This is no time for hysteria. Facts speak for themselves; a better than average Swansea side beat an average Arsenal side. We have no divine right, despite expectation, to win these games. Our position as an elite club probably remains, but as an elite team the reality is humbling.
Arsenal Football Club does not have an elite squad and struggles to field an eleven that are any better (or worse) than a number of Premier League teams, therefore, as I’ve been saying for a while, we have to align our perceptions accordingly.
Talk of how we’ve turned around a disastrous start overlooks two things; 1. Why we were in a position whereby we had such a terrible start. 2. ‘turning around’ is relative; given our position after those initial games, being amongst the Europa League places come the turn of the year would be viewed as a triumph. That’s where we are as a club. Those that think we have done the right things at all levels within the club to sustain ourselves as perennial title contenders over the last half a dozen years is at best naïve and at worst deluded.
I love the Arsenal and want everything; however we are currently not in a false position. As much as I would like to think otherwise we are pretty much where we deserve to be if you look at our levels of investment in our bread and butter; the playing staff.
Yes, I don’t deny our injury problems, bad luck, bad refereeing etc etc, but these things have to be factored in. Winning anything has to be achieved despite those problems and by the same rationale under achieving cannot be blamed on those same things.
No one really knows categorically what is going on at boardroom, owner and managerial level at Arsenal but the factual conclusion is that year on year we have declined in the achievement department since our last title, last trophy and reaching the Champions league. All the other stuff; finance, expansion, commerce is of course relevant but a football club is about that old cliché; being ‘there or there abouts’ and Arsenal Football club have not been’ there or there abouts’ for a good length of time.
Coming full circle, my conclusion is that (while I’m gutted at every loss) we have to realise that our current status is all about winning a few, drawing a few and unfortunately, losing a few.
Until such time as Arsenal the financial institution- doing well in the wallet has the ambition of being Arsenal the Football Club- doing well in the trophy cabinet, we have to deal with mediocrity.
Our beloved Arsenal does so many things right but has the club become so obsessed with financial matters that the powers that be have forgotten our raison d’être ; being a successful football club?