While the past season was one of great improvement for Mikel Arteta’s young side, it ended in disappointment with arch-rivals Tottenham pipping them to Champions League qualification in the final weeks of the campaign.
It has now been six years since the club last qualified for Europe’s top competition and put in a credible title challenge and while there is a sense of optimism around the Emirates, many believe the club are still several years behind the Premier League’s frontrunners.
Gilberto, who was part of the Invincibles team that won Arsenal’s last league title in 2004, has offered an explanation as to why the club has struggled in recent years, calling back to his time in North London.
‘It was frustrating for all Arsenal fans that they missed out on the opportunity to be in the Champions League after a few years away,’ the Brazilian told talkSPORT.
‘When we made the transition from Highbury to the Emirates, we struggled for one or two years because a lot of my generation moved on from the club and it took Arsene [Wenger] a few attempts to build a stable team again.
‘We were far off the top two or three teams in terms of competitiveness. We lost the winning mentality for a few years and it’s hard to get it back.
‘It’s hard work to build a team and create the right mentality for the players. You have to have people able to work with the players and put them in the right mood and say, “listen we are one of the best clubs in the world it’s not acceptable to be doing what we are doing. It’s time for us to do what is right.”’
After leaving Highbury in 2006, it would take Arsenal eight years to win their next trophy and while they have won four FA Cups since moving to the Emirates it has been an era associated with failure and misery.
But Gilberto is hopeful that better times are on their way: adding: ‘It’s been hard to see us in the last few years not playing in the Champions League and not fighting for the title.
‘I understand that we are not on the same level as Manchester City and Liverpool but as a club Arsenal must work well to get back to the good times and I think this is what as an Arsenal fan we expect them to do for the next season.’
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