I don’t usually read other Arsenal blogs or websites, partly because I try to keep my views on Arsenal objective (what’s the point of rehashing the same opinions as someone else?) and partly because there’s so many sites now I wouldn’t have the time to read them.
Anyway, I did take a quick look at the Arsenal links on NewsNow, and I was pretty shocked at the vast majority of Arsenal fans who seem to want Arsene Wenger out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as disappointed as the next supporter, and I was at that disgrace of a game at the DW Stadium, but despite all that I firmly believe Arsene Wenger is the man to take Arsenal forwards.
First of all, as regular readers will know I am definitely not one of the “Arsene knows” brigade. I know Arsene Wenger has his faults; he can be extremely stubborn and some of the decisions he makes are baffling. But Arsene’s positive attributes far outweigh the negatives.
There is no co-incidence that the building of the Emirates has coincided with the clubs most baron spell in terms of honours. Yes, we’ve had 5 seasons now without any silverware but in 3 of those seasons, a bit more luck and we would have won two Premier League titles and a Champions League.
You might baulk at that suggestion but we reached the Champions League Final in 2006. Despite Lehmann losing the plot we still managed to go ahead, and if Almunia wasn’t so sh*t then we could have amazingly hung on. We all know about the title challenge of 2008 when Eduardo suffered that horrific injury, and even this season, with a fit again Robin Van Persie we would be top of the league right now. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.
Now people will point the finger at Arsene Wenger for all of those “unlucky” periods. They will say it’s his fault for having a rubbish backup goalkeeper, he should of had better cover for Eduardo back in 2008 and that this season, he should have brought in players in January, and that the squad was not strong enough.
But where do you draw the line?
One thing I find surprising when it comes to Arsenal blogs and websites is the ridiculous amount of transfer speculation going around during the year. We’re somehow linked to a million players and I can’t believe some Arsenal fans haven’t figured out that we only buy 2/3 players per summer and to ignore all the transfer rubbish from the newspapers.
I actually agree with Arsene Wenger when he says you can’t just bring in players when some get injured. What would you do if we brought in a striker and then Bendtner and Van Persie come back from fitness? You can say that for the rest of the team as well. You need to think long term.
People will go on about the 5 seasons without winning anything but football is about ifs and buts. You can’t legislate for certain things. What would Manchester United do if Rooney suffered his injury earlier on in the season? The same goes for Drogba or Lampard at Chelsea. Alex Ferguson clearly doesn’t have a backup plan if Rooney was missing for any real length of time yet he might win the Premier League this year. Yet if he pulls it off, I don’t think any Manchester United fan would be calling for him to be sacked.
As I’ve mentioned, Arsene has been hampered by the new stadium. Once we are back on track financially Wenger will spend, there’s no doubt about that. He has said many times that he won’t put the club in financial ruin and surely that’s a sensible thing to do. And the funny thing is that he is the one that has his head on the chopping block. If Arsene had the money of course he would spend it!
People forget the first few seasons – Wenger wasn’t afraid of spending big back then. He fact is he can’t right now. I don’t understand Arsenal fans who are calling for his head – a change of manager isn’t going to suddenly make a massive transfer budget appear from nowhere.
That said, I do believe that Arsene does need to change his priorities.
Arsenal should take the Carling Cup and FA cup more seriously. The Invincibles are all but gone and with that so has the winning mentality. We’ve seen against Wigan that no-one in the current squad (apart from Sol Campbell) knows how to win. That’s not a slight on the players, but it’s a fact, they haven’t won anything before at Arsenal. Arsenal need to instil that winning mentality by winning something, it doesn’t matter what. Arsene should see the domestic cups as a priority because they are trophies and Arsenal are more than capable of winning them.
And I don’t think Arsenal fans would complain about a trip to Wembley and something in the trophy cabinet.
Success breeds success and Wenger needs to realise this. And a good cup run would add to the “mental strength” that Arsene keeps referring to. Domestic cup competitions were great because you gain that “siege mentality”. You’re playing one-off games and need to win at any cost. That’s why Manchester United and Chelsea are so good at it (and were finalists this year if I’m not mistaken?). And it’s also the reason why they don’t lose stupid leads like we did against Wigan. The Carling and FA Cups would give our young squad the mentality to close out games because that’s the nature of the competition.
The Champions League doesn’t do that. It’s a glitzy Broadway show and a lottery to win. I personally wouldn’t mind sacrificing Europe for a successful domestic campaign.
Can Arsene Wenger change? I guess we will see this summer.