Former Arsenal boss George Graham has attributed the club's eight-year trophy drought and an alteration of their ambitions to Arsene Wenger's continued failure in the transfer market.
The Gunners are five points adrift of the Premier League top four after the derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, while the club go into the Champions League last 16 second leg against Bayern Munich looking to overturn a 3-1 defeat from the first leg.
Arsene Wenger claimed earlier this season during the club's annual general meeting that Arsenal qualifying for the Champions League for a 16<sup>th consecutive season would be the equivalent to winning a trophy, and Graham says the Frenchman's problems in the transfer market have contributed to the decline in both expectations and results.
"The last few seasons, the standard has slipped because the players coming into the club, in my opinion, are inferior to the players that were there seven years ago," Graham told talkSPORT.
"His first spell at the club was phenomenal. Three League Championships, four FA Cups, finishing in the top four for 15 years - that is a phenomenal record. But he has raised his own bar and he has to ask himself if he has fallen a little bit.
"It's all about players. If you are a great manager, it's down to the players you put on the pitch. Arsenal have never been big spenders. When Wenger first came to the club, he was buying them at bargain prices and making them into world-class players.
"He has been brilliant with what he has achieved at the club - building a new stadium, building a new training ground. But the last few seasons it's been slipping away gradually. The onus is now on finishing in the top four, whereas before the onus was on winning the Premier League.
"The first thing you have got to ask is who is bringing the players to the club? Is it Arsene or is it the scouting staff? Who has he got, not just in England, but all around the world?
"You've got to ask who is bringing in the players of the quality that was brought in during his first six or seven years at the club. That has been the problem. The quality coming in now is not of the quality it was when he first came."
Without Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski, Arsenal face an uphill task to become the third side in Champions League history to recover from a first leg loss at home, to reach the quarter final against a Bayern side who are 20 points clear in the Bundesliga and are among the favourite to bounce back from their penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea in the final last year and go all the way to Wembley.