Arsenal FC: Why Arsene Wenger Must Do a Sir Alex Ferguson to Restore Reputation

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IOctober 9, 2011

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 13:  Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United consoles Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on April 13, 2008 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

There has been a barrage of criticism coming the way of Arsenal and their respected manager Arsene Wenger, whose decisions in the summer transfer market have been widely criticized. The Gunners who have been accustomed to Champions League football in the last decade are facing the realistic prospect of them not being a part of it in the next season if they cannot turn things around this season.

Arsenal have had a terrible start to this season with them suffering very disappointing defeats to Manchester United, Liverpool, Blackburn and Tottenham and have accumulated a meager seven points from as many games. Much of it has been put down to departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the summer and that coupled with the unfortunate timing of Jack Wilshere's long term injury has meant that the Gunners have lost fluidity and creativity in midfield, which has been one of their greatest strengths under Arsene Wenger.

Wenger has achieved plenty of success with Arsenal in the past but this current frustrating run of six years without a trophy has meant that he has come under increasing criticism from supporters. He is still widely respected among Arsenal fans but there is a section of supporters who believe that he has taken Arsenal as far as he can and must depart the club for the team to progress in the future. 

According to the popular blog Le Grove, there is a section of supporters who have a banner to convey their message with regard to Arsene Wenger's situation at the club. It says:

"Arsene, Thanks for the memories but it is time to say goodbye."

There are a number of Gooners all over the world and it is fair to state that they do have differences over whether or not Wenger is the best man for the club at this time. It is not easy to replace a manager like Wenger who has brought a lot of stability to the club. In case Wenger does leave, they would need a high quality manager to take the club back to the top. Many names of top managers are discussed regularly on twitter by Arsenal fans.

There have also been reports of Arsene Wenger being a possible candidate for the manager of the England national team. Furthermore, the Mirror carries an article on how Wenger will be involved in deciding who succeeds him at Arsenal. However, for the moment, the Frenchman will be at the helm and he does have the support of Stan Kroenke, who conveyed that in a recent interview published on the Telegraph.

Though he has not inspired much confidence in his demeanor in the last few weeks, Wenger is capable of building teams that can win trophies and is a quality manager when it comes to grooming young players for the future. The Frenchman is a manager who has a vision for the club and he envisages many young players brought through the club's style from a very young age playing and winning trophies together.

However, the reality is that some of your best players might depart the club before fulfilling their potential because they might be attracted by the big wages offered by other clubs, which was something that certainly played a role in Samir Nasri's departure. These are turbulent times for the Gunners who could genuinely be overtaken by their arch-rivals Tottenham this season. This would be a huge disappointment.

There is not much confidence within the Arsenal supporters. Robin van Persie not extending his contract immediately is also making the news though the Dutchman has played it down and wants to concentrate on recovering from their setbacks this season. It is also very probable that Van Persie could leave the club if Wenger departs the club because they do share a close relationship and the Dutchman does have belief in the Frenchman.

If the Frenchman does leave the club, it will undoubtedly be difficult to replace him but it is not impossible as some supporters have stated considering that there are some very capable managers in the world like Pep Guardiola, Laurent Blanc and even Carlo Ancelotti, who is available after being sacked unceremoniously by Chelsea at the end of the previous season.

Managers do come under a lot of pressure but it is not often that you can find Skybet manager specials on whether Wenger can last the season or not with odds of 1/5 to last the season and 3/1 to leave before the end of the season. It was not long ago that sacking Wenger was not even given a thought but it has been difficult for the Frenchman in the last few months.

However, Wenger can take inspiration from his old rival Sir Alex Ferguson, who has also faced times when his stewardship has been questioned by many. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea became a dominant force in English football and Manchester United did not seem to have the quality required to win titles on a consistent basis. After a disastrous Champions League campaign in the 2005-06 season, many questioned whether Ferguson had lost his way as the manager.

Great managers are not only defined by trophies and success, but also by how a manager reacts to adversity. Sir Alex Ferguson not only kept faith in the team but also brought in some quality players who helped the team attain sustained success and win many trophies in that time. It is important that Ferguson had belief in his own ability which is something shared by Wenger, who is an optimistic manager.

Can Wenger turn things around for Arsenal?
Can Wenger turn things around for Arsenal?Julian Finney/Getty Images

It is still early to write off Wenger who still has immense belief in his team and could still prove his critics wrong.  He has pulled off some excellent transfers in the past and though his transfer dealings in the last two years have been questioned, he could still unearth two or three players who could help the Gunners in the future.

Also, it has to be stated that this Arsenal team has some very prodigiously talented youngsters. Should Wenger be able to keep them together until they reach their best, they could hold the key to Arsenal having sustained success in the near future. The Gunners have been very unfortunate with injuries. It should also be noted that they do have a good first team when their best players are fit. The problems for Arsenal lie in the depth of the team and with the addition of two or three quality players and the development of some talented younger players, they could be moulded into a strong unit by Wenger.


Current First Team 

Wojciech Szczesny; Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna; Alex Song, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere; Gervinho, Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie

Substitutes and Back-Up Players

Lukasz Fabianski; Andre Santos, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou; Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, Yossi Benayoun (on loan); Andrei Arshavin, Park Chu-Young, Marouane Chamakh

Youngsters with Potential

Emmanuel Frimpong, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell, Ryo Miyaichi, Henri Lansbury, Ignasi Miquel

Players Mentioned Who Are 25 or Below

Szczesny, Gibbs, Djourou, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Miquel, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Diaby, Ryo, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lansbury, Campbell, Frimpong, Coquelin

After taking a look at that team mentioned above, it is clear that there are many quality players in the team who could be important for the club in the long term. It is also evident that the Gunners might have to bring in two to three quality players to challenge for the title in the near future. Despite the need to bring in quality players, however, they do have a set of players who can form a strong team in the future.

Though the current situation is very pessimistic for the Gunners, there is reason for some optimism for the future and Wenger does hold the key to that. The Frenchman has strong determination to create a title-winning team at Arsenal comprised of talented youngsters and he will have to take the criticism in his stride. 

Ferguson bounced back from adversity with style and despite the two managers having different personalities, there is still no reason why Wenger cannot recover from this situation and restore his reputation as one of the greatest managers in the world.


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