Andy Gray: Not much wrong with Arsenal ... apart from transfer policy

Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to tribalfootball.com…
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Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to tribalfootball.com…

THINGS might not be going Arsenal’s way at the moment but they’re still more than capable of finishing in the top four – though if they don’t then Arsene Wenger is going to have a big problem on his hands.

If Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League then Arsene’s claim that he’s delivering success by doing that would fall down.

Finishing third or fourth every year and qualifying for Europe is classed as success by Arsenal as a club, Arsenal as a board, Arsene as a manager, and even to an extent the fans.

If they’re all prepared to accept that a top-four finish without a trophy of any kind for eight years is fine then I’m not going to argue with them.

If that’s their level of success – and it’s not mine – then they can carry on in that vein.

They’re only five points behind Chelsea who are third so Arsenal are certainly not out of the race for the top four yet.

They’re having a poor season and yet they’re still in touch with the Champions League places, and Arsenal will consider that fortunate because there are many seasons where they might have been ten points back.

It’s certainly within their capabilities to close that gap. As long as they keep winning and start winning now, then there’s absolutely no reason why Arsene can’t aim for another top four finish this season.

But I think there are more than one or two fans now beginning to ask questions and beginning to miss the fact that they used to win trophies on a regular basis.

The defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup was certainly not the board’s fault and it was certainly not the manager’s fault – Arsene couldn’t have picked a stronger side.

Everyone at Arsenal had been asking him to do that in the League Cup to give them a chance of winning it and he obliged.

On the night too many of them didn’t perform. They had an off day and that can happen but Arsenal fans will tell you that it’s been coming.

There have been a lot of stories coming out of Arsenal, a lot of them completely untrue, about the discontent and arguments going on, about the bad working relationship of the manager and his coach.

I don’t think that’s true from what I hear and who I speak to. I think that’s just something the press have jumped on and made up and it’s become an issue, and Arsene has come back very bullishly saying he loves the club and he’ll do everything in his power to make it successful again.

The only criticism you can level at the board is that they’ve let too many good players go and not replaced them with similar quality.

It’s a fact and they have to accept it. It’s very difficult to replace people like Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry when they’re coming to the end of their careers.

It’s also difficult to replace Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie when they’re in the middle of great careers and people pinch them away.

There are so many great players who have been allowed to leave, for various reasons – some have retired, while others have moved on.

But Arsenal’s failing as a club, and Arsene’s as a manager, is the inability to get in sufficient quality to keep those standards high enough.

That’s where they’re falling down at the minute. This Arsenal side is nowhere near as good as the Arsenal side of ten years ago, nor even four or five years ago.

 
Andy Gray is an official ambassador for Sharethematch.com – Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store; http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/share-the-match/id450784289?mt=8

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