Arsenal Ladies failed to qualify for the Champions League for the fourth consecutive time, a worrying trend for a club that used to dominate English football for more than a decade.
Manchester City and Chelsea will compete together for the second season in a row during the 2017/18 competition, while Arsenal have not qualified for the elite club tournament since winning the title back in 2012.
Arsenal Ladies did their part of the job by beating Doncaster Belles by two goals to nil with a brace for Jodie Taylor on her Arsenal debut. But Reading Women were unable to get a point at Chelsea despite using their most attacking line-up this season and lost by three goals to two.
Many Arsenal fans complain that Arsene Wenger only qualifies for the Champions League every season and often take it for granted, but the Ladies’ current streak shows that it is not as easy at it seems.
With another season of league failure, you have to wonder what happened and what kind of answers the postmortem inquiry will deliver. Where did it all go wrong? Was it the manager, the coaching staff, the players, the admin side or even the fans?
There is no doubt that the responsibility is shared between everyone but if there is one guaranteed lesson to be taken, it’s that preparation must be sharp so that the team hits the ground running as soon as the league starts.
It’s a short 16-game season compared to the men’s 38 games, the points that you lose early are points you might never catch up. Especially in a season where the Champions would end up unbeaten.
There is a simple fact: Arsenal Ladies were out of the title race by Matchday 3 and played catch up to the top two teams for the whole season to try to qualify for the Champions League.
- Matchday 1 Arsenal 3 Reading 1
- Matchday 2 Man City 2 Arsenal 0
- Matchday 3 Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2
Six points behind Man City and game over. For a club of the Arsenal Ladies’ stature and history it is clearly unacceptable. There’s a minimum standard and it has not been reached again and again.
I know there has been cup success every season and it’s important to carry on the tradition of winning at least a trophy per season, but the league is your bread and butter and teams are judged mainly on their league results.
Let’s hope that the club will analyze things properly, and I don’t means the GPS trackers, find out what went wrong and rebuild accordingly to be competitive enough in the forthcoming 2017/18 season.