No trophy or success of any kind has made its way to the Emirates Stadium for nearly eight years now. For a club like Arsenal, that is used to challenging for Premier League titles and European trophies every season, this is difficult to take.
Arsenal supporters have witnessed a steady stream of stars departing their club over the past few years. These have not been average players, these have been players who can make a difference to any side in the world – Samir Nasri, Robin Van Persie, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas – of that there can be no doubt.
Arsene Wenger deserves respect for his work at the club since 1996 in capturing 11 major trophies. However, the lack of silverware since FA Cup success in 2005 has been a burden for both Wenger and the club itself. Expectations within and outside the club are so high that competing for trophies is a must.
The fact that players, most recently Van Persie, have left the Gunners in recent years in search of silverware speaks volumes as to the perception of the club. The past few seasons have seen the likes of Chelsea and both Manchester clubs improve, leaving Arsenal hanging onto their coattails.
Some of Wenger’s signings, such as Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, have not had the desired effect on the team and the influence of Van Persie at arch-rivals Manchester United has only made matters worse.
Arsenal have always been susceptible in away games at the likes of Stoke City and other physical teams but they seem to master this by their qualities elsewhere. This year those qualities tend not to surface as much.
Publicly there have been calls for Wenger to make way for someone with fresh ideas. This in itself will not be enough to end the reign of the Frenchman but another season without silverware must surely mean the end.
Although Theo Walcott has today signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract with the club, Arsenal had to go to great lengths to try and persuade the player to stay at the club,which must make it equally difficult to attract players and compete with the giants of the Premier League and Europe.
Wenger may need to alter his principals of not spending huge amounts of money on transfers, and his preference to develop youth players, if he is to end his trophy-drought. Although Wenger is highly respected throughout the footballing world he may need to re-think his strategies if success is to return to the Emirates.
Arsenal fans have been very patient over recent years, mainly due to the respect they have for their manager, but sooner or later the Frenchman must deliver again or suffer the consequences.