Arsenal: Why It Is Important to Keep the Faith in the Manager and the Players
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There is obviously a crisis and I am deeply sad for Arsene. I watch the players’ body language and I see they have become disillusioned.
Year after year, they have always struggled with the last step. I feel they are unmotivated. I even fear that some have lost their trust in Arsene.
Each player seems alone in his world. Nobody takes the lead on the field and that is deadly.
But what Petit says is nothing remarkable. It doesn't take great insight for a man to know it's going to rain when he looks at dark, sullen clouds and from experience knows they suggest a high probability of rain.
When Arsenal had their unbeaten run, after the rocky start to the season, everyone was saying how great the players are and how well Wenger has done in turning around the season. The crisis left Arsenal, landed in Chelsea, and then even went to Manchester United for a brief moment.
Not surprising, the first word on every flaky fan's lip is "sack," whether it be Wenger, André Villas-Boas, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho (remember six weeks ago, when Madrid all went crazy demanding for Mourinho's head?), Mick McCarthy or Neil Warnock.
It is lack of imagination.
Sacks should be the last resort not the first. Managers are rarely the problem, which is why I say "poor Mick," and the fact that Wolves have found it difficult to find his replacement speaks volumes.
Look at where sacking Carlo Ancelotti has landed Chelsea, and now, some fans want the cycle resurrected by sacking his successor after being constrained to change the way the team plays in a single season while remaining competitive and without the players to execute his style.
It is crazy. It is stupid.
Guess what, old dogs hardly find it funny when asked to learn new tricks.
The "sack Mourinho" chorus should warn us that such sentiments are rarely products of deep, rational consideration. They are more the product of that madness scientists say overtake sane people from time to time—like a perfectly normal and good person flying into rage, doing something stupid "in the heat of the moment" and then regretting it later.
So, I'd apply a great many grains of salt to Petit's words were I to be asked to eat them.
You could say that the crisis at the moment in England is a bit like fire. It moves very quickly from one club to another. It’s like a fire with strong wind so you have to be cautious because the wind can blow it quickly back.
Rather than jump on the Petit bandwagon, Wenger advises fans to take a different step.
We live in a world where everybody is positive when it goes well, but life is not only ups, it is ups and downs. Successful lives are about how people respond when you are down.
When you have to face what we have faced this year and are in the position we are in - in the championship - I do not think the players have done too badly.
Note this statement: "Successful lives are about how people respond when you are down." It is an aphorism worth memorizing.
On the Milan game, which Arsenal lost, Wenger says this:
It can happen that you lose a game like in Milan. When you go to Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League, do you really think the players do not want to perform? You have played football. You can say that can happen in a smaller game.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand how people can respond to a situation like that. Everybody wants to be a star, to be the best player in the world and everybody wants to win the Champions League.
Yes, he is defending the players, which is what a good manager (like a good parent) should do. You discipline, you rebuke, but it is vital that you build up.
Fans, these days, delight in tearing down. Rather than tinker with a little, they'd rather burn down the house. No le bon sens.
Apparently reacting to Petit, Wenger says this:
It’s a waste of energy and time to speak about people who have opinions. They are entitled to have an opinion. But an opinion is just one single person who says something.
It does not mean this person is necessarily right. We live in a world where you have to accept that. The most important thing for me is that we turn up with a good performance.
Words about Wenger have been bandies about recently. Some even questioning his tactical acumen. Many of such would then suggest numbers with hyphens as an example of tactics. It is amusing. It demonstrates to me that many of these don't know what tactics are.
Tell me that he doesn't know tactics. Tell me he doesn't deserve faith from Arsenal fans. Tell me that you, as a fan, have perspective beyond the Wenger years.
If you do, and if you are the type that surveys situations calmly, I'd be astonished that you'd be calling for Wenger's head.
It's time to stop castigating and start motivating with our support even when things don't go our way. The sun will not remain hidden behind dark clouds for ever.
We, as fans, should grow up.
Facio liberos ex liberis libris libraque.
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