If you want to pin point the difference between Arsenal of the late 1990s and the Arsenal of today look no further than how the players have reacted when winning a game. They have celebrated like they have just won the Premier League. This has been on show for the past decade as the Gunners have fought their way to finish within the top 4, just so they can pick up their invitation to the Champions League.
In short Arsenal are a shadow of the side they once were and it’s all happened under the guidance of the same manager in Arsene Wenger.
Wenger’s first ten years with Arsenal can’t be questioned, the Frenchman delivered 3 titles and numerous domestic cups and then in 2003/2004 his side went unbeaten during a whole season. But the next 10 years where Arsenal then had more than just one title challenger in Chelsea and Manchester City’s riches have been largely forgettable.
Two FA Cup wins, even if they were back to back is still a come down for a club like Arsenal and cannot justify Wenger keeping his job. But remain he does, his future will be sorted out after the Cup Final on Saturday against Chelsea.
If Arsenal lose for most it will be the icing on the cake, a kind of confirmation that Arsenal have gone through their worse season since Wenger took charge in 1996. But what if Arsenal upset Chelsea and win the cup? In the short term all be will rosy, the players will celebrate like a title win no doubt and Wenger will stand there, justifying his contract. But winning the cup feels like glossing over what must be done at the Emirates.
It would be typical too if Arsenal do win, and if the board do decide to keep this old train rolling. Because a cup victory simply underlines the problem with the north London team, success in their minds is achieved in one game. But look at Tottenham. They have far and away been better than Arsenal this season, but they won’t win a trophy for it, but they seem to know their future much clearly than Arsenal. A win could actually be in the long term a curse on the club, everything will be noted as alright, and as the last decade has shown, everything is not alright.
The FA Cup final will take place on May 27th from 3pm, UK time.