The struggle continues for Arsene Wenger’s men as Arsenal didn’t manage a single shot on target against Palace in the second half of their match yesterday Monday 10th April 2017, and despite trailing what many would consider a reachable seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand, their hopes of taking points from another tricky away encounter on Teesside against Middlesbrough next week are looking like an almost impossible task if Monday night’s display is anything to go by.
21 points behind Chelsea, 14 points behind Tottenham and another Champions League last-16 exit (seven years in a row now) makes this Wenger’s worst season at Arsenal. His summer transfer business certainly wasn’t bad by any means and the signing of Granit Xhaka is an example of a player who has found it difficult to acclimatize due to not being utilized to his best qualities.
“Like I said before, this isn’t Arsenal at this moment time,” added Walcott. Theo Walcott’s poignant words after Arsenal’s fourth consecutive away defeat in the Premier League told us more about the Gunners’ current state of affairs than the 28-year-old would have wanted to reveal. Walcott is generally one of the first players who will be picked for media commitments due to his polished, PR-trained persona which helps deflect away from a loss as disappointing as Monday night’s 3-0 hammering to Crystal Palace. “You don’t see it often at Arsenal. Things have happened. They need to stay in the dressing room and the players and staff need to sort it out,” said Walcott. “We are in it together here. We can’t be fighting each other.”
The question is, who are Arsenal right now? The identity as a club steeped in tradition and success cannot be questioned, but this season’s horrific demise should be. Wenger warrants the majority of the blame as he is the figurehead who selects the team, signs the players, deploys the tactics and sets the tone for everyone else — but the players shouldn’t escape without severe criticism for the way they have imploded in key games this season.
Defeat in sport is inevitable. The centre of frustration among many Arsenal supporters throughout the 2016-17 campaign has been the circumstances surrounding each major defeat. From the sidelines it has appeared that members of the first team squad haven’t given every ounce of energy to the cause, and behind closed doors the revelations that players have fought with their team-mates only adds to the fractious atmosphere which ironically clouds the fans right now.
Meanwhile, Wenger still refuses to reveal whether he’ll be manager of Arsenal next season. It’s apt that the players have played like a team with no manager at times this campaign. Devoid of direction, motivation and leadership, it’s crucial that changes to the management come as soon as possible.