My Heart Wants Arsene Wenger To Stay Forever

The 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich still hurts, even though it wasn’t a surprise. Capitulations like we saw last night are pretty common with todays Arsenal – in recent seasons we’ve been totally battered at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, and who could forget the 8-1 thrashing at Old Trafford – simply no-one does collapses quite like Arsenal.

Look, I’m going to say this from the outset – I love Arsene Wenger. No-one has done as much as he has for the club I love. He has revolutionised the whole club, and you can see why the board are happy to give him a job for life. He has made Arsenal into a major player on a global scale and his attitude, approach and love for the club is second to none.

He is loved by everyone in football for what he has done, is majorly respected and ask any former player about him and they’ll praise him to the hilt. I remember when BBC did a documentary on Arsene Wenger and had Ian Wright, Martin Keown, John Hartson and Piers Morgan on the panel, discussing Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal. It’s no secret that Piers Morgan wants Arsene to leave but the passion and respect from Wrighty, Keown and even John Hartson (who was only under Arsene’s tenure for a season) was clear to see. Whenever you see Lee Dixon asked about Arsene it’s always positive and complimentary – and it’s the same for every player who’s worked under him.

But in here lies the problem. Arseblog pointed out that Arsene Wenger always talks about mental strength – we have it if we win, or we don’t have it when we lose. These kind of phrases are typical Arsene Wenger spin, deflecting any of the blame or responsibility away from the players. When we play well he will publicly praise the team, but when we play awfully he will always talk about concentration and mental strength – when most top managers will generally call a spade a spade, and tell the world the team played crap. Jose Mourinho is the typical example – he’d never take responsibility for a poor performance from his team.

Because Arsene Wenger defends his players it means that in theory, the players should respect that protection and fight for him. Unfortunately, this approach hasn’t worked in a while now. He gets the respect and love from the players (which is plain to see) but he’s not getting a response. What has happened is Arsene has created a culture of over-pampered babies who don’t fight for the cause. Instead of having a team of men, we have a team of boys.

No leaders, no strong personalities and no passion. Look at Chelsea – their whole mentality is worlds apart from ours. Their team is full of aggressive, mean and determined players who would literally fight for each other. They’re a team that fight to win and even if they were losing in a football match you’d back them to come back because they have character. Arsenal on the other hand, like you saw last night, don’t respond but collapse instead.

Every football team has a defining period in their season and ours has been over the last couple of weeks. The games against Watford, Chelsea and Bayern Munich would (and have) pretty much determine how our season would pan out. Wins against Watford and Chelsea would have put us 3 points behind the runaway leaders – but instead we are 10 points behind. Against Bayern Munich, the scoreline was 1-1 going into half time and even though we were being outplayed we could have even been 2-1 up if Xhaka or Özil had taken their chances. At that point, losing 2-1 as a worst-case scenario wouldn’t have been a disaster. But we collapsed in spectacular (and typically Arsenal-like) fashion, rendering the second leg a pointless exhibition match.

But for all Arsene’s faults, he is still a top, top manager. He consistently gets Arsenal into the Top 4, and into the last 16 of the Champions League. So it’s clear he is by no means an awful manager, and if you’re honest with yourself it’s a pretty amazing achievement. And that’s what makes this a whole lot harder.

We haven’t won the league in 13 years and apart from the 2008 season never really looked like winning it since. Our season always ends around February / March time and that’s the frustration. Despite reaching a phenomenal level of consistency (something you will never see in football again) it’s reaching the next level which is the problem. A couple of seasons ago when Arsenal were winning FA Cups and bringing in players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, I would have said Arsene could have been the man to take us back to the glory days, but today I just don’t believe any more.

There comes a time when enough is enough. I completely believe that Arsenal fans have been extremely patient. Until a couple of seasons ago, my stance was 100% behind Arsene Wenger – even when about 10 years ago a lot of fans pointed out the same points I’m making today. What I’m saying isn’t new, they’re facts which have been played out for years now. But my faith in Arsene was down to wanting to give the man who has given Arsenal so much, a chance to win things once we found our financial feet as it were.

In modern football, Arsenal’s situation is unique. No other club (apart from Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson) is so reliant on one man. Football has changed and we have Directors of Football, men appointed specifically to deal with transfers – while Arsene Wenger does the job of 10 men. We can’t just “sack” Arsene Wenger without having a contingency plan in place. The bottom line is Arsene Wenger has “delivered” in relative terms (consistent Champions League football, etc.) for the board and they’re happy to go with the status quo. And that in itself isn’t a crime and look, I’m not naïve – football is a business and Arsene Wenger in that sense is the perfect man for the job.

The frustrating thing for me is while I want Arsene Wenger to leave; I still love the man, the manager, the icon for Arsenal Football Club, and in a way, would love him to stay.

If you ask me who is to blame for the malaise then I wouldn’t be putting Arsene at the top of the list. But the problem is with the whole setup at the club and how it’s run – and in a way Arsene is the fall guy. The problem is if Arsene Wenger stays at the club then nothing will change. The players need to take responsibility for under-performing and pretty much cruising through games at vital parts of the season. The board and our owner, Silent Stan, has never even talked publicly about the club and I don’t know an Arsenal fan who actually knows what his vision for the club is? Or if he even has one? The board are stale and are happy to take no responsibility for the club at all. So Arsene leaving would mean they would have to actually do some work and have the clubs best interests at heart.

For me, if Arsene could stay forever I’d be happy. Unfortunately it’s everyone else around him that’s let him down. Arsene Wenger gets slated left, right and centre, while who criticises the players? Who criticises the board? Who criticises the owners? Yes, Arsene has his limitations but he’s not the main reason we’re limited to a Top 4 finish and last 16 of the Champions League – every man needs a support network and the big problem is he has too much responsibility and has been let down by the players and the board. Unfortunately though, when things aren’t going right then sadly, the man in the firing line is Arsene Wenger.

In a perfect world, Arsene would leave with a trophy in his hands and leave on a high but barring an FA Cup triumph; it’s not looking likely.

Reports today suggest that Arsene Wenger won’t make a decision on his future (he has a 2 year contract on the table) until the end of the season. That to me says three things. The first is that he is seriously thinking of staying on – because if he was thinking of leaving then now would be a good time to announce it because it would get all of the fans onside and he would get complete support from the Arsenal faithful right until the last game of the season, whatever happened. He deserves goodwill and he would get it. Another thing it tells me is that the board have no idea on what to do once Arsene does want to leave. With a contract offer on the table and no decision to be made until the summer, it leaves no time to find a replacement if Arsene did actually turn it down. And the third point is that Arsene Wenger might have already decided to stay on – but officially announcing that a decision won’t be made until the end of the season defuses any animosity and anger towards the boss. Imagine if Arsenal came out now and said Arsene Wenger was staying on? The majority of Arsenal fans would end up losing their shit.

Here Is A List Of Every Single Problem With Arsenal Football Club

1. No Leaders

We have a squad of talented footballers, but not enough strong personalities. Apart from Alexis Sanchez and Francis Coquelin, no-one else cares enough to fight or win. The rest of the team are happy to play pretty football and pick up their huge pay packets.

2. The Manager

Arsene Wenger is a great man, who has done huge amounts for the club, but his ideas are old and stale. He doesn’t do tactics and it’s well know that he only concentrates on attacking football. Unfortunately that approach just doesn’t hack it these days. Against better managers (in the Premier League and in Europe), he gets found out too easily.

3. Arsene Wenger Makes The Same Mistakes Every Year

Whether it’s not strengthening in key areas (how many years did it take to sign a top central defender? Or bring in a world-class goalkeeper?) or naive tactics away from home against the better teams, Arsene Wenger has a blind spot for seeing the obvious. You’d think one win at Stamford Bridge in 15 years would flag up a concern with him but clearly not.

4. Aaron Ramsey

He had one good season and after that has been poor. In all fairness he is being played out of position (see how good he was for Wales in the Euros?) but he just doesn’t fit in at Arsenal, unless we sell the likes of Özil and Cazorla.

5. Arsene Wenger Has Complete Control of The Club

One of the major problems Arsenal has is that even if they wanted to get rid of Arsene Wenger, they couldn’t. He pretty much controls the whole club. From transfer dealings to daily training, and from club policies to how the club is run, he is the all-ruling master. You would need to appoint 4/5 people just to replace Arsene Wenger, and with our board they wouldn’t even know where to start.

6. The Board Have No Idea

Essentially Arsene Wenger’s fantastic consistency to get Arsenal into the Champions League season after season is a board members dream. A steady, regular income year on year is what the shareholders want. We’ve never dipped below 4th place in the league, which means that we represent excellent value for money and that’s why Silent Stan invested in the club. Why would the board jeopardise that by appointing someone else and most likely, end up finishing lower than 4th? If it was up to the board (and it is to a big extent), they would have Arsene Wenger in charge for the rest of the mans life, and beyond (if they could they would stuff Arsene and place him permanently on the sidelines at The Emirates).

7. The Owners Simply Don’t Care

The owners don’t care about the fans. Their interests are how much money the club makes and how that can be maximised. We have the highest ticket prices in the league yet don’t show the success on the pitch to reflect the amount of money the fans are spending. We’re pretty much spending Lobster and Caviar money and getting Steak and Chips. Steak and Chips is lovely and tasty but there’s always something better. And aside from that, their second main interest is to have as little hassle as possible – and keeping Arsene Wenger on makes that a certainty. Just keep running the club into 4th and keep the money rolling in? That’ll do nicely thank you very much!

8. We Have The Wrong Mentality At The Club

Arsenal have all the tools in place to fight for the major titles (I’m talking about the Premier League and Champions League) but the mentality of the club, which all comes from the manager, is all wrong. Arsene is highly respected by pretty much every single player he has managed since he arrived in 1996 and that’s because he will defend his players to the hilt. And while that is a commendable attribute to have, it also means no player is actually accountable for their performances. How many times have we seen out of form players still selected week after week?

Arsene’s belief in his players is admirable but again it just means that as a club we don’t push on to the next level. The best managers aren’t afraid to make tough decisions when it comes to team selections whereas Arsene is. How many times have we seen a team go onto the pitch and then put in a limp performance? Stamford Bridge comes to mind every season.

The mentality at the club is try your best, and if you don’t succeed don’t worry. Look at clubs like Chelsea and they are like rabid dogs – winning is everything and nothing else is acceptable – to the extent where if they’re not winning then they will literally fight on the pitch. A club like Chelsea has the mentality of winners, full of leaders and players who will fight for each other. Whereas our players are great when things are going well but as soon as there’s a slight sign of difficulty they wilt and give up. Do you think a manager like Diego Simeone would stand for the performances against Watford and Chelsea?

9. There’s No One Pushing The Club Forward

With Arsene at the helm we’re just stale and stagnant. There’s no drive or willingness to reach the next level. We dither over transfers and persist with players like Ramsey and Walcott who are clearly not good enough. There’s no accountability with Arsene and he’d soon rather get on and father his players then give them a bollocking when it’s required. He’s too soft and no longer got the determination to push Arsenal to winning major titles. Where is the desire and determination to improve? Where’s the winning mentality amongst the squad?

10. The Team Is Always Too Nice

On the pitch we’re a joke. On a good day we can terrorise any team with our passing, movement and possession but the problem is when things aren’t going well. Our heads go down and in games where the opponents are too physical we literally lie down and die. Where’s the fight?

When you think of the old Manchester United teams, this current Chelsea team and The Invincibles, if someone took out one of their players we’d have about 6/7 teammates coming in and kicking off. These days one of our players gets poleaxed and no-one cares. Teams don’t bully us, Arsenal let teams bully them. Where’s the aggression and fight? Do you think Patrick Vieira, Theirry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp would let players push tem around? Would they f*ck!

Our team is full of pushovers. One bad foul and instead of fighting back they moan and bitch to the referee. If Vieira got kicked he’d get back up and then get the f*cker back with the next challenge and let them know who’s boss. None of this feeling sorry for yourself crap.

It’s Time For Arsene Wenger To F*cking Leave!!

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have always been one of the few AKB’s left amongst the Arsenal supporters. I believed that he was the right man to take us forward, especially after years of financial difficulties – but now enough is enough.

I tweeted before the game that there are only 3 things certain in life: Death, Taxes and Arsenal losing at Stamford Bridge. And I even said to myself I wasn’t going to watch the match as I knew exactly what was going to happen. But as most of you know supporting Arsenal is a religion and is something you can’t just turn off and on with a flick of a switch. So even knowing what would unfold this afternoon, I watched the game.

The game ended 3-1 and that’s not a surprise. Arsenal were second best all afternoon and again, that wasn’t a surprise. I hate playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge because mentally we just bottle it. We approach the game with no fight, no determination and most importantly no belief. Why is that? It all stems from the manager.

I don’t know why Arsene Wenger keeps making the same mistakes. The only time we won there was when they had the incompetent Andre Villas Boas in charge and Van Persie scored a hat trick to give us a 5-3 win. Apart from that, the only win I remember was in The Invincible season when Vieira and Edu scored in a 2-1 victory.

Don’t get me wrong, the refereeing once again was a complete joke. The opening goal was a clear foul – Alonso pretty much pole axed Bellerin before heading into the net. In any other game thats a foul but there seems to be a trend of awful refereeing decision going against us recently.

After that we couldn’t really get into the game but despite this, we still make some decent chances to nick an equaliser. Gabriel had the best chance but his header went straight down the keepers throat.

But as it stands, after the defeat against Watford midweek, we are now 12 points behind. Once again, in early February we’re well out of the title race.

So now our only chance of silverware this season is either in the Champions League (are you having a laugh?) or the FA Cup. Ah well, at least we can try and finish 4th again.

Look, I love Arsene Wenger. That man has done more than any other to grow and build a football club that is self-sustainable and has one of the best stadiums not just in England but the world. And while the man has given us unprecedented success – he ideas and football beliefs are just outdated.

The best defence usually wins the league yet that’s an area he doesn’t believe he needs to teach. He inherited a side with one of the best defences the country has ever seen and did recruit well, signing Lauren, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, as well as bringing Ashley Cole through the ranks. But after that it’s been nothing but stop gaps. And Arsene was fortunate with The Invincibles defence, as Ashley Cole off to Crystal Palace before Silvinho had his passport problems, Lauren was originally a right sided midfielder and Kolo Toure was groomed into the roll by Martin Keown.

After 13 years without even looking like we could sustain a genuine title challenge, enough is simply enough.

What Is Arsenal’s Strongest Starting Eleven?

There has been some debate about who should be in Arsenal’s starting eleven if everyone is fit – especially as Olivier Giroud is in such fine form. But as the statistics show, his goals have come late in games and for me, he is best used as Arsenal’s super-sub.

Earlier on in the season, Arsenal were flying. Mesut Özil was pulling all the strings with Alexander Iwobi and Theo Walcott flying either side of him, and with Alexis Sanchez as the main man. The amount of pace those three possess is scary enough and with Özil finding them with pass after pass, opposing teams couldn’t handle us. They used to say that with Dennis Bergkamp, you could literally run into the space and the Master Dutchman would find you. With Mesut Özil, it’s a similar story.

Another fantastic facet with the front line of Alexis, Iwobi, Walcott and Özil (apart from the devastating runs from deep) was that Sanchez was somewhat of an assist-master himself. As well as being direct, hungry and leading the line with passion, he had that ability to drop deep and pick out a deep lying runner with a killer pass. This season he’s scored 20 goals and given 10 assists, but unfortunately those have somewhat dried up with Giroud as the main striker.

For me, excluding Santi Cazorla who is out with a long term injury, this is the best possible side we have when everyone is fit:

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But who do you think should be in Arsenal’s best starting eleven? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!