Arsenal’s bad start to the season isn’t really surprising, and it’s led to the same old arguments about what makes a big club and how they should really be thought of in comparison to the other big boys in the Premier League.
They don’t have as much money as a lot of other clubs so that’s an obvious disadvantage, but if you look at the recruitment decisions over the years then they’ve made mistake after mistake and this could take years to fix.
Towards the end of the Wenger years they fell out of the title picture and were pushing for 4th spot most of the time, but they also had some great players who would be enticed away by big-money offers and they had to rebuild.
They’ve now reached a point where they are just stuffed with mediocrity, and this XI of current players proves it as all of them are likely to see a lot of playing time this season, but they just wouldn’t be anywhere close to being in the squad for the other teams who think they can push for Champions League football:
One of the easiest ways to analyse this is to look at some of those names and ask yourself – would they be seen as positive signings for Arsenal if they were playing for other Premier League sides? The answer is absolutely not.
The goalkeeping situation is a tough one as you could put Aaron Ramsdale in there as he’s now played a key role in two relegations. Obviously, that’s not his fault, but it has to be acknowledged and you worry he’s just a good shot-stopper who looks good in bad teams because he has a lot of work to do. Runar Runarsson is simply not a Premier League goalkeeper either so both could be included here.
Cedric is a solid contributor but again he’s average at best, while the same could be said of Rob Holding and Pablo Mari. The two CB’s might have the odd commanding game a season, but that doesn’t make up for the mediocrity, while Nuno Tavares barely played for Benfica and Kieran Tierney is injury prone so that’s another problem waiting to happen.
Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka are both solid players but they aren’t good enough for what Arsenal think they are, while Maitland-Niles is more suited to a bottom ten side at this stage of his career.
Willian doesn’t need any explanation as he’s been awful and he’s not going to improve, while the same could be said for Aubameyang. He was outstanding in the past but he’s an ageing striker who’s lost his confidence and his pace is going, so again he cannot be relied upon. Eddie Nketiah has a bit of pace and could be the type of player who could have a great career if he drops a level and grows from there, but it really shows how far Arsenal have fallen when you look at the squad in this way.