Josh Kroenke spoke at great lengths about the importance of Champions League football in the summer. After disappointingly missing out on it in two attempts last season, by way of an incredible collapse in the league and in the Europa League final, top four was certainly the priority briefed to Unai Emery at the start of the season.
Unfortunately, it’s not looking likely. Arsenal sit in 10th place on 19 points, 10 behind Chelsea who sit 4th. After a summer of good transfer business from Arsenal which included the signings of Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, Dani Ceballos and others, many expected Arsenal to easily finish top four. Some, more speculative fans, even predicting a challenge for the title.
However, the opposite, quite simply, has taken place. Arsenal started the season well, claiming six points from their first two games before a disappointing, but expected, loss at Anfield. Arsenal went on to draw to Spurs in the North London derby, before dropping a two-goal lead to Watford, a side now languishing at the bottom of the table having sacked their manager twice this season. The results weren’t exactly awful, but there was something dark hiding behind them. The performances. Arsenal were winning and drawing games with minimal shots, and relying on the fantastic Bernd Leno to keep out the onslaught of opposition shots.
Arsenal were a ticking timebomb and as bombs do, they blew up. Seven games went by without a win before Emery was relieved of his duties. Freddie Ljungberg was hired as Caretaker manager but with his non-existent managerial experience, this seems to be a job too big for him just yet.
Arsenal fell to another disappointing result as they lost to Brighton at the Emirates on Thursday night, taking their winless streak to nine. The club haven’t had a worse run in 42 years. Things can’t get much worse right? You’d be surprised.
In their next six games, Arsenal face away trips to West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth, Far from easy fixtures considering Arsenal’s away form. To make matters worse, the other three games come against Man City, Chelsea and Man United. The possibility of a no wins in any of these games is a very real possibility and one which would leave Arsenal fans genuinely worried about dropping into the championship.
Of course, a turnaround is always a possibility. A new manager could revitalise Arsenal, but it has to be the right man. As things stand, however, the thought of Champions League football seems a long way away, and a mid-table finish, very real, and the effects could be massive.
A midtable finish will almost certainly result in the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, and who knows who else. The appeal of a move to Arsenal would suddenly appear a lot less imploring, and the money would be limited. However, maybe a rebuild is exactly what Arsenal need.
Only the future can tell what is in store for Arsenal, but for this season at least, it is looking bleak.