Hear me out.
We are all upset. It's time to speak up about the future of our football club. It's time to be discontent about the state of Arsenal. It's time for change. Who should make way for this change? Well, that is in the eye of the beholder. But I am not here to discuss who or why we need change. Rather I want to tell you something I think everyone needs to hear: That we can persevere. That our club is destine for better things. That you will find a reason to be positive when, to be frank, there isn't one.
Preface: I am from Seattle, and if you know anything about Seattle, we are probably one of the most cursed sports towns around. I actually think a bit of me died during the 49th Super Bowl. The local college team went 0-12 in football (this actually worked in my favor since I went to their rival college). My pro basketball team was torn away unfairly. My baseball team hasn't made the playoffs since I was 8. The local team, Sounders FC, did just win the title but prior had never advanced past the first draw in the playoffs. Through all this I have still found a way to get out there and root for my terrible teams through thick and thin, no matter what. But I refuse to associate that terrible team title with my Arsenal.
Spoiled with the invincible season and a rich history of trophies, Arsenal have high expectations every year. Our fan-base understands that excellence is a standard. That every year we should be competing, pushing, and being in the hunt for the top. Let’s talk about a few things and see if we cannot force ourselves to have a sliver of hope for what is to come.
It starts with the youth, and what can I say other than our youth squad is something to take pride in?
Reiss Nelson's sumptuous skill set displayed this summer tells me he has the potential to be world class. Joe Willock's intelligence and ability promises a career of success. Krystian Bielik, Eddie Nketiah, Donyell Malen. The list goes on. When you take a gander at the teams that have reaped success from the lowest depths of their domestic leagues, you will notice a similarity. Monaco, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Leipzig, Nice; these teams are consistently built around their developing and exciting youth products. All those teams listed previously are in the top 12 youngest teams in the Europe’s top 5 leagues. The average age ranging from 24.3 - 25.4 year of age. Arsenal do not make the top 50 in terms of the youngest teams in the top 5.
It is time to get younger for Arsenal, and we are no strangers to teenage debuts. Remember this is the club that has always debuted their teenagers -- including Cesc "Snake" Fabregas, Nicolas Anelka, Serge Gnabry, Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour. All of these players debuted at the age of 19 or younger.
Seems time to turn to the teens if the current squad can't figure it out. And our younger players are ready for that call. I see very bright things in our youth squad to come.
Firstly, this is not a paragraph about who we should buy or why our owners won't spend.
An addition to the team should be someone who takes their experience and adds to the team's game. Media, fans, twitter, and so on are focused on spending large amounts of money for players who may not work well tactically.
Take Falcao for example. One of the most prolific goal scorers in Ligue 1 and La Liga struggled in the Premier League. With 7 goals in 4 appearances already in Ligue 1 (via WhoScored) you would think he wouldn't have an issue at a younger age playing on United or Chelsea. You know the rest...
Who’s to say that those players on Arsenal's radar will carry their form over to the Premier League or from other domestic clubs? While transfers imply success they definitely do not guarantee it. Nasri, Fabregas, Clichy, Sagna - they all saw declines upon walking away from the Emirates. Transfers consistently have their standouts and their snub-outs. It works the other way around too, and no transfer is certain in enhancing the team.
Is there a need for change in some of the players we have? Absolutely. But to say that the team on paper is not good enough simply isn't true. I have seen Leicester win a Premier League. I have seen a team of teenage Monaco stars storm to the semifinals of the Champions League and become world-known. Hell, I even saw the United States beat Spain in a Confederations Cup. These are teams that were heavily outmatched against their opponents but still managed to be good enough.
In respect to recent rumors: Arsenal are bigger than any player, and we don't need an addition of Kylian Mbappe or to retain Oxlade-Chamberlain to be a better side. We will make it with or without anyone, we are the Arsenal and we are resilient in times of shit-housery. If we made it through the Gervinho-Andre Santos-Denilson-Chamakh-Bendtner era then we will make it through this one. Our team will be OK.
The one comment I will make about Wenger that it is time to stop with the toying around with positions. Bellerin at LWB, Ox at RWB, Monreal at CB. I have never seen an approach like this see success for anyone. Then again, I do most of my coaching from my couch.
Coaching is always going to be evolutionary and spares no one in its changes. Mourinho thought he was on top of the world until a Chelsea side sacked him just a few months after bringing a title to Stamford Bridge. He wasn't the only one to get a quick guillotine either after bringing success to a club.
But when you think about our coach and his future, remember that his success is still more than what many other clubs can relate to. I am not one to tell him when his time should be up, and I am not one to defend his job, I am here to merely say that teams like Napoli, Lazio, Lyon, Marseille, Valencia, Schalke, Bayer 04, and more do not nearly display the overreaction of our fans. I would argue that those teams may be better currently, but they have not seen much success apart from Lazio’s cup win.
These clubs have expectations that are practical and realistic. We should always expect 3 points, but we should still understand that no matter the coach it will not always happen. Outside of Tuchel, I am not sure of a lot of managers we could approach. Additionally, there is no guarantee the club improves with a new coach or having Bould as a replacement.
I draw similarities to the University of Texas [American] Football team, which was led by coach Mack Brown. Brown led the team to a national championship, establishing himself a legend in Austin, and reached eternal fame for Longhorn fans. But after years of decline in the program, the end of his career was staggeringly bad. Brown eventually stepped down with his program in ruins.
UT let Brown choose when to go because of what he had accomplished, and as a result they have been rebuilding for years. But the team is now back on track, they are a program with too rich of a history to fall. Their fans and program supported them through hardships and are about to see a return. Maybe it won't be this year or next, but it is coming.
This is where I see the connection to Arsenal. Let's say this season goes terribly, that we finish again below 5th place (or worse…). Will you stop watching? Will you find another team? Or will you stand up and say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going?
I am tired of the club’s current state. I want to make that clear. But I try and remember that Arsenal should be something you have to bring happiness and freedom. If you are too emotionally invested then you need to get a nice big glass of context. Try and remember the fate of Blackpool, Bolton, Leeds and remember it could be much worse.
I am just as upset as most of you, but at the end of the day: Victoria Concordia Crescit.