Today will most likely confirm what has been painfully obvious for the last three years since Arsenal lost Cesc Fabregas in 2010, Samir Nasir (2011) and both Robin Van Persie and Alex Song in 2012.
These departures were encouraged by aging and benevolent manager Arsene Wenger and have collectively diminished an Arsenal team that defeated Barcelona 2-1 at the Emirates and were 1-1 in Barcelona, until a bit of refereeing madness conspired to have Van Persie sent off and Arsenal losing 3-1.Since that result, Arsenal have lost their sense of purpose and with it their style, quality and fighting spirit.
Mentally, Arsenal has looked shot and Wenger has looked bemused by it all and seems unable to lift his players.Bayern Munich will most likely add further misery to Arsenal's dismal season that has witnessed some of the worst performances by this once proud club. In December, when Arsenal played Bradford in the league Cup last eight, no one could have imagined a defeat.
But it happened, albeit on penalty kicks. The fact that it was the captain Thomas Vermaelen who missed the crucial last kick is synonymous with Arsenal's flaying defensive weaknesses.Vermaelen has looked short of confidence and brains this season.In his infinite wisdom, Wenger opted to rest six of his starting players for the last 16 FA Cup matches against Blackburn Rovers. In the end after a plethora of chances, Blackburn Rovers scored a freakish sort of goal with under 20 minutes remaining and try as Arsenal attempted, they were knocked out of the FA Cup.
Wenger rested his players with an eye to Tuesday's match at home against Bayern Munich which Arsenal proceeded to lose 3-1 anyway. So it was a wasted effort.The current Arsenal team has no great players and those who are there seem to lack mental toughness. It appears easy to disturb their thought processes and without much effort. And while Arsenal may have invested in a lot of midfield and striking options, which have generally failed, it is defensively, particularly in the two central defensive areas, that there appears to be large gaping holes which need to be filled.
Between Vermaelen, Pers Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, who play good and bad week in week out, there is no quality stability for the future. Even the current goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who threatened to be good two years ago, has regressed and looks too error prone to be trusted, even his home country Poland have given up on him as their number one choice. Wenger and his new assistant Steve Bould have to reexamine their respective roles.Bould was a tough no nonsense defender, great on spirit, but apparently not that bright.
It was Tony Adams and then Sol Campbell that had the intelligence, fight and heart in Arsenal days of pervasive defence.There has also been a noticeable loss of form and goal scoring ability by Theo Walcott, since he signed a new three-year contract. It is almost as if, he and the others that have signed new contracts (Alex Ox lade- Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkison and Kieran Gibbs) have relaxed themselves, comfortable in their short term future.This may only be coincidence, but as someone that does not believe in such occurrences, it is just not good enough.
Arsenal 2013 is a sad bunch of misfits and a team that needs to start rebuilding sooner rather than later.The next man to be shown the exit door should be Gervinho, whose performances have been inexcusable during the time he has been with this team. He is a player with a lot of skill on the ball, but his finishing in front of the goal is extremely poor and substandard.Another player that needs to be forced out is the injury prone and at times reckless tackling midfielder Abou Diaby. Wenger's obvious bias and preference for French players is a serious handicap to Arsenal.
With the season already in tatters, Arsenal needs to start thinking about winning events and tournaments. This overriding love affair that Wenger has with many failed Champion League campaigns has to stop.Arsenal purchased two quality players this season, Spaniard Santi Carzola and German Lukas Podolski. In 2014, they need at least five new players in defense and midfield; otherwise it will be more of the same. A lot of promises, a lot of pretense, but nothing to show for it.Goodbye Arsene Wenger!