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A New Era or a False Dawn at The Emirates?

Saturday 10th March 2012
It's been an interesting few weeks at Arsenal, hammered by Milan in Italy, dumped out of the cup by Sunderland, then the comeback against Tottenham, and the “heroic” comeback on Tuesday night, and now the signing of Podolski.

So are the past couple of weeks a sign of things to come rather than what has preceded it for (fairly large) portions of the season?

If you ask me Arsenal fans will be getting ahead of themselves if they think they are on the up again. The biggest issue at Arsenal right now is getting van Persie to agree a new deal, which he has said won't happen until the summer. Even if Arsenal do break their wage structure and pay him the big bucks other players of his ilk get, he would be mad to sign.

Wenger won't make the signings they need to push them on to anywhere near close the level they were at before – Per Mertesacker looks about as terrible as Phillippe Senderos used to, and only half as quick. Mikel Arteta is two years past when he should have been at a club like Arsenal while Gervinhio is just, well a little bit, mediocre.

As for the signing of the Polish/German fella, I think he has been bought in as a replacement rather than a partner for RVP, and also when you look at his record for a top club (Bayern) it is not good – of course the argument to that would be it is excellent for the German national side. But even if he is the player who turns up for his national side, there won't be the supporting cast he/they need to take them to the next level.

Now something that is not as controversial as it was when I was first saying it four years ago. Wenger HAS to go, you cannot live on past glories forever. People say you don't become a bad manager overnight, this is true, but seven years with nothing suggests he has lost whatever it was he had.

He bleated on about how the now current group were the best he has ever worked with, and they would be the best Arsenal side he has had, well sorry Arsene, you have been proved wrong. They have bottled every single opportunity they have had.

The Carling Cup last year to me was absolutely pivotal – people can write it off as a “Mickey Mouse” competition, but it's not – it can hold great significance to the bigger teams. Win it, and you get belief you ARE good enough to lift silverware. Take Liverpool under Houllier in the early part of the century, they went on to win more silverware after that, and I suspect the same will be the case after their triumph over Cardiff a fortnight ago, but only time will tell on that one.

But the biggest example in recent years is Manchester United a few years ago, getting soundly beaten by Chelsea to the league two seasons on the bounce, not up to the task in Europe, then bang, Carling cup victory and that same squad goes on to win three titles in a row, and a European cup.

I'm not saying that if Arsenal had won this time last year they would be champions come May this, but they would be a damn site closer than they are now.

Arsenal need a fresh start, a start that Wenger cannot be a part of, a start that doesn't involve resigning Henry over January to paper over the cracks.

Get rid of those who aren't good enough to wear the Arsenal shirt, Mertesacker, Arshavin, Rosicky, and most of all Walcott. If RVP does want to go, let him, Cesc and Nasri have gone, you may as well get a fee for him while you can and bring in some genuine talent. Build the team around Chamberlain, a player who looks like he is twice as good as everyone thought Walcott could be. Get in someone like Moyes who doesn't need billions to work miracles.

And if it doesn't work, I strongly doubt they will be any worse off now than they will be at the end of the season when they finish fifth.
Ian Murray

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