Saturday, 25 October 2014


Kind of what success is built on

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Changing Man On Shifting Sands

Could it be true that Wenger doesn't nurture young players as the myth suggests? It could be said that he Slings them into high pressure situations, plays them out of position or loans them out if they show promise in the first team.
Is it fair to say that  Evert year we qualify for a tournament we have no chance of winning and every year we get blown away by a team at some point in the competition showing that we are ill equipped? Everyyear there is no adaptation made to deal with our inferiority either tactically or in team selection. Some might say that repeating mistakes year after year is a sign of arrogance, complacency, stubbornness or even incompetence. Does the fact that we still have a vociferous majority arguing that everything is rosy as long as we qualify each year make sense? Is it acceptance or lack of ambition? Listening to those that will have no truck with rational criticism of Wenger one need not even go back as far as the Champions League final to raise questions about Wenger's stewardship but in the last 9 years there's a strong argument that we've seen error strewn management (both at manager level and, to be fair to Arsene, at board level) We have witnessed some of The Arsenal's heaviest defeats under Wenger; 6-1,8-2, 6-2,6-3,5-0 Selling RVP to ManUtd Not buying Fabregas Not replacing Vermaelen Selling Pires,Gilberto,Lauren, Campbell too soon Selling Edu,Gilberto,Diarra one after the other leaving us light in central midfield Losing Cole over a trifling amount Turning down Yaya Tourre Dropping Lehman for Almunia Sticking with Diaby,Denilson,Eboue,Bendtner Mis-managing Arshavin,Özil,Reyes, Buying players such as Santos, Park,Bischoff, Silvestre Loaning out players that had shown promise like Jenkinson and Gnabry Time and again offering nothing from the bench and systematically  playing players out of position Not addressing obvious problems Picking up the big bucks and not producing yet trying to paint a picture of success The list is a long one and not counterbalanced by success. Without rewriting history is there also an argument to say that the reason that top top players liked Wenger (past tense) was that for Henry, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Campbell, Lehman, Gilberto etc. Wenger had, to a great extent, just let them get on with it? They had captains all over the field and simply had to say to each other "we are better than the opposition let's go and do it' which by and large they did. But Wenger had the advantage of the back four to guide the newcomers and access to a golden era of French footballers. Some might argue that he just held training and the team virtually picked itself. No crazy experiments a basic 4-4-2 was perfect for that team. There are those that say Arsene  is smoke and mirrors and has only, employed effective pragmatic tactics twice in 18 years: at home to Real Madrid 2006 and the 2005 FA cup final. For some the summer has been the tipping point. After just winning the FA Cup it felt like we were ready to push on and it was glaringly obvious where we needed to change the squad. Then came the World Cup and we saw how progressive management has worked and that the Spanish philosophy had been replaced and there were fears that Wenger doesn't have the capacity to adapt or be progressive in his thinking. Could it be that I that we were doomed under him as all the proper managers will have taken note of the changes in world football while Wenger would stubbornly dig his heels in trying to prove his approach would work? If one says that until he goes we remain treading water does that make it a negative view or a valid observation? The frustration is we have three more years of Arsene and the preceding nine may have been a slow process of bamboozle. Each year the hope of better days gives fans a bit of "maybe this time" and one year becomes five and five a decade with the same thing happening again and again like Groundhog Day: spin and false promises anyone?
Also remember that as poor as we were at the end of George Graham's tenure and given how bizarre some of Graham's Choices had been we still won trophies because he was a better tactician than Wenger - 93 FA & League Cup 94 ECWC and the year he left in 95 we got to the ECWC final again with his set of players under Houston. So let's have a bit of context. 
What I don't get is how there is such a strong unwavering support for Wenger: a support that brooks no questioning of the, as if to do some makes you an enemy of the state.  Mourinho, Rodgers, Pellegrini and Europe’s elite love it that Wenger manages Arsenal because as long as he does we are no threat. Frankly with our potential:infrastructure,revenue,location, history and tradition the Arsenal could be an elite club in three years with an ideology change that in afraid means parting company with our present manager. As London's greatest club we could be massive and that should have happened: the invincible as the springboard. Honestly the potential our club has is unbelievable. Inferiority is now somewhat entrenched as can be seen in the immutable facts of our 5 year record against the top four:
P 15 W1   L 14   D1 F15   A42 that’s 4 points from a possible 45. If these statistics are not of concern then there’s something wrong.
Last season Chelsea went to Anfield to play a Liverpool team that were flying: they parked the bus and did a smash and grab leaving with 3 points and derailing Liverpool’s tittle aspirations. It was a great disciplined performance planned on the training field and executed perfectly on the pitch. Chances of our manager doing the same against the big teams that we've struggled against? Don’t be silly! I can't abide Chelsea but Mourinho loves playing against Wenger as he knows that when it comes to setting a team up for a particular task Wenger's record is poor. The sight of Mourinho smugly ducking down the tunnel at the final whistle secure in another victory against The Arsenal (more specifically against Wenger) is stomach turning but he's had plenty of practice. 
So there you have it; I believe a change is necessary, that doesn’t mean I’m having a go at Mr Wenger: as a human being Arsene is worth ten of Mourinho but this is The Arsenal and we need more and deserve more because one thing is clear: we have all been oh so patient. For me that patience is at an end but the reality is that there will probably be no change until Arsene’s contract expires and I hope that we do not lose further ground. Let’s not forget that the Arsenal are a great club and should aspire to great things. Mediocrity doesn’t suit us

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