Arsene Wenger plays by no man’s rules. Yesterday, he dropped a press conference with an all too familiar tone.
It starts quite well…
“First of all, we are not behind Spurs yet,”
“Anyway, Tottenham have been 18 years behind us and they’ve survived. So let’s be realistic.”
Ok Arsene, I’m with you. Spurs are within spitting distance and you’ve never finished behind them. This, is a fair shout. However, I think the issue of Spurs reversing St Totteringham’s day (potentially), is that it was in your hands. This season is on you. Your obstinence. Your arrogance. You let Spurs in.
Anyway, we can live with those comments… it’s when we land on Leicester things start getting a bit embarrassing.
“At the moment it’s difficult for us to accept that we are not completely there [at the top]. Leicester have lost three games, it is exceptional. They lost two games against us, and then you have Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, all of whom you’d think they would lose more than one game against. Barcelona has lost four games this season, Real Madrid five and Leicester three.”
Now we’re into justification mode. We’re comparing Leicester to Madrid and Barcelona whilst indicating it’s a bit of a fluke. What Wenger is also doing here is blaming others, rather than looking introspectively at how the club landed in a situation where two smaller, less stable, weaker funded clubs are above him (one club that moved stadium / spent the most time at the bottom of the league last year).
Wenger then moves into transfers and players…
“If you look at the top three teams, you will see they have not changed their team a lot. We have to strengthen our squad but it’s not obvious to find the players despite the money the English clubs will have. We are already working but we have to find the players and that is not easy.”
How can the manager be saying things like this after another season of failure? Wenger didn’t add a single outfield player last summer and we paid the price this season. The players knew they weren’t good enough to win the league, the fans did and so did the pundits. Too many holes in the squad, too many hopes laid on prospects and iffy fitness. A real lack of winning class.
He constantly references this notion that it’s not about players without clarifying what it is. If it’s not players, is it about better tactics? Show me them. Maybe it’s about a better work ethic? Maybe it’s about introducing a continental pressing approach? Maybe it’s about better on pitch management? Thing is, it’s all of the above, but those elements never change. So what he’s saying is it’s not about players… it’s about flogging the same horse over and over and hoping it’ll respond.
Wenger should know about the squad issues. He should have a plan in place. He should be coming at us right now saying…
‘Guys, we fucked up this season. Certain players didn’t pull their weight, we had some injuries that we should have planned for and the mentality wasn’t right. But don’t worry. Myself and the backroom team have a plan that’s going to blow your mind. There’s going to be a major shake-up of Arsenal because losing out to Leicester, with all due respect to their achievements, is not acceptable.’
Wenger goes on… this time he’s in full blow patronisation mode.
“You cannot dismiss that the players are young: Alex Iwobi is 19, Mohamed Elneny is 23, Francis Coquelin 24, and they will be stronger next year but you need to keep a core of players and strengthen where we can. The team is going the right way.”
Again, who the hell is dismissing these players? Those are three of the most impressive players at the club. They’re starting 11 every time at the moment. No one is dismissing them. We’re wondering why players like Theo, Gibbs, Chambo and Ramsey are getting a free ride? We’re wondering what you’re going to do with them.
When you say the team is going in the right direction, what does he mean? We have about 7 players you could sell and not notice this summer. We have senior players heading into the injury zone of twighlight. We have no vision for our style. We don’t press. We’re not tactically flexible. On pitch leadership is missing. That’s what the fans are looking at. I appreciate Wenger doesn’t want to hammer his players in public, but the problem is he doesn’t hammer them in private… because there’s no doubt we’ll still have a massive chunk of undeserving players here next season!
‘Strengthen where we can’
Again, what is this line? He sounds like me when I’m doing flat up on a budget. His language is non-committal. It’s almost amateurish. He should be strengthening in preidentified positions and there should be no doubt.
Then, to cap it all off… Wenger gets lured into the Brexit conversation.
“Will the European players be considered as they are now? For example, if England votes for Brexit, will the French be considered like South Americans players [who require work permits]? That would completely re-question the influx of foreign players.
“Will England go that way? If they did, that would leave the Premier League with some questions.”
I mean, come on Arsene. Just pass on the question. If it’s not European Championships killing our chances of players, it’s now the Brexit, which doesn’t happen until June 23rd… so here’s an idea, do y0ur business early?
Overall, it’s just really disappointing. Wenger is accountable to no one and his press conference behaviour shows that. He should be out there, talking to the fans, telling them things are going to be OK because he’s been working with Steve Bould and the crew since Feb on a new vision for Arsenal that involves all the the above mentioned issues. He should be bragging about how he’s changed his scouting set up and they’re refocusing their energies on new markets. He should be getting his ducks in line.
Instead, he’s just made a load of excuses, he’s set the table of failure early and he’s patronising the fans with his typical ‘let them eat cake’ attitude.
He’s on the notice period coast… zero fucks given as he rakes in retirement funds.
Also, worth mentioning that Mikel Arteta is moving to Manchester City with work with his ex-team mate Pep. I find this f*cking staggering. My whole thing about Mikel was, if he’s not playing, we must have him in mind for a coaching role… you know, because he was raised on Cruyff management stylings. So we wasted £65k a week, give him the keys to the club for a season… then let him go to a rival. This is just like Patrick Vieira again. And look, you can say I don’t know how good he is at coaching… but then I’d say that one of the best managers in the world just took a punt on him.
Staggering the opportunity the club has let pass it by over the last 3 years.
I really can’t tell you how upsetting this how Arsene situation is. We’re letting everyone modernize while we just sit here and shoot for the hope button. It’s so sad. I wish he’d just pack it in right now.
3 more years of this shite… unless, it gets so bad he has to go.
Have a good day, see you tomorrow!