top four place and one reason Arsenal not won a trophy for seven years.

Another problem which is often ignored by Arsene Wenger, with regards to Arsenal’s demise in recent seasons is the lack of winning mentality in the squad. Wenger’s recent teams have lacked that “winning mentality” and “fight” of previous Arsenal teams, to win those gritty games on a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke for example. That “winning mentality” is not bought it’s coached into teams.

The Invincibles, had the “winning mentality” running through the team with Vieira, Campbell, Bergkamp and Henry all wanting to win. The cup winning teams before them had the same “winning mentality” at the core with Tony Adams and Steve Bould who all had the same desire and fight to win!

You can have the most talented players but without any winning mentality or fight you win nothing which has been the problem with the more recent Arsenal teams.

Wenger knows Arsenal’s ability and its resources available to the club, better than anyone, especially those who fans who are ‘wolves in sheep clothing’ and forget that this is the very man who won the Premier League three times and the FA Cup 4 times during his current 16 year tenure at the London club, whilst also managing to win the Premier League without a single defeat during the 2003-2004 season.

But fans always expect immediate success in this day and age in football, when you tasted the success Arsenal have and a club of that statue, continued success is expected every season.

In theory, there is not one significant reason to why Arsenal have not won a trophy for seven years but a contribution of reasons which varies from; Arsenal becoming a victim of the “billionaire owners” to the worrying trend of selling their best players season after season.

Wenger is still the right man for the job at Arsenal, he is the only man who can lead Arsenal back to the glory years of the Invincibles and Double team because they were of his own creation but above all else its important all Arsenal fans pull in the same direction as legend Herbert Chapman who once said:

“A football club should be like a great big family with all members of it sticking and pulling together in the same direction”.

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James Bayley

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  1. Wolfgang

    November 30, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I say get rid of the fm. It’s not only the sale of top players. It is his tactics. There is no plan b. Moreover since Lehman, gunners have had a string of
    mediocre ones.
    He always plays attack and doesn’t believe in anti soccer.That is why teams know how to beat the gunners by relying on hit and score .
    As for his boast that Arsenal can stll win the epl,I am not convinced.Of course in football you can never say never.

  2. Tasos

    November 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    A winning mentality is difficult thing to measure. Birmingham City beat Arsenal in the 2011 Carling Cup final but those same players relegated the club later that season, do you attach those players with a winning mentality?

    David Dein was a charismatic character and maybe Arsenal have missed his abilities but lets not heap too much praise where its not warranted. Edu was a very talented midfielder but he left Arsenal on free contract at the end of the invincible season whilst David Dein was still at the club.

    The debt from the new stadium caused Arsenal to compete with one arm tied behind there back whilst the new generation of sugar daddy ownership inflated the transfer/wages market to unimaginable heights.

    FFP promises to redress some of the financial balance within football, with Arsenal now entering a new sponsorship era the future is looking far healthier for the club in order to regain winning ways.

  3. James Bayley

    December 1, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Well that’s one solution but that will destroy the foundations of Wengers work at Arsenal, yes he’s done that partly himself when the walls of the Invincible crumbled around him but it was mainly out his control but the boards doing. It all went wrong for Arsenal when they took a big gamble and decided to put millions of investment into a new state of an art stadium knowing players from the invincible like Cole, Toure, Viera, Henry to extent would make way in their transfers to make the money they still doing that now. Arsene needs more praise than he’s getting at the moment, all I see is Arsenal fans not all but some throwing stones at him when the famous Herbert Chapman once said a football club a big family where everyone has to pull in the right direction. Maybe I’m defending Arsene Wenger too much here but remember one thing above all else, Arsene Wenger was the manager who turned a working class club which he was effectively given in 1996 to a world-wide global football club who became a super club and are still considered one the best clubs in Europe. Trophies will come for Arsenal sooner rather than later now.

  4. @babakrdaemi

    December 1, 2012 at 12:17 am

    I believe the biggest problem is the change in dynamic like you. We can’t compete with clubs that have no financial boundaries. The problem is the media ignore it and congratulate the like they are scream raised together from youth.

    The commentators like ala shearer always bang on about Chelsea’s great signings. What is great about spending the most on a player anyone with FIFA 2012 knows is world class?

  5. Oguntuase Amos

    December 1, 2012 at 1:44 am

    We have passed through this road many times and there are no new ideas or reasons for lack of trophies. The points mentioned had been over flogged. The mistakes the fans are making is that they still see professional clubs in the mould of club still in thr dark age when people played for fun or through the eye of Abramovic where Chelsea a club has become a toy to play with and have fun.. Football is business and people invest in it to make profit first and foremost and then trophies if possible. I have never seen an investor who wishes that he runs at a lost or spend frivolously unless he stole the money. The question is what has Arsenal lost by not winning trophies for seven years? In practical sense and in business language, they lost virtually nothing only the prestige of wining a trophy. The financial return from winning the EPL depends on so many factors, but the difference between the winner and the top six is not that substantial. Similarly the gap between winning the UCL and getting to the knockout stage is also not much. During this period Arsenal has been within the top four, never missing champion league spot, having the most modern club stadium, good academy, training and medicsl facilities and a solid base and financial security for the unforseable future and surety for the continued existence of the club. Has anyone ever asked that what would have happened to Chelsea or City if the over £1b expended by each of them had been a bank loan? Obviously they would have been liquidated. Arsenal decided to face and overcome her own evil days while others postponed theirs thinking that the day of reckoning would not come. It can never get worse for Arsenal than it has been this season. The club is out of the doldrums and it would be sensible for fans that had been patient for seven years to negotiate this last curve faithfully than to destroy all their good work. Arsenal may be ridiculed today because of lack of silverware but will smile tommorrow when the rich of today face their own hard times. Only Man U has anything to boast about and not the likes of Chelsea and City for we know how many years they endured without trophies before they started buying the few they won. In terms of overall club achievement and guarantee for the future, Arsenal has not done badly.

  6. AJ

    December 1, 2012 at 5:21 am

    One reason has been a lack of bench options to help with “Plan B” and also in the crunch part of the season where we have been in contention for all four trophies, but end up petering away quickly around Feb/Mar. If we look at the early 2000’s, we had options such as Wiltord and Kanu on the bench, and of course had both Henry and Bergkamp up front. We also had Freddie Ljungberg who was always able to bring something different, esp. in crunch moments. Right now, we do not have enough options to change things up mid-game, particularly on the creative end.

    The boss last week complained about player tiredness, but we should really have two quality players for each position so that we can rotate with confidence. To me, player tiredness is not a valid excuse in the current era, where clubs are much more than first XI’s nowadays, although the game immediately after the international break can always be a problem.

    Another reason why we haven’t won trophies for seven seasons has been due to weak links, be it Eboue, Denilson, Clichy (he has matured now with Man City), etc.; who made schoolboy errors at critical times. Thankfully most of these weak links have now moved on, although Santos (and perhaps Djourou) concerns me in terms of weak links.

    However, I still do believe in AW, and the current squad is not too shabby, and hopefully creative options will be brought in January. It is assumed that the worst of our financial constraints with the new stadium is behind us now. We also really need a competent left back to cover for, or be in rotation with, Kieran Gibbs. Full-backs are critical for attack as well as defence, as we have seen with Podolski having to put in overtime to cover for Santos.

  7. Overstretched finances to blame

    December 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    It’s so obvious why Arsenal have failed to spend like they used to – it’s because of the massive mortgage on the new stadium!

    It’s no coincidence the team have fallen into a spiral of demise since the move to the Emirates – the big money signings that should have been made are no longer affordable when huge mortgage payments need to be met.

    When you no longer bring in top players for top money, all the rest of the good players recognise they will not win anything anymore, and leave for clubs who will.

    These players are not mercenaries, they are all foreigners who were plucked from their home countries by the promise of enormous wages and Glory – Toure, Adebayour, Nasri, Clichy, Van Persie, and even before them, Henry, Viera etc.. not one Londoner or academy graduate – you are simple in the head if you think they owe an ounce of loyalty to any English football club.

    If the Arsenal had not overstretched themselves, by chasing more money from the new stadium, putting themselves into nearly half a Billion pounds worth of debt, they would not have had to sell their best players to break even/show a small profit, never mind be able to buy top players like they used to from abroad.

    Arsenal are a victim of their own greed for profit, not a model of prudent business.

    All the rest is just papering over the cracks.

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