The problem at Arsenal runs deeper than the players

On a day that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved closer to a deal to Arsenal, the Gunners flattered to deceive yet a again against a Swansea side that have looked disjointed all season. The Welsh outfit had defeated Liverpool just last week but drew against Notts County in the FA Cup fourth round, a fact that highlighted their topsy-turvy form. Arsenal were expected to streamroll over the Carlos Carvahal-tutored side but struggled to dominate the Swans. It was another example of the mediocrity that has befallen Arsenal in moments that are expected to excite.

Arsenal have been in the news throughout this week for their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund striker, Aubameyang but the 28 year old won’t have been excited watching the game as Arsenal showed lack of character against a team one wouldn’t associate to cause trouble after their struggles all season. After Nacho Monreal put the Gunners ahead, they conceded just 40 seconds after with Granit Xhaka ball watching and lacking awareness of his position. There is a common theme that can’t be fixed at the moment, which is a deeper malaise than the level of quality of  the players available.

Aubameyang has been labelled as the saviour of the club, as his goalscoring exploits are known world over. He will add quality to the Arsenal team, but he alone and the other quality players can’t stop the rut alone. There lies a deeper problem that fans, pundits and neutrals point to: the lack of fight, grit and determination, the manager and the board. Arsene Wenger is only 7 months into his 2-year contract extension he signed after the improbable FA Cup Final victory over Chelsea last summer. He doesn’t look in tune with modern football techniques that ensures his players have the necessary information to defeat their opponents.

Younger managers most times get the better of him nowadays, which shows that his time at the at the top of the game is nearing the end. Many players at the club don’t have the right mental state to keep motivating themselves to do better than their previous performances. The likes of Petr Cech and Granit Xhaka were extremely awful at the Liberty Stadium, and it has become a common theme. Most Arsenal players are too comfortable in mediocrity and the bulk of the blame lies at the feet of Wenger.

Arsenal have made the most errors leading to goals (11) this season in the whole of Europe’s top five leagues, which doesn’t make for pleasant reading. They face off against Everton this weekend, a game that will see Theo Walcott return to the Emirates just a month after leaving Arsenal for the Merseyside outfit. With Arsenal planning for life after Wenger, there is a new wave of optimism given the current recruitment but the Gunners need more than players to turn things around. They are still in the Europa League, which offers them a chance of reaching next season’s Champions League as the race for the top 4 looks beyond them.

Since winning the league in remarkable fashion in 2004, Arsenal have not won the title, a damming verdict on a club of that stature. Players look too laid back in their approach to games, and for a team looking to win the League Cup and Europa League while also having aspirations of reaching the Champions League at the end of the season, it is unacceptable. However, those ambitions could be a pipe dream, and the arrival of Aubameyang may not smoothen the wrinkles.

The defence does not have a leader with Laurent Koscielny struggling to organise the team. A defensive midfielder is needed to add more solidity to the middle of the park but Arsenal’s team needs a complete overhaul: perhaps a new manager is needed. A new manager will change the mentality of the players and it could lead to new era of glory.

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