Arsene Wenger is a man who divides Arsenal fans like no other set of supporters in the country. The majority of Manchester United fans despised Louis van Gaal, the majority of Chelsea fans idolised Jose Mourinho and most Everton fans wanted Roberto Martinez out at the end. So why does Arsene Wenger split the Arsenal faithful?
You have two sets of fans, the AKB and WOB. The Arsene Knows Brigade and Wenger Out Brigade. This division has been around for the last 5/6 seasons now and I’ll admit, I’ve been in both camps before.
Until last season, I was firmly in the AKB camp. Arsene Wenger is a genius, brought unparalleled success to the club, giving us The Invincibles and giving the fans some of the best football ever to grace a football pitch. Between 2001-2005 saw simply phenomenal football which we will probably never see again – dubbed “Wengerball”, it was pyrotechnic football which still gives me shivers down my spine. There was nothing like seeing Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires et al singing from the same hymn sheet.
Added to this, he moved the club forward, had the vision to spearhead the move to Ashburton Grove and give us financial stability and the ability to compete with the biggest clubs not just in the country, but in Europe.
But unfortunately there is only so long you can defend a man who has clear flaws and is ridiculously stubborn.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that he has performed miracles for the club, but since 2014 we have never looked like winning the Premier League. Most will argue, quite rightly, that there is no divine right to win the league and until 2012 I’d say, finishing in the Top Four was a truly outstanding achievement. But since we’ve become financially stable and able to compete with the biggest clubs in the transfer market, the excuses are wearing a little thin.
After the back-to-back FA Cup wins, I was more than satisfied. We’ve had to endure a few baron seasons but this was now our time. Last season was supposed to be the one where we really competed for the Premier League title – but once again it didn’t happen and we bottled it before February.
Now you cannot blame the fans for feeling cheated or disappointed, even though we ended up finishing second in the table. Everything from Arsenal from the players and the coaching staff told us that everyone at the club believed they could do it.
We’re still making the same defensive mistakes (Arsene Wenger doesn’t believe in practicing defending) which ultimately cost us games. How many times have we had 70% possession, 20 shots on goal but end up losing or drawing to a side who have had 2 shots all game? After the 10,000th time of happening you just can’t blame bad luck.
Arsene still refuses to go out and splash big money on a world class striker, something every man and his dog knows Arsenal need to compete with the very best in the league and in Europe – but he never does it. He still prefers to sign relatively unknown players (Elneny, Xhaka, Gabriel, etc.) to prove to the world he can unearth a gem of Thierry Henry proportions.
Tactically Arsene isn’t up to date and is well behind pioneers such as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Those two have their contrasting styles clearly but they are both winners.
Arsene has complete control of all affairs at Arsenal which is good in one way but also detrimental in another – surely he can’t be on the cusp of tactical knowledge if he has to deal with a million other things at the club?
He is a man who deserves every Arsenal fans respect, but it doesn’t mean he is the best manager for the club. His ideas are unfortunately out-dated and you can see by the protests at The Emirates that they fans who pay their hard earned money to watch Arsenal week in week out have had enough. The Top Four is a very good achievement, no doubt, but it’s not what the fans want.
For the last couple of seasons there has been talk about when will Arsene leave but for me, he deserves one last season to see what he can do.