Arsene Wenger Is Part of the Problem at Arsenal FC
Wenger has no doubt been great for Arsenal FC, winning 11 trophies in his first eight years at the club. Those included three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
However, since those illustrious years, Arsene Wenger has failed to win a trophy in seven years. That may be bad enough for the most competitive Arsenal fan, but it still doesn't even begin to describe the full extent of the problems.
Wenger's ardent followers will protest against anybody who fires criticism at him. Instead, they advise to deflect any concerns towards the board, including Peter Hillwood, Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke.
This is perhaps valid to an extent, but not on all aspects of the demise at the Emirates. Wenger also has a lot to answer for.
There is a distinct lack of loyalty and an inability to get players to sign contracts long before they are due to run their course. Wenger is weak.
Gone are the glory days of 4-4-2. Arsenal were so dynamic in those days. So direct. So fast. The counter attack was mesmerizing, and defense would turn into attack at a flick of a switch.
The Premiership changed when Jose Mourinho advanced Chelsea's tactics to a more continental 4-3-3, which had great success. It seemed all the big teams followed suit.
So did Wenger eventually, but it appears the Arsenal game has suffered as a consequence.
Gone are the days with the silky forward pairing up front with the out-and-out striker. Wenger had that with Bergkamp/Wright, Bergkamp/Anelka, Bergkamp/Henry, etc. However, he has abandoned that.
The team play too narrow these days and get too few crosses into the box. Unless you have a superstar striker, the main forward often becomes isolated in this position.
Ball retention is good, but there is no penetration. This is regressing every year as the ball moves slower, side to side and backwards.
The defence is weaker than it was in those days of the old back four that had a midfield four protecting it.
Wenger was blessed with a defensive backbone when he first joined the club, but he has gradually abandoned that even though seemingly rebuilding it at some stage for the Invincibles.
Seemingly every week now, he starts with the wrong 11 and tends to make the wrong substitutions during the match.
He is either too slow to react within the 90 minutes or too stubborn to change things. He persists with banging his head against a brick wall.
It appears every club has worked out an easy formula to play Arsenal and his predictability is at fault.
Last year, only Stoke City played the same formation and tactics over the course of the season more than Arsenal.
His choice of captains since Patrick Viera have been more than questionable and have not lent to good morale within the squad.
Is Wenger Part of the Problem?
There is a culture at Arsenal where the players seem to have no real loyalty or ambition to want to play for Arsenal FC.
None of these issues are factors the board can control, and yet his ardent followers would have you believe that was the case.
This is the section that reads like an obituary of greats. The what could have been.
Wenger has truly undergone a regression in standards when it comes to the quality of players he has in his squad. It's unacceptable management, and this nonchalant incompetence has gone long enough.
In seven years, Wenger has sold or let go a number of players either prematurely, too cheaply or too easily.
Not only this, but he has failed to replace them on most occasion with a player of equal footing, in some cases looking to his youth set up to fill a hole way too large.
Even worse is his growing agreement to sell his better players to his rivals. Not just rivals, but direct title contenders. It is truly shocking. Here are a few: Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Gael Clichy (Man City), Kolo Toure (Man City), Emanuel Adebayor (Man City), Samir Nasri (Man City), Robin Van Persie (Man City).
At no point did we have to sell any of these players. We have money. If we kept the majority of those players, we'd be in a brilliant position.
These were the same players Arsene promised would bring silverware back to the Gunners. He has in fact lied point blank to the fans on many occasions.
Since Thierry Henry, we've seen the likes of Gilberto Silva leave too early, Mattieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb, Jens Lehman and Alex Song, etc.
Some fans say it is not up to Wenger to keep a player or get them to them to sign a new contract before the old ones run out. Nonsense. He must identify the needs of his team. It's gross mismanagement to think otherwise.
Now we have Theo Walcott, once touted as the new Henry, playing in his last year of contract and no nearer to signing a new one.
Wenger has created some kind of weird parallel universe where Arsenal fans were saying last year that losing Walcott is of no consequence because he is not good enough.
Walcott was supposed to be our young starlet coming good. Have they not seen the like of Gervinho, Aaron Ramsey, Chamakh, Andrei Arsharvin or even new boy Olivier Giroud?
It's like Wenger has astonishing mind control and has created a delusion amongst fans.
Once Walcott leaves, Arsene may as well leave the door open for any player to leave. Players such as Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen.
This culture should have stopped before Robin Van Persie left, but it is still set to continue. Enough is enough.
If Wenger's hands are truly tied behind his back, then perhaps he should try harder to free them.
It is true Arsenal do not have funds like Manchester City or Chelsea, but they are far from poor.
They have barely spent a penny due to the profit they have made on transfers since moving to the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger is paid £7million per year to be Arsenal manager. That is an astronomical amount for a manager; especially one that is not delivering trophies.
It appears that Arsene is happy fulfilling the requirements of the board and has lost his desire to realistically compete to be a champion once again.
You must ask yourself if he is not part of the solution, then is he must be part of the problem?
With all evidence considered, the answer is a resounding yes.
Any manager serious enough would have made his point clear to the board and made his frustrations known.
Rafael Benitez famously did it against the Liverpool board and was eventually sacked. Look where Liverpool languish now. Would the Arsenal board take that risk?
Even if the board took the risk to sack Wenger, the fan backlash would be enough to bring the club crashing to a grinding halt.
Of course, as a fan, you would not want it to go that far, but sometimes, drastic action must be taken.
Sir Alex Ferguson is also well-known for digging his heels against his own board members and prevailing. Why is Wenger not doing the same?
It is because Wenger is happy to sit on his paycheck and do just enough to keep the board happy. There is no hunger or fight.
He is happy to blame everyone else and creep into the top four at the last minute every season. Perhaps this season, he will not be so lucky.
If Wenger is not prepared to take a stand, then Arsenal have no chance, as the board will never sack him.
If Wenger decides to show up the board, then he can expect the whole of North London to be on his side, and if he is forced to step down, the likes of Kronke, Hill-Wood and Gazidis would have hell to pay.
Unfortunately, it seems Wenger is in cahoots with the suits upstairs.
Arsene Wenger is part of the problem at Arsenal FC.
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