Arsenal FC: 5 Reasons Why Arsene Wenger Should Be Sacked
Arsenal FC's longest-serving manager Arsene Wenger is under immense pressure to right the wrongs this summer.
Six trophy-less seasons coupled with a prospective mass exodus of star players from the Emirates makes his job even more tough this summer.
The Frenchman was successful as the manager of Arsenal until he moved from the venerable Highbury to the pristine Emirates—a move that has yet to yield a trophy for the Gunners.
For monetary reasons and the long-term future of the club, the move to the Emirates was necessary.
However, although a few regulations were inevitable in terms of transfer dealings and player wages, nobody expected Arsenal to go through a lean patch for so long with very few reasons to celebrate during the horribly disastrous period in Wenger's reign.
His reign can be classified into two epochs: pre-Emirates and post-Emirates.
On the basis of the latter part, Wenger should have got the sack by now, but he's still at the helm thanks to his early success and financial benefits to the club.
Wenger's youth policy will eventually pay rich dividends but that doesn't mean Arsenal should look into the future and discard the present.
Although Arsenal don't have the resources to conduct big-money signings, the manager can afford one or two big-money signings now and then.
That's where Wenger failed in recent years. He overlooked his wobbly defence and shaky goalkeepers for attack, and as a result paid a big price for defensive errors.
With a better goalkeeper and another established centre-back—fans have been pleading for these two signings for years—Arsenal could have mounted a sustained title challenge and in all likelihood would have won a trophy or two.
The goalkeeping situation has considerably improved this season while the defence is more or less same with an alarming rate of more than one goal conceded per game in the 2010-11 domestic season.
It's safe to say that Wenger's unwillingness to learn from his mistakes has cost the club dearly.
Although he was provided ample time to address the issues, Wenger's obstinacy dictated his sensibility playing a big part in Arsenal's barren spell.
Here are the five reasons why the Arsenal board should pull the curtains down on the waiting game and fire the reticent Frenchman.
Persisting with Mediocre Players
Arsene Wenger is a very patient man.
If not, players like Denilson and Manuel Almunia would never have been at Arsenal for this long.
Especially Almunia, who was never good enough to play for a Champions League side in the first place, ended up with the gloves when Jens Lehmann committed blunders.
He has been pitiably inconsistent and cost Arsenal numerous points and games over the years.
Wenger should have identified a more talented goalkeeper as replacement for Lehmann or at least should have replaced Almunia when he time and time again proved his inability to man the post of Arsenal.
Last summer saw Wenger approaching other clubs for goalkeepers but his parsimonious conduct forced him to stick with Almunia for one more season.
One season too many perhaps, as Almunia kept playing the sabotage game for Arsenal until he was replaced by Fabianski, who himself is known for goalkeeping blunders.
Denilson is another player who has proved time and time again that he's nowhere near the level to play for Arsenal but still has a staggering number of games under his belt in an Arsenal shirt.
He should have been moved on a lot earlier; likewise, Abou Diaby, Nicklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Eboue, etc. have played far too many games when they should've been at different clubs by now.
Leaky Defence and Poor Organisation
Arsenal are one of the easiest teams to score against, so they usually have to outscore the opponents to win games.
At times, even four goals are not enough for Arsenal to secure all three points—last season's 4-4 extravaganza at St. James' Park is the more recent case.
First off, most of the defensive woes arise from the lack of top-notch centre-backs.
Thomas Vermaelen is the only centre-back who inspires some confidence, and he was sorely missed last season.
That said, the very thought of winning trophies with one good centre-back is ludicrous. Hence, quite why Wenger hasn't addressed the issue is beyond me.
Two years ago, he brought in Manchester United outcast Mikael Silvestre and raved how he was going to provide Arsenal with the experience and winning mentality.
What transpired on the pitch later was nothing short of a dramatic comedy show.
When Arsenal finally realised that Silvestre wasn't even good enough to play for their reserve side, arrived Sebastien Squillaci to provide experience and composure at the back.
When he stepped onto the pitch, Arsenal fans lost composure and were praying for the referee to blow the final whistle as his nerve-wracking flop shows pushed fans onto the edge of their seats.
It was just a case of one established signing that would have eased the defensive woes considerably, but the obstinate man unearthed unknown players and octogenarians to fill in at the heart of the defence, which backfired.
Even the Frenchman's defensive setup has been hardly convincing of late. Far too many goals were conceded from set pieces and serious fans of football will know it's not entirely down to the lack of height.
Man marking is non-existent at Arsenal and quite not sure whether Wenger even has a defensive coach at his disposal from the look of things.
Lack of Experience and Inability To Replace Departed Stars
Arsene Wenger is the sole reason why the Arsenal team lack experience.
Flair, ability and silky skills alone won't win you silverware.
A right balance has to be struck between experience and youth. While Borussia Dortmund may have something to say about it, Arsenal needed experienced heads at the business end of the last couple of seasons when they collapsed like a pack of cards.
Wenger never replaced the experienced players the way it should have been done.
He allowed the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva etc. to leave without having able replacements.
In defence, he allowed players like Kolo Toure and William Gallas to leave and brought in unknown players as replacements. Except for once, when Vermaelen proved to be a bargain buy, Arsenal have failed in the market with their defensive recruits.
Protracted Contract Negotiations and Overpaying Underachievers
While contract negotiation is not exactly the manager's job, since David Dein left it has been up to Wenger to hammer out new deals with Ivan Gazidis more or less the puppet in Wenger's hands.
Mathieu Flamini's contract situation suggested how inept Arsenal were at dealing with the negotiations.
He was then an extremely vital cog in Arsenal's wheel and they should have fought tooth and nail to keep him at the club.
Moving on, Gael Clichy's contract was not handled properly as well as the ongoing saga of Samir Nasri's is shocking; not quite sure how he was allowed to run his contract down to the final year in the first place.
At the same time, it's also worth noting that players like Carlos Vela get pay rise virtually for sitting on the bench and the likes of Almunia, Denilson, Diaby etc. earn close to £50,000 per week.
Whilst Wenger always talks about financial constraints and the need to spend cash wisely, Arsenal's wage bill is on the higher side, fourth in the league with £111 million per season which is only around £20 million less than Manchester United.
When you consider the fact Arsenal's top earners fall in the relatively lower money bracket compared to other top clubs, it must be inferred that Arsenal pay significant money as wages but the emphasis is on quantity, not quality.
When other clubs try to secure the long-term future of quality players with hefty wages, Arsenal even out the wages amongst the first team, reserves and youth players, in the process offering relatively less attractive contracts for star players.
Inability To Conclude Deals Promptly and Lack of Silverware
Again, the burden of signing players is not entirely on Wenger, but at Arsenal the manager's decision is final and binding.
The board doesn't force him to spend, but instead states the manager has cash at his disposal and it's up to the manager to spend it or not.
Wenger, in his typical way, signs unknown players for bargain prices after tediously protracted summers of intense negotiations.
Last summer's Laurent Koscielny transfer took an awful lot of time to conclude. Similarly, this summer Gervinho's transfer, which hasn't yet been announced official, has taken far too long considering it was as straightforward as you could get in football.
The most ridiculous of all in recent years was the Andrey Arshavin transfer from Zenit in January 2009.
Arsenal were defiant initially and in the end ended up paying almost what Zenit demanded at the beginning of January after drawing it out for the whole month in the most toilsome manner and agreed the deal on the deadline day.
While lack of silverware is not directly proportional to lack of spending, buying the right players at the right time does make a difference.
A defender and a centre-back at the right time would have boosted Arsenal's chances of winning silverware. They never came and looking at Arsenal's youth academy, it remains a mystery as to why Wenger didn't make those signings, as Arsenal hardly have any highly rated defenders in their ranks except Kyle Bartley and Ignasi Miquel, who both still seem to be not good enough to step up to Arsenal's first team.
As for the goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny was highly rated from the onset but, last summer, Wenger should have secured Mark Schwarzer which would have offered Szczesny a perfect platform to learn from one of the established goalkeepers and step in at the right time rather than hastening his move to the first 11.
At the end of the day, the yardstick of success is silverware, and Wenger hasn't won anything over the last six years.
The 2005 FA Cup win remains a distant memory. That reason alone is good enough to sack the manager.
The rest gives an insight into what Wenger has been doing all this while to right the wrongs and you can easily infer that he hasn't taken an awful lot of effort to alter the fortunes of the club during this period.