UNLESS Arsenal seriously back boss Mikel Arteta in the transfer market then they will have to get used to being mediocre.
I’m sure he knew what he was walking into when he joined the club last December.
How could he not, given none of these problems we are seeing are anything new?
But what a job he now has on his hands to turn the tide.
It’s still far too early to be talking about his future and it’s going to take a fair while to sort the club out.
There’s no chance of them making the Champions League spots now and even the Europa League looks a struggle.
But before he can even start to look at bringing players in, there are a number of contract situations that desperately need sorting out.
First is striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose deal ends next summer.
The forward is going to be looking at the situation and wondering whether Arsenal can compete with the best over the next couple of years.
Well, on the evidence we have seen, then absolutely not.
You also know that he and his agent will be saying to the club — if you’re so desperate for me to stay then you have to make me the highest earner.
But there is no way that in this current climate Arsenal are going to give him the reported £350,000 a week Mesut Ozil is on.
And what an error in judgment giving all that money to the German looks now.
He was left out of a 20-man squad for the return against Manchester City for ‘tactical’ reasons, then wasn’t deemed good enough to play at Brighton.
I really don’t know how or why he was given that contract in 2018 and former manager Arsene Wenger has to shoulder some of the blame.
So while their star player is looking increasingly unlikely to sign, they are also in real danger of losing some of their best young
talent, having let them run their deals down.
Bukayo Saka has had a good breakthrough season but his contract expires next summer and the club are yet to tie him to a new one.
But none of this is new for Arsenal — it’s been going on for far too long now.
In terms of the 2-1 defeat to Brighton it was another case of Groundhog Day. I’ve lost count of how many times we say the same
things about them.
It was a wonderful goal from Nicolas Pepe and with 20 minutes to go they had to just sit tight, do the hard bits and grind out a 1-0 win.
But as ever with Arsenal, that is the exact opposite of what they did.
Brighton’s equaliser was an absolute embarrassment and must have Arteta raging.
Where do you start? Everyone went to sleep, with Dani Ceballos being left up against two from the short corner.
It’s such a basic thing, you just can’t leave 2v1 from a corner.
From there the errors were compounded, with Alexandre Lacazette jogging out to help rather than sprinting.
You then had Saka keeping everyone onside because he was two yards behind his team-mates.
Conceding that way and throwing away a lead in the last 20 minutes sums up the club perfectly right now.
Of all 20 teams in the league, only Aston Villa have a worse record of conceding goals from set-pieces, excluding penalties.
Therein lies a fundamental problem — they haven’t got the organisers and leaders in their squad to deal with it.
With an FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United next weekend they do still have a chance to salvage their season.
But if they don’t make Europe they will find it very hard to attract the names I’m sure fans are screaming out for.
I heard Arteta say if they don’t spend then they will not move forward.
I’m sure he knows what he needs but he is going to need substantial backing just to ensure they don’t stand still and move even further away from the top teams.
If he’s not given the money to spend, I find it very hard to see Arsenal closing that gap any time soon.
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