Despite a win on Thursday evening, Arsenal have blown the chance to win the Premier League and former forward Andrey Arshavin thinks an over-reliance on Arsène Wenger is the reason.
The Arsenal manager is under huge pressure with fans more unsettled than ever and, ultimately, the Russian thinks the organisation of the club is an issue.
“It’s a conservative club,” said Arshavin, who is currently playing in Kazakhstan.
“Over the last few years, Arsenal have bought two world-class players in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, while the goalkeeper Petr Cech has also joined. Apart from that, there have not been any major changes.”
Arshavin was in north London for four years in total, scoring 31 times in his 144 appearances for the club. After a long time at the Emirates Stadium, the Russian is well aware of how things work.
There’s little doubt the teams at Arsenal are built as Wenger sees fit but Arshavin is now questioning whether or not that’s a good thing.
“The whole team depends on the viewpoint of Arsene Wenger and his views towards football. I don’t know if this conservatism is a hindrance.”
The frustration and doubt is borne out of a failure to win the Premier League title this season. Despite seeing their rivals falter, the Gunners have not taken advantage and sit behind Spurs and Leicester City in the race for the title.
“This season, Arsenal had every chance to become champions given the squad they have. All their main rivals, Chelsea, Manchester United and even Manchester City have not been looking bright.
“Everyone was saying that the Gunners would be battling it out for the title, but as you can see, there is no comparison to Leicester this season. It is very likely that they will be crowned champions.”
That’s the sorry truth. The question remains, though: are Arsenal overly dependant on Wenger?
Quite possibly, yes. Things don’t look likely to change before next season and when the time does come, Arsenal will have to replace the manager of almost 20 years incredibly carefully. Arsène does so much that it will probably take more than one man to carry out all of his duties.
You get the idea, though, that Arshavin didn’t exactly mean that.