Arsenal at a crossroads following defeat

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor articulated what many observers believe when he said Arsenal were at a crossroads after seeing their hopes of reaching the Champions League final ended by Manchester United on Tuesday.

There was no disgrace in losing 4-1 on aggregate to the reigning champions of Europe in the semi-finals but Arsenal, who are fourth in the Premier League, have now failed to win a trophy for a fourth successive season.

Togo striker Adebayor, widely criticised for his recent performances, said afterwards their trophy drought had lasted too long and the north London club must do everything they can to end their barren spell next season.

"It has been a long time without a trophy. I joined in 2006 and I feel sorry for not winning anything in three years," Adebayor told Sky Sports News.

"Now for next season I don't know how we are going to do to be honest. I don't know how we are going to manage.

"What we are going to try to do is score with our head, our toes, whatever. We just have to try and bring trophies to this club."

Whether Adebayor will still be there is debatable, as is manager Arsene Wenger's policy of buying young untried players and moulding them into a championship or trophy-winning side.

He maintains his youngsters can only get better and have proved the success they seek could be close after going unbeaten for 21 Premier League matches, but their inexperience cost them a chance of a place in the Champions League final on Tuesday.

With an average age of 23, compared to United's 27, it appeared to United defender Patrice Evra "that it was men against boys out there," as he said afterwards.

Arsenal's teenage prospect Kieran Gibbs, at 19 the youngest in the team, made the mistake that led to United's opening goal from Park Ji-sung after eight minutes and was so distraught at halftime that Wenger replaced him with Emmanuel Eboue.

United wrapped up the tie after just 11 minutes when Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal's 22-year-old skipper, gave the ball away to Cristiano Ronaldo who was fouled by Robin van Persie and scored from the ensuing 40-metre free-kick.

Ronaldo added his second goal just past the hour after a sweeping move before Van Persie scored a consolation from the penalty spot to make it 3-1 on the night after Darren Fletcher brought down Fabregas and was sent off to miss the final.

Fabregas is Arsenal's outstanding talent and one of the best young players in Europe but without the injured William Gallas, or experienced campaigners like the long-departed Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira, they lack an authoritative leader on the field.

Wenger has built two great teams in his 13 years at Arsenal and appears to be constructing another fine side but it is the present that matters in football leaving him at a crossroads.

The question of whether Wenger buys established players to complement his youngsters will occupy the thoughts of all those connected with the club over the close season.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'