We started the season appallingly, no doubt a big reason for this was the late transfer deals which meant that it took us a fair few weeks to get into gear, and those in the know seem to agree that the board were far more to blame for this than our manager. We recovered well with an excellent run of results in the league, but the last few weeks have seen this form slip, evidenced by the recent collapses against Swansea and Fulham.
There are many reasons for this recent collapse and many different people have many different opinions. Certainly it would be foolish to deny that injuries, poor refereeing and bad luck have had a part. In my opinion though, our squad has been on the decline for several years now and this has culminated in our poor start and recent run, the last minute activity in the transfer window was a sticky plaster, admittedly it was a start, but major surgery is still needed on our squad, and it will take time and patience for this to be carried out and an effective solution reached.
We have amassed a lot of mediocre dross in our squad. It is easy to list a lot of highly paid players who have never delivered for the club for a variety of reasons, some of the players have just been unlucky with injuries, others have just been bad buys because they are not of Arsenal class, but overall I feel that several years of shoddy cheap signings have had a massive negative effect on our squad and consequently results, it will take months and years to put this right, it cannot be done overnight, no matter who is in charge of the club.
Almunia is not good enough, Fabianski is not Arsenal class, Gibbs cannot stay fit for more than 2 weeks, Squillaci is a poor player, Djourou is no more than a squad player at best, Diaby is persistently injured, Denilson is not Arsenal class, Rosicky has never delivered, Arshavin has been average for many months, Chamakh has no confidence and is not up to it, Vela is not the right sort, Bendtner is not good enough, why has Park not played? Probably because he's not up to it as well. Think how much money is going on these under performing players' wages.
We have way over ten players who are not delivering anything like what is needed, no wonder our squad has been found wanting when a few injuries bite and the fixtures come thick and fast. The signings of Per, Mikel, Santos and Bennayoun were needed, but the amount of work needed to be done on our failing squad is huge. We are desperately short in certain areas, we lack fight and bite in midfield especially, we lack forwards and full backs, there is little time left to remedy these issues with the transfer window shortly, it is also very hard to get the top quality players in mid season.
If anyone is to blame for this then it is the board from what I've heard. Arsene has not been backed as he should have been and there has not been the driving force pushing things through from boardroom level, as was the case when Dein was at the club. I still think Arsene is the man to restructure the squad, the problem is that I have significant doubts as to whether he will get the support from the board that he so badly needs to do this tough job. The mediocrity needs to be ditched, we need to show ambition, and if we can reinvest these wasted wages in some top quality talent, we may just be able to become a major force again, then we can convince the likes of RVP and Song to stay. If things don't change then I honestly could not blame RVP for wanting out and it pains me to admit that, it really does.