Arsenal, yet again, look to be struggling in Europe. Two consecutive defeats has put them in a lot of trouble. Their chances of topping their group never look good but now they don’t look like they’ll even qualify. Arsenal have been poor in Europe for some time. In the past five seasons they have been knocked out in the round of 16.
Since finishing runners up in 05-06, they have reached the semi-finals once, two quarter finals and otherwise reached the last 16. This is the record of a mediocre side, not a top European club. It’s difficult to call Arsenal an elite European side when their record in Europe has been so consistently bad under Wenger.
Even in 05/06 they were definite far outsiders to win the tournament and with ten men were beaten by a much better FC Barcelona team. This is part of a wider issue that perhaps shows Wenger is incapable of lifting Europe’s premier competition. Despite being lauded in England his European record shows his limitations as he is unable to adapt the side to play European football.
Wenger has probably now taken Arsenal as far as he can, failing to win major honours since the side went unbeaten in 03/04. Arsenal have stagnated. Two back to back FA Cups mean little without a league title or any European headway to back it up.
Domestically they look no closer to challenging and whilst some rather naively say ‘he built us a stadium’ (as if he was on his hands and knees laying bricks) Wenger has accumulated a squad with a huge wage bill and with some big money signings such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. The squad is weak though. Man to man they lack top players and a lot of the problems that have been present for four or even five years remain. A lack of quality in defensive midfield, a lack of a top class striker. Vulnerability at the back and from set-pieces. Yet these haven’t been addressed. Is Wenger really the man to take Arsenal to the next level? Or is he simply someone who failed to adapt to the changing times with new challengers in Chelsea and Man City? Probably the latter.