Late last night, I received an e-mail from the shareholders at AKB Ltd… they’ve announced that due to falling membership and the current points crisis, they will be going into administration with immediate effect. They say that the only way to rescue the failing group is if Arsene can motivate the work force to increase productivity and if he spends some of the cash reserves on a decent centre back and a decent centre midfielder… however, most accept that this is a incredibly tough task.
I’m kidding guys… AKB’s will never go away (‘Your a cunt – Wenger is God, why don’t you post my comment Hitler?’), but Wenger is starting to lose support from his blog disciples, his comment posters, the fans in the stands and more importantly it seems… his players.
Seriously, that is how I see it…
Wenger said in a recent interview that at points in the season he wasn’t sure if any of his players were listening to him… I take it he didn’t mean after 11 games? If the quality of the players isn’t in doubt… the spirit isn’t in doubt… then would it be fair to say that the players just aren’t interested in what Wenger has to say anymore?
I was out with a friend of mine on Friday and before we went out we were watching Sky Sports news… who insisted playing the Spud goals on a continuous loop… my mate said to me that I shouldn’t worry about it because we’d stuff Stoke. I said that Arsene is the only manager in the Prem who doesn’t study the opposition and that I would bet a small fortune that Arsenal didn’t practice defending against long throws all week.
2 goals later… both from long throws… it seems I was probably correct.
Wenger did have this to say on the issue,
‘We had a plan to deal with the throw-ins; we had worked on it. I am not sure the first one was touched by anybody. They fly into the box and it is difficult with 20 people in there. That sort of thing is not our greatest strength. We were punished and I believe we were unlucky as well.’
I’d say that as well if I’d been exposed by two Delap throws.
More importantly, what is ‘not our greatest strength’? Defending long throws or defending high balls into the box? If it is high balls… well, you knew about that in June and you failed to address it.
I think what is tough for the coach is that he didn’t need to analyse the opposition back in the day. It was an arrogant attitude way back when… but it was ok… we had monster defenders, monster midfielders and sublime attacking players in abundance. This team doesn’t have any of those ingredients… he just has individual jigsaw pieces that slot into his short passing system… except this year, the jigsaw has lost a few pieces and the replacement parts are a bit misshapen.
So what does a great manager do with players that have deficiencies? He gives them roles… he maximises their abilities by leading them and that is something Wenger isn’t giving these boys. Before Chelsea played Stoke, they practiced defending long throws all week… that is preparation, that is skilled management and that is why the Chavs will finish above us this year. They have great players and they have a manager that respects the opposition.
What have Arsenal got?
We’ve got a manager who NOW (He didn’t used to) rewards averageness, encourages selfish behaviour and accepts poor performances.
How are players supposed to thrive in an environment like that? How do you motivate yourself to break into a team that starts Diaby and Denilson out wide? How do you motivate yourself to play in a team where the manager puts Song at centre back rather than a Swiss international who actually plays there? How do you motivate yourself after winning the Euros, losing two of your best mates to ‘bigger’ clubs and finding out your manager is putting his faith in a light weight Brazilian who has never shown any real potential… jeez, I am going to stop because I could go on like that forever.
Let’s not pin this all on the manager though. Who the hell do these players think they are? If someone puts their career on the line to give you a chance… you repay that faith – you work your bollocks off and you become the best player you can. You don’t rugby tackle the goal keeper… you don’t fail to track players and you don’t bottle out of challenges. Where has the spirit of the invincibles gone? Where has the never say die attitude gone? Do any of the players in this current crop bleed red and white like Thierry, Bobby and Paddy did?
So, what happens now? We’re not out of it by a long shot, but something has to change doesn’t it? I’m not willing to accept anymore ‘tiredness’, ‘naivety’ or ‘we had 75% possession’ excuses… Come out and respect the fans Arsene… let us know that you understand that this is ARSENAL and shite is not acceptable. Let us know these players are getting a bollocking. Tell us they were sub standard… the fans would respect that and hopefully the players would respond.
Grovers, your opinion is your opinion, but I’d rather not read people suggesting Wenger gets the boot. Things are going poorly… he has made some terrible judgments… but you stick by loyal people through the good times and the bad. After all, if his pampered super kids can’t up it on the pitch… that is their fault as much as Wenger’s for trusting them. Let’s instead talk about what you think needs to change over the next 5 games.
First change? How about a resounding win against the Turks (I have 2 individual tickets to that game in Le Exchange if you are interested)!
Come on Arsene… sort it out and show us why we had to coin an acronym to categorise your semi-fanatical following.
Happy Sunday Grovers!
P.S. Three of the MoTD goal of the month contenders were against us… when it rains eh?