Arsenal got out of the woods on Monday night, after staging a 3-goal comeback away to West Ham and win 3-1 on the night. A sought after the result and huge pressure relieved to the Gunners who have been on a shocking plummet.
But does this win signify a new era for the Gunners? Does it mean their defenders can now play more and not wobble around the pitch like toddlers swimming with deflated armbands? Does it mean Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will lead his teammates to press more with the ferociousness of Liverpool’s front three? No.
Questions still linger, and the newfound ‘hopes’ might be dashed again with a trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
A change of guard in the technical area hasn't changed matters much, as has a tinkering of the starting lineup. So where does the problem lie for Arsenal? In the Club’s management. Arsenal have been linked with a bunch of top managers but will these elite coaches change the face of Arsenal?
Leadership by referendum
Unai Emery represents the perfect human shield for the Arsenal hierarchy who have led the club by referendum. Opting to be people pleasers rather than make firm decisions for which they live or die.
Pierre-Emerick, already the Arsenal management was creating a noose for the incoming manager. Aaron Ramsey left on a free, there was a burning and an ugly situation around then captain Laurent Koscielny. They made the noose even tighter with Ozil’s 5-year contract. The replacements were not as efficient either; The midfield wasn't fixed while an unreliable and error-prone David Luiz was signed to restore calm the back.
Arsenal didn't just fall here. It was a gradual decline. Arsenal have had one of their worst runs in 40 years, and are no longer one of the elite top 6, leave alone top 4. Prior to the victory at West Ham, Arsenal were on terminal velocity and had failed to taste victory in over 6 weeks.
Arsenal’s most expensive signing, Pepe has spent more time on the bench, and the underlying tones have been, ‘he needs confidence’. Ironic how much confidence he could gain by spending more time on the bench!
There is now much more attention on the Kroenke's - Josh and Stan- together with Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s Head of Football. While the Club’s exec have failed, so the execs are also getting impatient with the fans.
The fans demanded more and better signings - Pepe, Ceballos, Tierney, et al. were brought into the fold. The fans demanded Ozil be back in the team, that happened. The fans then demanded Emery’s sacking and they showed The Spaniard the door. But just not enough...
Arsenal’s supremo have tried to win over the fans by being popular and many popular decisions, rather than providing direction in the good ol’ Arsenal. Where smart and tough heads brought in Arsene Wenger who enjoyed an excellent spell at the club, replaced then favorite Nicolas Anelka with Henry...that was ambition and balls.
As it is, not even the most elite of coaches can arrest Arsenal’s decline. Bolder and more decisive management at the top will.