4 Reasons Why Arsenal Finished Outside The Top 4

4 Reasons Why Arsenal Finished Outside The Top 4.

For the first time in Arsène Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal, the Gunners will not be playing in the Champions League next season. Wenger’s men have finished in 5th, 1 point behind 4th placed Liverpool. This means the North London club will be representing the Premier League in the Europa League on Thursday nights next season.

Missing out on the Champions League could reportedly cost Arsenal £50m in revenue. The failure will also mean they’ll miss out on several high-profile players in the summer. The futures of Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil are also highly in doubt now as the two players desire Champions League football. Regardless of how we feel about the situation, Arsenal will be playing Europa League football next season, let’s just embrace it.

Here are the 4 main reasons why Arsenal finished outside the top four this season.

#4 Incompetent signings

PEREZ XHAKA MUSTAFI

Arsenal spent £92,900,000 in the summer window of 2016

On face value, the signings of Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Pérez were nice, but in reality, they were just papering over the cracks. Everyone knew that if we only signed one player last summer, it should have been a top quality striker. That was the main sticking point of the squad, instead, Wenger splashed the cash on three marquee signings, two of which were useful, one which was useless.

In glimpses, Lucas Pérez looked like a tidy player that could make a difference. However, for some unknown reason, Arsène Wenger didn’t take a shining to him and effectively banished him to the wilderness. This season, Lucas Pérez has only made 9 starts overall, equating to only 400 minutes of football, that’s abysmal. However, in that time he was able to contribute directly to 9 goals. His output was great, but Wenger didn’t trust him to fire the team to the title. Meaning the boss basically wasted £19m on nothing, leaving us craving a world class striker up front, again.

#3 Worst defence in years

Mustafi Defense

Despite spending £35m on a German international, Arsenal’s defensive record is worse than it was in previous years. In 38 league games, the Gunners conceded 44 goals whilst scoring 77 in reply, producing a goal difference of 33. The abysmal total of 44 is the most Arsenal have conceded in past four seasons. That includes the season where Arsenal lost to Chelsea 6-0, away at City 6-3 and 5-1 to Liverpool.

It’s only when the team switched to 3 at the back that they started to become more resolute defensively. In the 9 games Arsenal have played in a 3-4-2-1, the Gunners have only conceded 6 goals. That’s significantly better than the 1.3 goals/game they were conceding before the switch.

#2 The Manager’s future

wenger future

Arsène Wenger has managed 1167 games at Arsenal.

When the greatest figure in the history of the club is on the verge of leaving, it kind of creates a black cloud over the whole team. The media focus has all been on Arsène Wenger and not on the players. Some would argue this eases the pressure on the players, others say it acts as a constant distraction for them. Either way, this season has been about the Frenchman and nothing else.

At every press conference, the first and last questions surround the future of the boss rather than the upcoming match. All over social media, the question has also been ever-present as the war between the AKBs and WOBs grows fiercer after every poor result.

As of now, where Arsène Wenger will be next year is still a mystery, with many fearing the 67-year old will sign a new extension. Regardless, the most tiresome soap opera of the year is set to conclude after the season, meaning the players will still be burdened with the saga until the FA Cup final.

#1 The absence of Santi Cazorla

Santi Cazorla injury

Santi Cazorla has been injured for 297 days this season.

Since October, Arsenal have not been able to field a line-up with the little magician, Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard has been out of action since October with a chronic ankle and Achilles injury. Meaning for the second successive year, he’s missed most of the season. He’s a player that possesses the fine balance between efficient build-up and accelerated counter attacks.

In the 10 games Santi Cazorla started this season, Arsenal didn’t lose one of them. The 32-year old has missed 51 games this season and it’s clearly taken its toll on the team. He’s the key to Arsène Wenger’s ideal vision of possession-based football. None of Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny, Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey have been able to replicate such influence & creativity, meaning Arsenal have been forced to become a transition-based side.

About the Author Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with a soft spot for Pascal Cygan.

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