One Arsene Wenger!
Arsene Wenger is fast becoming the most talked about aspect of Arsenal Football Club and it appears it isn't going to quieten down anytime soon. Arsene Wenger is beginning to see his popularity diminish amongst some supporters and unfortunately for those who want the legendary Frenchman to leave are classed as morons and branded not true supporters of AFC. The 'Wenger Out' arguement is normally stopped pretty quickly, as a lot of people have no time for this type of conversation and people never hear their point of view and reasoning behind such an opinion. Now I am most certainly not a Wenger Out type of person but I am willing to list concerns surrounding AW and how counter productive it has become for our club. Every gooner knows everything great he has done for the club and there probably isn't a manager in the land who could operate like he does, operating at a 11.5 million profit since 2004 compared to that of our near neighbours who have a deficit of 239.6m (via @jwtelegraph).
That unfortunately has been AW's achilles heel, the lack of spending on proven talent. We take gambles on talented players like Koscielny, Nasri and Theo Walcott. You need to compete both on and off the pitch these days and our work off the field since David Dein left the club hasn't been very spectacular. We need proven players, players with a winning mentality and players who are willing to thrive in the face of adversity. A few transfer windows ago we had the opportunity to sign Xabi Alonso but we turned that opportunity down because it would kill such talents as Denilson. Such decisions can and will be magnified as Denilson not progressed after showing signs of promise and argueably has been over used in past seasons and he could have done with an experienced head like Alonso around the club. A fee of approx 18m may have looked expensive but in truth it would have been a fantastic investment. Our team lacks a positive & winning experience throughout the side, all we know is how to lose big games when it matters and that has spread throughout the side. We have been labelled as chokers and bottlers and it's backed up by countless fixtures echoed by our inability to beat Birmingham City to win the Carling Cup. That is a fixture we should never lose, in fact they've only beaten us once in The Premier League and that was a week before we won the FA Cup in 2006. Experience counts for a lot at the highest level and we can't expect to realistically compete until we buy finished articles.
As for Arsene himself , he may have forgotten how to win big games, it's apparent in too many freak results that we can't kill sides off. Keeping possession is our forte (unless playing against the might of Barcelona) but when we have our backs against the wall everyone panics. Our calm, measured passing game turns into a mass panic ensuing and the ball suddenly turns into a grenade and we thump it forward at the drop of a hat. When did you last see a play in red and white head for the corner flag? Sometimes the most simple of tactics can be the most effectve. Our defending from set pieces leads us to question what sort of training do we do to counter that? These aspects need to be addressed but we seem to approach the same situations with the same navievty time after time. The players also need to be accountable but how do their poor displays get rewarded? Usually with a start the following week. Our line up at Newcastle was followed up with 1 enforced change, how will this side learn? Jack and Cesc were anonymous in the 2nd half at St James' but both have become so indispensable that we can ill afford to axe either of them in fear of one of them wanting to leave. The same happened on Wednesday night, we blew a 3-1 lead and we made 1 change (again enforced) for the following game. How can this side ever learn when nobody is held accountable? Am I too naive to think a good stint on the bench would be beneficial to a players motivation? Do players not learn from having a spell on the sidelines? Alex Ferguson has benched such players as Beckham, Giggs, Yorke etc and it didn't do any of those any harm. Also AW continues to defend the indefensible, Take Emmanuel Eboue for example, Henry Winter stated last week that Wenger was so viciouris in his attack on the ref that Eboue probably didn't feel that he had done anything wrong. When the truth was he didn't need to be as close as he was to Lucas and subsequently threw away 2 points in a title race. Players can't be allowed of the hook that easy. Eboue needs to be told he cost us that that game and that he let his team mates down.
The big question for Arsene is will he change his ways? He doesn't have to change our style, just the personnel. AW hasn't spent much recently so it's not like we are writing off x amount of millions of pounds. It takes a big man to admit mistakes and every gooner would accept it was a venture that didn't go as planned and we would all happily move on. Look at the fact he has effectively spent nothing over the last 7 years and the board must be sitting on a budget worth far more than the anticipated 40 million. We need big characters such as the types that have graced us for many a year like Adams, Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry, Keown, Seaman Etc. Let's be a bit more flamboyant in our signings, they are out there. We need more creativity, a bit more strength and toughness, a ruthless streak to grind out that crucial win. We need to rid ourselves of players that have not progressed as we had hoped and cash in and reinvest. Let's get 3 or 4 good signings in, add a freshess to the side, create real competition amongst the squad and kick on. This has gone on too long now and AW needs to buy collectively like he did in 1997 and 2001, he reinvigorated the squad and didn't shy away from selling fan favourites such as Paul Merson.
The big worry will come if Wenger doesn't change, we stick to our current philosophy and we are in the same position next season. At presnt Kroenke and co are unlikey to pressure AW at the risk of massively falling out with the fans but should the fans begin to turn against him then that decision becomes much easier. That minority shouldn't become a majority anytime soon but someone at the club needs to sit down with the great man and tell him how close to success we have been and how investment can reap rewards. The club are desperately seeking ways to increase marketing throughout the world, well the best way is to be successful. It makes things a lot easier.