Arsenal Should Learn from David Moyes' and Manchester United's Mistakes

Mr XSenior Writer IApril 25, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  (L-R) Manchester United manager David Moyes and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shake hands at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on February 12, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

David Moyes' sacking by Manchester United has sent shockwaves across the entire football world, and if Arsenal have paid close attention, they will have learned many valuable lessons.

It was not all that long ago that Arsene Wenger and the Gunners were dominating the back pages. The 64-year-old Frenchman was under all kinds of pressure as the Gunners' season imploded.

Many fans, pundits and analysts wondered whether Le Prof was still the right man to lead the club he has been with since 1996.

Roll on just a few weeks and the glaring white-hot eye of football has turned its complete and utter attention towards Old Trafford following Moyes' sacking. Wenger's future, it would seem, is yesterday's news and today's chip wrapper.

Arsenal could learn a lot from what has happened over the last week and the last 10 months of Premier League football in general.

Happier Days: Moyes' first match press conference.
Happier Days: Moyes' first match press conference.Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

On May 9, 2013, David Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United, as per Manchester United's official website. The tributes he received from Fergie, Sir Bobby Charlton and Joel and Avie Glazer were glowing to say the least. United were so sure that they had the right man that they awarded the Scot a six-year contract.

Now, just a few short days from the anniversary of his appointment, Moyes is on the lookout for his next job and United are on the lookout for a new manager. The parting has verged on acrimonious, as per the League Managers Association, rather than with "such sweet sorrow."

Arsenal, as a major English club, should pay close attention to the goings-on around Old Trafford regarding the handling of the entire Moyes situation.

It is well known that Arsene Wenger is nearing the end of his career.

Arsene Who?: Wenger's first Arsenal match in 1996.
Arsene Who?: Wenger's first Arsenal match in 1996.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

When he joined Arsenal in the late '90s, few would have thought he would change his club forever, let alone English football. His impact was almost immediate, and within 12 months, his team had won the double.

It was the beginning of a dynasty that had been in the making since the very first moment he walked through the hallowed marble halls at Highbury on September 30, 1996.

Between 1997 and 2005, Arsenal did not finish outside the top-two positions in the Premier League. They won the league title three times and the FA Cup five times during a period of near-total domination.

The highlight of this run was winning the title in 2004 after going the entire season unbeaten. The Gunners romped away with the league and finished with a staggering 90 points, 11 points ahead of second-placed Chelsea, 15 points ahead of Manchester United in third and a staggering 30 points ahead of Liverpool in fourth.

LONDON - MAY 16:  Thierry Henry (L) and Patrick Vieira are seen at the front of the bus outside the Islington Town Hall during the Arsenal Football Club victory parade to show the League Champions with their FA Barclaycard Premiership Trophy on May 16, 20
Clive Mason/Getty Images

To say that Arsenal dominated the league during Wenger's first eight years in charge would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions.

They won the titles playing the best football, they won the titles with the best manager, and they won the titles with the best players.

Since then, however, Arsenal have flattered to deceive and have never managed a full title challenge over the course of a season. This season's dramatic fall-away after February is a perfect example of what Arsenal fans have come to expect from Wenger and his teams.

There have been near misses, of course. Fans will also point to the building of the Emirates Stadium and the siphoning away of transfer fees to enable construction. They will also point to Jose Mourinho being installed as manager of high-spending Chelsea in 2004.

However, when all remains said and done, Arsenal were one of the highest-spending clubs, on both wages and transfer fees, between 2001 and 2012, according to the Telegraphand have no excuse for a near-10-year trophy drought.

The 64-year-old legend has had to contend with bitter recrimination from his own fans over the last number of years.

Gunners fans have become frustrated with the lack of silverware at the Emirates Stadium. The last trophy Arsenal won was in 2005 when they lifted the FA Cup after scraping home against Manchester United in the final.

Wenger is under huge pressure to win the FA Cup this year, now that the Champions League and Premier League titles are well out of reach.

Whether Wenger returns with the FA Cup after the final against Steve Bruce's Hull City or not, Arsenal have to start planning to replace their legendary manager.

According to John Cross, writing in the Daily Mirror, Wenger wants to sign a new contract with the club. 

HULL, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Arsenal at KC Stadium on April 20, 2014 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Arsenal's board would not be doing their job properly if they awarded the Frenchman his new contract before the FA Cup final in May. 

Reading the situation from outside the club, the contract offer has been on the table for some time. Wenger, however, was reluctant to sign on the dotted line. Whether this was gamesmanship on the Frenchman's side, one can only guess at.

However, it did look like he wanted to be in a position of power in bringing in a trophy to the negotiations.

Now that the Premier League title is a dream for another year, he is slightly more eager to sign

There is definite merit to Arsenal's board playing their cards close to their chest and assessing situations further afield. are reporting that Gunners chiefs have contacted Louis van Gaal, who is said to be on the radar of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

The board know that there is a healthy #WengerOut campaign amongst fans. After the 3-0 defeat to Everton recently, Twitter almost went into meltdown as angry fans vented their fury, as per the Star. Losing the FA Cup final to Hull would undoubtedly create another hostile environment.

HULL, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reacts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Arsenal at KC Stadium on April 20, 2014 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

After seeing his team fall out of Premier League contention in such a spectacular way, losing the FA Cup might even prove to be the final nail in the coffin for Wenger himself, should he choose to walk away.

Having seen how Manchester United appointed David Moyes, Arsenal should look for pitfalls for their process. 

Back in March, when Moyes was under intense pressure, Wenger told a Premier League press conference that he would have no part in appointing his successor, as per the Irish Independent.

This would, perhaps, seem a wise move, but his counsel should be taken on the footballing philosophies of his successors if he is still with the club. If, of course, Arsenal and Wenger part company, then he will obviously play no part in the planning.

After embarking upon appointing a successor, the club should maintain the core of the back-room staff. This will bring its own continuity and allow the new manager to fit in far quicker.

David Moyes made a key mistake in sacking Ferguson's back-room team just four days into the job. The coaching staff were easy targets for the manager to show who is the boss in his first week. He would have been better served giving free transfers to unwanted players.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (R) and assistant Steve Bould watch from the dugout during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on February 12, 2014 in London, Englan
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arsenal have a good back-room team with Boro Primorac, fitness coach Tony Colbert, goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton, Neil Banfield and Steve Bould well versed in the Arsenal way. To get rid of them would be a mistake.

The club must also resist the urge to make Wenger a director or ambassador for the club. This creates an environment for players to talk to their old manager behind the new manager's back.

Manchester United did not learn from the harsh lesson of Wilf McGuinness' ill-fated reign after succeeding Sir Matt Busby judging by the recent debacle at the club. The failed to heed their own warnings after beginning the process to replace Ferguson back in 2010.

There are numerous other lessons to be learned from Moyes' reign. The most important of which, however, is that the succeeding manager must have the same footballing philosophy. There is little doubt that Moyes is an excellent coach who demands his team to work for each other. In this respect, he is, most definitely, cut from the same cloth as Ferguson.

The two differ significantly in playing styles, though.

Just like Tottenham fans who turned on George Graham for his blunt and boring playing style because it was not the Spurs way, United's fans eventually turned on Moyes because his pragmatic approach was not the United way.

This is where Arsenal face their biggest hurdle. There are not many men in the English game who could step into Wenger's shoes. Moyes, despite the Daily Mail linking him with replacing Wenger, is not the right man for Arsenal.

Of all the top coaches at work in Europe at the moment, one man stands out above the rest. His teams play great football, and like Wenger, he has been given incredible control within the club. He has resisted the urge to leave his beloved team, but he harbours an ambition to work in the Premier League.

Arsenal are best placed to offer the same level of authority both on and off the pitch and have been built from the ground up to play in the same exciting philosophy.

That man in Jurgen Klopp.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp faces the media during a Borussia Dortmund press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group F match against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on October 21, 2013 in London, England.  (
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Borussia Dortmund manager distanced himself from the Manchester United job, according to BBC Sport

Klopp, 46, is under contract at the Westfalenstadion until 2018. 

It is highly unlikely that Wenger will last another four years at the Arsenal helm, but it makes complete sense to award him a contract for at least the next two years. 

That way, the club can begin discreet negotiations with Klopp and have everything in place for 2016.

United's doomed project with Moyes began in 2010 when they started succession planning for Ferguson's retirement.

Arsenal should start doing the same for Wenger this summer and learn from all the mistakes Manchester United made along the way.


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