A week to forget for Arsenal fans. Twice in a week we throw away games from winning positions. I cannot remember a time when we have looked as predictable in a game than that of the one versus Swansea.
Let me be straight that I have always, like many fans, hoped our greatest ever manager would be able to find his mojo once the club was stable. I wanted him to bring back the glory days that he had promised whilst we have been in ‘Transition’. This ultimately was his idea, his dream and I went in fully believing that like most of what Wenger promises eventually comes good in the end one way or another. But this week has started to make me feel that it may be time to let a younger man, with new principles come in and to shake it up a bit. This does not mean to come in and completely change the face of the club that Wenger has built but perhaps to add a new dimension to it, as it is clear the Premier League has changed and evolved but Wenger hasn’t.
I recently eluded to a part of an ex-manager’s game that Wenger should have adopted – our ability to defend and protect similar to how George Graham did. It is also something that Nigel Winterburn has also spoken of over the last few days and let’s be fair, he knew how to defend.
My worry is that now Arsene has completely split opinion. Anyone who watches the brilliant Arsenal Fan TV, or who perhaps was at the game on Sunday can speak about the apparent bickering, arguing and fighting between Arsenal fans at the game who have been divided by the Wenger in or Wenger out mind set. I am not sure regardless of results if this divide can ever be resolved, similar to the Ed Milliband Labour party issues at the moment. I think that once you have lost the backing of your people it’s best to walk and I think the club should help him to move upstairs to ensure he doesn’t break his contract as he’s always been particular on that he would always honour it, and to help his transition in the most respectful way.
I would say that most fans would prefer to see Wenger be successful similar to the way the Newcastle fans have with Pardew these past few weeks, but even though I don’t believe Wenger needs to come ‘Back From the Dead’ I think that his next 2 games against Man Utd and Dortmund are unlikely to do his chances of winning back the fan base any good.
So what do we do? We are 7-8 weeks away from the transfer window opening. We are not going to qualify top of our Champions League group meaning we will probably get rolled over in the next round as usual. We are by Wenger’s own admission playing for a place in the top four as Chelsea have won the league, we are out of the League Cup due to the fact we fielded a totally weakened side and yet we still have fans (not me any longer) looking for the positives…. I need to ask, what positives?
Just because we are not as in a pickle as Liverpool, Spurs or Man Utd perhaps does not mean we should be happy. As I have mentioned for a while we have 60k+ supporters paying the top prices in Europe to watch a side and a manager that as Mourinho mentioned is now a specialist in failure. Its hard to disagree with him. Why do you think Mourinho is successful? Why was Fergie successful? In my eyes it was because they continued to keep the sides they managed playing the football that suited the times they were playing in, and suited the players that they had.
How can we expect a team like Arsenal to defend a 3 goal lead when they don’t have any players apart from Mert in the current starting 11 who is an out an out old fashioned defender. Flamini is our only out and out defensive minded midfielder and he’s not much cop.
Look at Chelsea- why are they top? Because they have a team full of strong, angry, win at all cost minded players. They have a defence packed with athletic beasts who at any cost (like Cahill against Liverpool) throw their bodies on the line and sweat blood not to concede. We don’t have that. Not to mention they have got a striker who is surely one of the best strikers to grace the Premier League and who is from the same mould (but better) than Didier Drogba in his pomp. Oh and who have they got there to help him play that way…. oh Didier Drogba… oh right… and who do we have as our back up? oh Sanago…. as I cannot say Podolski as its clear he is not part of Mr Wenger’s stubborn plans.
So, it’s chicken and the egg philosophy- do we cut our losses now, bring in a new man to perhaps work with Wenger this season and for them to do all they can to get us into a Champions League position? Or do we trust Wenger will get us there as he usually does and then look at re-appointing a new man come the summer? Personally I think we need to act now, move Wenger upstairs and give the new guy autonomy of the running of the team. I think If Wenger stays and we do qualify for the Champions League it will only cover up the problems for this season and the board will give him complete faith again to be his very stubborn self in the summer transfer market and for season 2015/16. It may be a silly thing to say but we may need things to get a whole lot worse before we see things get better and that may mean not qualifying for Europe next season.
I am sure everyone has their own thoughts on this, and most of mine are based on how I am feeling now and what I feel would be best for the club. I am fully aware that it is highly unlikely for the club to remove Wenger amicably or not any time soon as they are quite happy with the accounts, and perhaps we need to all realise that our club much more than any other is now a business rather than a sport. Like all businesses though customers will soon leave if they feel that they are not getting value for money, so if the board want to run our club like this I would urge them to remember that point.
One other point is that Wenger perhaps could still be a great manager for Arsenal as long as he goes back to being a manager of the team and not a God like figure of a club. He in my opinion tries to juggle too much and to have complete ownership of everything that happens, whether this is down to trust or what I don’t know. I think a lot of our transfer and tactical deficiencies can be related to when David Dein left as this now has meant that Wenger oversees everything in this area and hasn’t focused fully on the team- this is just a speculative observation.
Please leave your thoughts on what you think needs to happen.