I would like to prefix this article by saying it is in no way an attack on Arsene Wenger. I still think he is the man to lead Arsenal, but after our disappointing 3-1 loss to Monaco in the Champions League, the old adage, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” springs to mind.
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Everyone is aware that Wenger is stubborn and refuses to change his strategy for anyone, and I have always respected him for sticking to his principles. Barcelona and Spain have stuck to their style of play, and while coaches seem to have discovered how to defend against them recently, it has brought them success over the years.
The reason I do not think Wenger will ever win the Champions League is that his teams are too inconsistent, and often leave themselves open and exposed. How many times have you heard Arsenal fans saying that they are not sure which Arsenal team will show up? We might as well have fielded Wolverhampton Wanderers against Monaco, as that is how woeful we were on the night.
Arsenal fans will point to the fact that we had opportunities to score, and if Olivier Giroud and co (especially Giroud) had taken their chances then we would have won comfortably. That may be true, but the fact is we were horribly exposed at the back – defending like we were down to eight men.
The simple rule of the Champions League is if you are not going to win at home, do not lose – and if possible do not concede a goal. Due to our shoddy defending, we always looked like we were going to lose unfortunately. After Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given us a lifeline however, we then contrived to concede a third goal with virtually the last kick of the game.
Does that mean this tie is over and Arsenal cannot turn it around in the second leg? Of course not! We have seen Arsenal overturn deficits time and time again. Even the Invincibles had to do it the hard way against Inter Milan in 2004, and we all know the fright we have given to Bayern Munich in recent years.
But even if we do overcome Monaco in the second leg – and that is a big if – can we play against Chelsea, Madrid, Bayern, and Barcelona the way we did against Monaco and still expect a result? Say what you will about Chelsea, but at least they are consistent – whether they look to play free-flowing attractive football, or park the bus and grind out the win, they still manage to come away with positive results.
Until Wenger learns how to make his teams tactically efficient, he will never win the Champions League, and that is the sad thing about his legacy.