Tag Archives: aaron ramsey

TROPHIES: PERSPECTIVE AND PRIORITISING

26 Feb

Arsenal have the biggest monkey jumping all over their big, red back at the moment – a trophy drought, which is now heading towards it’s 9th year. This is the big sticking point used to discredit our Club and make our manager an easy target for ridicule, despite the amazing work off-field, which will allow us to excel drastically over the next 10 years while setting us up for the next 100 years.

There have been a few tell-tale signs throughout this season, that Arsenal’s long and tortuous financial battle, has taken a turn for the better, starting with the record-breaking signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. Wenger and Gazidis have mentioned a new strength in competing for top-players and this has been highlighted by the commercial deals that have been negotiated with Emirates and PUMA, which will see their commercial revenue increase by approximately £70m a year. If you factor in, that Arsenal did not lose one key player in the Summer (which was an annual occurrence) and have been at the top of the League for most of the season, while still being in the FA Cup and Champions League, this symbolises a change in direction for the Club.

This leads me to the conclusion that Arsenal need to now focus on getting the monkey of their back… by finally winning a trophy. After going so long without winning a trophy, Arsenal are now perceived to be a Club that are tough participants but rarely deliver winners’ medals’. I find this to be a harsh assessment of Arsenal’s credentials, especially given the circumstances Arsenal have been competing under. I would personally argue that Arsenal over-achieved during the last 8 years but that phase is over now and Arsenal now have a great opportunity to bring the first piece of silverware to The Emirates.

There is an overwhelming amount of pressure looming over Arsenal despite their main competitors having much more expensively assembled squads and this can be detrimental to players who are not used to delivering under pressure. Wenger will always be defiant and suggest his players are equipped to handle pressure, as that is his nature and he never has played down his teams’ hopes in the trophyless 8 years.

WIth Arsenal being one point off the top in the Premier League, in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and in the second-round of the Champions League, my belief is, Arsenal need to put things into perspective and start prioritising. Arsenal have set themselves for a great end to the season and now must go all out for the FA Cup.

There are 3 games left to win the FA Cup and that represents a brilliant opportunity to create history, get the media to quieten down, give the fans the trophy they crave and initiate the beginning of a winning culture at Arsenal. The financial gain behind winning the FA Cup is £1.8m, which is quite a small figure in comparison to finishing 4th place in the League, which is worth approximately £12.8m plus an additional estimate of £30m+ in Champions League qualification money. However, as long as Arsenal challenge for the title, a Champions League place is a certainty, so in theory the financial aspect is covered but still requires a strong final push.

I would be happy if Arsenal put up a strong fight for the title as I would say that met my expectation more so than actually winning the title. For me the Champions League is a good opportunity to test yourselves against the best but the realist in me knows that Arsenal’s squad is not deep enough to go for three trophies. With Arsenal 2-0 down to Bayern Munich and yet to go to The Allianz for the away leg, it would be dangerous to prioritise this over the FA Cup which has been a huge part of Wenger’s Arsenal legacy. The nightmare scenario would see us attempting to win the Champions League competing against Europe’s elite, fall behind in the League and get knocked out of the FA Cup. Horrid. Even George Graham suggested, “One of the questions facing Arsene is whether they play their best team and try to win the tie, which is near impossible, or concentrate on the league.”

I think a huge part of developing winning teams is to take babystep’s by getting the taste for trophies. Arsenal must first overcome the first hurdle of winning a trophy without jeopardising the long-term future of the Club and the FA Cup is their best opportunity of achieving this. Arsenal have done very well to get themselves to this point in the FA Cup, beating Coventry, Tottenham and Liverpool on the way. They now have a huge tie against Everton at The Emirates, which will be tough but if they treat it like a cup final, they can win, which will leave them two games at Wembley from a trophy. This is in a competition where Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham have already been knocked out with the main competitors probably being Arsenal’s next opponents, Everton and none other than Manchester City.

Once this group of players prove they can win a trophy, they can take it to the next level up, from being outsiders for the title or the Champions League by genuinely competing for both and possibly putting the FA Cup on the backburner. I think Arsenal can finish the season strongly as they have done in the past two seasons and now with the emergence of Sanogo, the return to fitness for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey two-weeks from first-team training, Arsenal could get the boost for required for their Premier League and FA Cup aspirations.