Arsenal fans have suffered a lot over the last 9 seasons with the highest ticket prices in the country, and the lack of trophies arriving at The Emirates. At the end of last season, it seemed as if we had turned the corner somewhat, with the FA Cup win in May. Since then however, any credit Arsene Wenger thought he had has quickly run out.
The summer was one of optimism for Arsenal fans, with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez who has hit the ground running and has quickly become our best player by a country mile. Despite playing in the World Cup he seems still seems to have the best work rate and his effort and desire are off the charts. His Arsenal teammates would do well to learn from his example, and players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are.
In early December things looked bleak – we were 6th place in the Premier League, 13 points off Chelsea who have pretty much got the title sewn up with 6 months of the season remaining. On the flip side however, we were only 2 points off a Top Four position.
But herein lies the problem – teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton – teams who you would expect to be fighting for a Top Four place – are all under performing, some in spectacular fashion. Yet we haven’t taken advantage of this and have been struggling badly ourselves.
Just like in previous seasons where teams around us have played poorly, we’ve not managed to get any real consistency and put in a real challenge for the title.
But in a strange way, that’s probably the reason why Arsene Wenger is the right man for Arsenal.
It’s a fact which is rehashed time and time again but it is true – Arsenal have been in the Top Four and been in the Champions League for the last 17 seasons. The likelihood is that we will be in the Top Four again this season while teams like Liverpool and Manchester United may not be. To achieve that level of consistency (even though it’s not the kind we would like) is still a massively impressive achievement.
How many times have we seen it before? Liverpool almost won the Premier League last season and where are they now? Manchester United won the league and then brought in a new manager and it all fell apart. Would you really like to get rid of Wenger, do well one season and then fade into the abyss the season after?
Look at the man who has been touted as Arsene’s replacement Jurgen Klopp. Borussia Dortmund now sit at the bottom of the Bundesliga. Now you will point to the fact that he has lost his best players in Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski in the last few summers but does that not sound familiar? Arsene Wenger has lost Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Thomas Vermaelen, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and a host of other players yet managed to keep us in the Top Four – and added an FA Cup triumph last season.
Jurgen Klopp is one of the best managers in world football and look how he is struggling. Arsene Wenger has lost arguably more players yet still maintained that level of consistency.
While I would be the first to admit that Arsene Wenger has his failings, which manager doesn’t? No manager is perfect and while it is perfectly understandable that you want more (I am the same) and want more trophies, sometimes circumstances conspire against you. Sure, the Top Four might not be what Arsenal fans want but considering everything Arsene Wenger has had to endure over the last 10 seasons, you cannot deny that any other manager in world football probably wold have fallen short of consistent Top Four finishes.
In a way, Arsene Wenger has been consistently over-achieving and has made a rod for his own back.
Arsenal are now looking more financially stable and over the next few seasons, I have no doubt that Arsene Wenger will assemble a real team capable of mounting a real challenge for the Premier League title.
He has managed to get Arsenal to this position, so he deserves the chance (within his current contract) to prove that the decisions he has made were right and given the opportunity to build a squad that he thinks can win the Premier League.
Since the disappointing defeat to Stoke City away (which I maintain Arsene could not be acceptable for – Mertesacker and Chambers were to blame there) we’ve won in style against Galatasaray and Newcastle United. And before that we beat Southampton, Borussia Dortmund and West Bromwich Albion.
That’s 5 wins in our last 6 games, and if Chambers didn’t get sent off I highly doubt we would have lost against Stoke City.
They say the grass is greener on the other side, but in this case the other side is a garden full of rhizomorphs. Basically not good.
Arsene Wenger is a manager who should be revered and appreciated. He has done magical things for this football club.