This past weekend, Arsenal hosted and played in the Emirates Cup, a pre-season four-team tournament the team hosts at its home stadium. Along with Arsenal, FC Porto, Napoli and tournament winners Galatasaray were part of the tournament.
Arsenal played to a 2-2 tie against Napoli on Saturday and lost 2-1 to Galatasaray after having led 1-0 at the half, with the game-winning goal scored by old nemesis Didier Drogba.
What caught the eye weren’t the results, which is secondary to how the team looks to be shaping up for the upcoming season. For Arsenal, the Emirates Cup showed that this team is severely lacking in quality; as a result, the squad will once again fail its fans by being unable to challenge for the Premier League title in the 2013-14 season.
Headed into the Emirates Cup, Arsenal fans — or at least those who are not kool-aid drinkers — have been disappointed at the clear lack of urgency and ability for the team to execute a transfer of players that would make Arsenal a legitimate Premier League title contender.
This was confirmed when Arsene Wenger stated later in the week that the team was good enough to be legitimate challengers as currently constructed, when anyone with a brain knows this is simply not true.
After this weekend, it is clear that in no way, shape and form should Arsenal fans waste their time thinking that anything will change. Yes, Arsenal have some nice players on the roster with two or three who may be considered to be world-class, but there just isn’t enough quality to expect to challenge Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
What exactly are the deficiencies? To keep it short, aside from a manager in Wenger who clearly appears to have lost his way of working the transfer market and the lack of world-class talent, there is a clear lack of game-changers and “fighters”.
This has clearly been an issue since Cesc Fabregas was sold and his loss was compounded by Arsenal selling Robin van Perise. The effects of not having players like there were made clear in the game against Galatasaray when in the second half, Arsenal was unable to show any ability to put away the game.
Pre-season games and tournaments serve as preparation for the upcoming season and they also serve to highlight the main issues facing teams. In the case of Arsenal, this weekend’s Emirates Cup once again highlighted how deficient the team is, while highlighting how Arsene Wenger has once again failed the club and its fans with his inability to add significant quality to the team to make them legitimate contenders.