For a club that has been a consistent figure in the upper echelons of English football for decades, the current predicament facing Arsenal is a shock to most in the beautiful game.
Sure, the last few years of Arsene Wenger’s reign were tumultuous, while Unai Emery’s tenure at the Emirates was a minor disaster, but those pale in comparison to the fate befalling the Gunners under Mikel Arteta’s stewardship.
Heading into the international break, Arsenal have lost three out of three in the Premier League, conceded nine goals and failed to yet trouble the scorers themselves. They spent £130 million on new players in the summer, and none of them were deemed worthy of a start in the 0-5 demolition at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday.
More spending is thought to be incoming, with Japanese full back Takehiro Tomiyasu rumoured to be signing on the dotted line for £13 million from Bologna – that comes after their first choice right back, Emerson Royal, has decided to open talks with bitter rivals Tottenham instead.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg for Gunners fans. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has told the club he wants a deadline day move via his Instagram feed, writing ‘all I want to do is go where I’m wanted’ and copying in the @Arsenal feed in unusual fashion.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) August 30, 2021
And things are so bad at the Emirates Stadium that Willian has decided to walk away from a contract worth a guaranteed £20.5 million. The Brazilian reportedly asked the club to terminate his contract so that he could return to his homeland.
All of which makes you wonder: what’s next for Arsenal?
The Wrong Kind of History
Based upon the betting odds, it seems a miracle that Arteta is still in a job.
He is the 4/9 favourite in the market for the next top-flight manager to be sacked, and with the likes of Antonio Conte looking for work the Spaniard has done very well to cling on to his job after such a hapless start to the campaign.
Although it’s very early days in the season, you do wonder how Arsenal will now need to revise their expectations for the 2021/22 term. After all, it’s been 26 years since they last finished in the bottom half of the Premier League table – eagle-eyed punters will have already swooped on the 7/2 that’s available at Betfair and Paddy Power on that eventuality (for context, elsewhere are as short as 13/8).
And the Flutter brands seem to be the most optimistic about the Gunners’ chances, as they make Arsenal as long as 33/1 to taste relegation this season. You can compare and contrast that to the 16/1 available at the likes of Unibet and Betway – still unlikely, but the odds are tumbling with each passing week.
Can you remember the last time that Arsenal weren’t in the top-flight? Probably not, because it was more than a century ago – 1914/15 to be exact. Could this contemporary Gunners side be set to make all of the wrong kinds of history?