Arsene Wenger is one of the most criticized managers in the Premier League. But most of the dissent he receives day-in and day-out is largely unwarranted, and is not reflected in the eyes of the Gunners' fans.
His critics say his stubbornness and intransigence are negatively affecting the club, after a series of player exits, losses and bad luck situations.
Nevertheless, I believe Arsene has made many very good decisions concerning the club, and here are five of them...
Alot of people have villified Wenger for selling Samir Nasri, and to a rival no less. They say it was the wrong decision because he was one of their best midfielders and was an asset to the team.
But what most of those people may not understand is that Wenger played that whole situation masterfully.
Nasri was on the last year of his contract and was not about to sign a new one. His value had gone up considerably since Wenger bought the Frenchman from Marseille in the summer of 2008 for £12m.
Given this, if Wenger had kept Nasri as his critics said he should, he'd have walked away in a year's time for nothing.
Wenger wisely named Nasri for his Champions League squad in the qualification round against Udinese, as Manchester City stalled on bidding for him. This decision made Manchester City expedite their offer, fearing Wenger would field Nasri, thereby cup-tying him—which would prevent him from playing in the CL for any other club until the knock-out stages in January.
In the end, Wenger made about £25m on Nasri's sale—over twice what he paid for him just three years before. Not bad business at all!
Another transfer Wenger has taken a lot of flack over is the sale of Cesc Fabregas.
Over the summer, there were many accusations of unofficial "tapping up" of Fabregas by various Barcelona players, such as midfielder Xavi Hernandez saying that he was "suffering" at Arsenal.
Many people saw this as a reason for Wenger to show them "who's boss" and flex his managerial muscles by holding on to Fabregas.
He didn't, and it was the right decision.
It's been no secret for the past few years that Fabregas has wanted desperately to return to his home-club of Barcelona. His performance for Arsenal had been on a steady decline, and it was no mystery why.
Wenger knew that keeping a player who didn't want to play for the club anymore would have been a stupid decision, even if by keeping him he would have come off as the unwavering and fearless hero standing up to the powerhouse that is Barcelona.
He put his pride aside and did what's right for the club.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is turning out to be a genius buy by Wenger—probably his best of the summer.
Once again, he took alot of criticism when he bought the 18-year-old in August from Championship side Southampton. People said he was again buying useless and risky youngsters, and that he should be focusing on acquiring experienced, established players.
Chamberlain made his debut for Arsenal in the team's Carling Cup match against Shrewsbury Town on September 20 and scored his first goal for the Gunners.
Again, he started for Arsenal in their Champions League game against Olympiakos on September 28, again scoring to put the Gunners up 1-0.
Now there is talk of him becoming a regular starter for Arsenal, and Wenger appears to, again, have made a great decision in buying him despite the dissent of his critics.
Another thing Arsene has done—and always does—is keep faith in his players and supports them 100 percent, even when doing so is hardest.
Even after the 8-2 loss to Manchester United and the 4-3 defeat to Blackburn recently, Wenger has maintained his public support for his players, which is very important.
He also always plays his young, still-developing players, despite the criticism he takes from people who brand it as an irresponsible, risky move.
People often forget that when Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, etc. were bought by Wenger, they were nothings, who he turned into stars.
And the most important thing Arsene has done since the end of last season, and even for his entire career at Arsenal, is sticking to his guns.
Wenger never lets dissent and criticism get the best of him. He marches on with his policies, philosophies and strategies, no matter what anyone says.
He has the backing of the Arsenal board and a majority of the fans, and that's what matters most.
His very name breathes Arsenal, and in the end, he's their leader and legend, and he'll be there no matter what.