As always, the British media has its ways of picking on foreign managers in the Premier League such as Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho and etc. Like anyone else, Arsene Wenger has his fair share of criticism and has been on their radar constantly for these past seasons. Like hungry hyenas in the Savannah Desert, sport journalists and commentators will never let go of any opportunity to condemn or raise doubts on Arsene Wenger's capability as a club manager. Some even go to the lengths of suggesting he is losing his touch and is making unjustified claims and decisions especially in regards to the lack of "purchases" during the past years.
However, it is fortunate that some passionate lovers of the sport does not fail to look at things from a broader perspective and well, with a little more rationale and common sense. Here are some of the reasons for why I hold the utmost respect and trust for Arsene Wenger.
It is fair to say that one gains more wisdom as one ages. As time lapsed, Arsene Wenger has been a manager at Arsenal more than a decade clearly depicts the immense experience he had while holding such a vital position in the team. Sometimes when he makes controversial or abrupt shifts in the team formations or decides who gets to be on the list, I just get so frustrated because I don't know what is going through his mind (!!) and still I trust him. This is due to the fact that I understand that in reality, he knows his players way better than anyone from the public (me included) and he knows what is best for them.
His recent decisions on not giving a timeline for when Ramsey should recover from his tragic accident as well as not passing any judgement on Bendtner's recent lack of performance during Burnley's match deserves much of an applaud.
"We are very optimistic, but if I say he will be back on July 15 [for example], and he does not play, then it will be a big mental blow to Aaron."
"Bendtner will not be affected by his off-target performance on Saturday"
"Anything which helps us qualify is good,” said the Frenchman. “We always practice penalties in training but not the day before a game because it can have negative influences if you miss."
When asked about his opinion about the Dutch Federation's optimism about Robin Van Persie's early-than-expected comeback, he disagreed and said "No, I would love to agree but I believethey [the Dutch FA] are a bit optimistic in that”
He understanding of exactly what the players need to regain their confidence after serious mishaps or just even to maintain composure after a series of lack of performance just shows how well he plays the role of a manager and I really respect him for that.
"You may not like him, Minister, but you can't deny Dumbledore's got style" Kingsley Shacklebolt from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Love him or hate him. Arsene Wenger has flair when it comes to conveying his thoughts to the public. Whenever he sees a need to voice his opinion,boy will he not hesitate. In recent years, he has been a strong advocate in the issue of implementing video replays as Arsenal has been a victim of quite a few nasty mistakes made by line-referees.
"We need to make sure nobody goes home and feels cheated by the wrong decision."
Other than that, when being hounded and criticized by reporters for his lack of purchases and the "poor" performances, He never cease to defend himself against their ridiculous claims where they are trying to blame on him and his decisions (or should I say lack of actions)
"It's strange because I go to the press conferences where you [reporters] ask me 'you let too many goals in'. Meanwhile we have the best attack and people ask me 'why dont you buy strikers'?"
Besides the serious stuffs, I sometime feel amused by the frenchman choice of words and his opinions regarding various matter. Here are some of my picks:
When asked about whether Theo was playing "too nice" during the Burnley match, he responded
"He (Theo Walcott) is polite," said the manager. "But it does not mean he is nice. There is a difference. When someone is polite, that comes from education. Nice depends when you have things that matter for him and fight with him then you see how nice a guy he is."
Comments regarding the 1st leg of the Champion League match against FC Porto...
"From a situation where there was no goal chance at all and no free-kick as well, the referee gives them just a goal. It is difficult to understand, but maybe I am not intelligent enough"
"I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables"
"When we meet in airports we don't fight. Those meetings are even funny" [on Alex Ferguson]
"It didn't disturb me too much and I don't expect to be banned. Do you want me sent to jail?"
"Let's not dream. You must be a magician to go out there today and buy a player who can play in the Champions League, who is free and who has top world-class quality" (Hear hear!)
"I tried to call [Cyruff] back [to tell him but] I couldn't get in touch with him. I don\t know if he doesnt use a mobile or I tried to call him in the mountains somewhere but I haven't heard back"
On Diaby's tendency to be offensive..."I must say he is attracted like a magnet by the opponent's goal"
Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self. ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon
One of the many virtues Arsene Wenger possesses is the courage to humbly admit his mistakes and wrongdoings even when it seems it may well "tarnish" his reputation as a key figure in the Premier League. However, he seems to think otherwise and rightfully so. Sometimes, it takes more to swallow up your pride and admit your blunders than walk by with a blind eye.
“But as well sometimes I nearly feel guilty to do that because when Aaron goes for the ball like he did on Saturday and gets done like he did, it is not an easy situation.
“But the way I try to play the game, I believe, is the right way. When we don’t win, I get a lot of stick because of that way but I still prefer to continue to play like that. We will respect the game, the opponents and try to give pleasure to people who watch us.”
“I encourage my players to play and be committed,” he said. “I have a go at them when they don’t put their foot in sometimes."
Needless to say, Arsene Wenger plays a notable role in the arena of football. His philosophy and style of play makes him stand out from the other prominent managers in this century. His belief in investing in fresh, young and unknown players and talents has definitely paid off in the recent decades. Managers prize the ability to purchase players at an affordable prices and hone them into great world-class players and Wenger is one of them that have achieved a great success in doing so. Incidentally, the likes of Patrick Vierra, Theirry Henry, Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas and many more has flourished under the reign of Arsene Wenger. Clubs like Real Madrid are dying to get their hands on the Frenchman just proves his capability as an accomplished manager while players hold great respect for him as a mentor, a teacher and a coach. Sometimes, things that he say just makes me feel a deep sense of reverence towards him.
As a matter of fact, this article is written not intended to woo people into liking him or reason why he deserves your respect. It is just a tribute for his past accomplishments and his role as a great manager with Arsenal.
Lastly, I just want to share that the reason why I did this was because I saw this tweet after we have won our second leg against FC Porto last week.
"Arsenal goes 3, then 4-0 - the crowd turns round and sings 'there's only [one] Arsene Wenger' to Stan Collymore. Hilarious."
Fittingly so, I think it definitely portrays how much we appreciate his contributions more than any words I can spare for this article =)