The danger of Arsene’s course: next season’s top four finish is at risk.

The end of this season will bring all kinds of questions and review. But people should recognize that this season was the beginning of the end of the EPL as we know it. It was just last summer that manciteh declared themselves to the league. And while ‘pool took the hit, the pressure on Arsenal has not diminished. Next year, the battle for the champions league will be 10x more fierce. Arsene’s strategy for the last five years need must change.

To be sure, I am a fan of Arsene’s strategy during the lean years. Low on cash and high on risk as we built our new stadium, Arsene’s long-term plan to make over Arsenal was becoming a reality.  He built a youth talent pipeline and made the occasional purchase of young stars for good prices. And the truth is, had everything stayed the same, this strategy would likely have kept us in the top three, though not competing for number 1.

But times change and so has the EPL. The big wallet of manciteh has altered the league. Sure the sp#rs have done well this year, but they lack the staying power of manciteh, and everyone knows it. Yet once again, this summer manciteh will be back on the hunt buying up, if not stars, quality talent. Throwing so much money around that at the very least Arsenal will be kept from buying certain talent. We’ve seen this before with chelsea; it’s a strategy that works. And what happens if a big pocket purchase takes over ‘pool? The big four is already adjusting so that one must leave, but what if there are the big 5 -how long can we last?

So Monsignor faces a choice. It’s not a choice about splashing the cash and buying big stars; we can’t compete on that level. No, it’s a choice about risk and reward in how we  play. Arsene must change the course: we need a team that can hold throughout the season; where players are more interchangeable into the system; were defense is our calling card. We need to return to our old look of power and pace, instead of technique and possession. It’s cheaper approach as well, since we can buy young stars (read cheap) that excel in that type of system since there is more talent that can play it.  It’s also more sustainable throughout the season since we can build our depth. But more importantly, it’s Arsenal and we’ve lost it.

I’m afraid, however, this lesson might be learned too late. Unless Arsene stuns us this summer, I’m afraid next year we’ll continue with an identity that isn’t ours. Perhaps we won’t purchase a Hazard, but we need to buy a Melo. And maybe we don’t get a Dzeko, but we need a Lemy. We need balance in the team, speed to threaten and power to impose. We need to let go of those players and the system that fails to impose our game on others consistently.

– the student
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