Arsenals Sinking Ship Finally Begins its Descent Into the Abyss

​"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they're here to stay"

Across the continent, 2,800 miles from Azerbaijan, the crushing reality that has finally set in following Arsenal's Europa League loss is that all of the Gunners' woes and deficiencies are still plain to see - regardless of whether they had been played on the hallowed turf of Highbury or the heat-stroked pitches of Baku.

If only it were still Highbury, a stadium that still fills Gunners' supporters with fond memories of title wins, those glorious ​Champions League nights, and players who knew what it meant to wear the badge with pride.

Forget it.

Last night was a shower of spineless performances, clueless leadership, shambolic defending and characteristic failure. Disgraceful, utterly disgraceful.

And still, few should be taken aback at what we saw on Wednesday night. It's come to be the norm. A foregone conclusion. Ever since Ivan Gazidis signalled the move to the Emirates as the 'catalyst for change', to compete with the ​Bayern Munich's of this world - Arsenal has been on a steady decline with a now finalised conclusion.

Yes, continued top-four finishes were nothing to baulk at. Fans will reminisce of those years as the 'successful ones'. As brutal as it sounds, getting thumped 10-2 on aggregate by the side the club they were supposed to be going toe-to-toe with may very well be as good as it will get. 


Fans weren't happy, though. Damn right, too. Those European results surpassed embarrassing, a blemish on a rich history that can't be erased. Now, only dreams will put the north London faithful back among the continent's heavyweights.

Unai Emery led a team to within touching distance of the top-four. They crumbled. 

Beat Crystal Palace at home. Bottled.

Beat Brighton at home. Bottled.

The easiest route you could wish for to get the fabled Champions League spot. Bottled.

Alas, another opportunity remains. A Europa League final beckons. Take on a ​Chelsea side missing their best defender, their most creative midfielder and a striker deemed not good enough to don the red and white anymore.



The sheer magnitude of the capitulation on Wednesday was nauseating. Even the most cynical ​Arsenal fans couldn't have seen that coming. An opportunity to lift a European trophy for the first time in 25 years. A chance to set the course of the ship back towards the holy land of the Champions League after two years lost at sea. 

Fans flocked to Azerbaijan in their thousands, breaking apart their piggy banks to scrounge for the mere morsels they had left to afford the travel.

Now those dismantled piggy banks resemble the club itself, scattered pieces with no coordination or leader, with nothing but loose change to put it back together.

Everyone is getting stronger and Arsenal are getting weaker. No sugar coating, no overly pessimistic viewpoint, no jumping-the-gun reaction to losing a major final. That is exactly what is happening.

The owner of the club is a man so wealthy he was able to invest $1.6bn into his beloved LA Rams. A man who has the audacity to cower behind his designer sunglasses and send his son to pick up the pieces of his failed ownership. A man willing to contribute a staggering £0 into the club he has complete control over. Yes, £0. Look it up. 

His name shall not be uttered. 

Gazidis jumped ship, head of recruitment Sven Mislintat went overboard, and he didn't even turn back to wave it goodbye. In a way, Arsene Wenger may very well have seen it coming, taking refuge on a lifeboat sailing far, far away. 

Therefore, it leaves Unai Emery to steer the club to safety. The oars have snapped, the sail has ripped, his team can't tell starboard from port - and he has £40m to fix it.

Granted, last night's result still lingers. Yes, those wounds won't heal for some time. But this has been a recurring theme for a number of seasons. One person can not shoulder all the blame.

Unai Emery

Some will say this is the final nail on the coffin. Arsenal are staring into the abyss at the end of the plank with their ankles tied.

However, that 4-1 defeat was merely the cremation of an already cindered club.

Looking upon this season as a whole, there were moments for optimism. A 22-game unbeaten run on the surface lit fires in Arsenal bellies that a comeback was on. This club was on the verge of recapturing the glory days of old, the wind caught the sails and the upper echelons of the Premier League were on the horizon. 

Paper. Over. Cracks.

A fresh face in the dugout was supposed to ignite a club that had been petering on the boundaries of revitalisation after stagnating under a once formidable coach. Well, Le Professeur should have turned the lights off on his way out.

And still one flickering spotlight remained in the form of the biggest stage available to the club, a Europa League final. The opportunity wasn't seized, it was shunned in the way the players needed one of the most ridiculed and lambasted members of the squad to get them to thank the away support at the Olympic Stadium. For once, thank you Granit Xhaka.

So here we are.

Mediocrity from back to front, inadequacy from the top down and a pitiful transfer budget on hand to muster any meaningful resemblance of a revival. 

A 'catalyst for change' it was indeed. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

That 'change' has instead become a cataclysmic descent into Thursday night trips to Belarus where the recovery time from incoming domestic failings puts an added drain on an already empty side.

Europa League football beckons once again. Just where Arsenal belong.

Source : 90min