No way back for Wenger now the dressing room has turned on him

by & filed under News Review.

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Things are spicing up.




Oh my, where do we start?


John Cross and Matt Law have both been speaking to someone about Sanchez. He’s a brat, apparently, the most difficult piece of dogs mess Wenger has had to deal with EVER, and in a twist of banter, he wasn’t very good last season so probably isn’t worth the cash (ignore the 20 goals and 12 assists this year). Amazing work, nothing says hatchet job quite like taking down Arsenal’s best as lacking value when Stan is set to offer Wenger £10m a year (£12,307k more a week than Sanchez is being offered, if Matt Law is to be believed).

So what do we think? This could have come from a player agent. So it might not be the club. If Arsenal move on Sanchez, a huge amount of money goes back into the salary pot and players who the club are not speaking with might land some attention and a new deal (I’m looking at your Chambo).

You could also look at this as standard PR warfare from Mark Gonnella. He’s been dropping stories that support Wenger all year and his prized media assets have been supporting him unashamedly for exclusives just like this. We’ve had the ‘baffled board,’ the ‘you’ve never had it so good’, and even the ‘Allegri has been sacked, why would Arsenal want him?’ So this could just be the club’s way of playing a slight of hand and deflecting from the issue at hand – we’re all talking about that nasty Chilean, not a failing Arsene Wenger.

Player Unrest:

It’s pretty clear there are many issues at play, but one of the most striking this season is that Arsene Wenger has lost the faith of his two biggest names. Mesut Ozil has waved goodbye to his Arsenal career and so has Alexis Sanchez. Roll that into the total lack of interest the squad are paying the manager in big games (Cech and Bellerin saying we had a plan, the plays just didn’t bother), and, well, you have what you could class as a silent rebellion. This particularly damning from the Spaniard.

“We are very frustrated with how the game went. After the tough weeks we have had, the team should have gone onto the pitch, motivated and ready from the start.

“We need to realise that it is just not the way to go. We need to push harder, to start the games with a better attitude and just go for it because we showed that when we go for it and want something, we can do it.”

When big players go against the manager at big clubs – under the cloud of inept managerial performance – it’s usually the manager that goes.

Rafa Benitez lost his Madrid dressing room and his job soon after. Brendan Rodger made his role untenable when the players lost faith, despite finishing second the season before. Mourinho lost Costa, Cesc and Hazard and took a bullet after winning the league. Ranieri lost the faith of his senior players after he’d led Leicester to the greatest Premier League triumph of all time. Carlo Ancelotti after La Decima. Luis Enrique after the treble.

These are, in the main, successful managers being moved on very quickly. Wenger hasn’t been successful since 2004, and we’re going to shift on our best players, rather than try and rescue them with a dynamic hire and a restructure around them. How crazy is that? How long did we wait to land a player like Sanchez and now we’re letting him leave for £25m? Madness.

Sanchez ill-discipline:

Look, I am game for discipline at a club. You need a harmonious dressing room. You need to treat everyone the same, even if you’re more delicate with others. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that Sanchez is out for himself, a bit dim and a selfish boy. We’ve complained about it on here. But simply put, he’s been behaving like this all season and the manager has indulged him all season.

He’s pulled faces after games. He’s hidden in his jacket like a 4 year old after being subbed. His body language has been painful at times. Wenger has meekly complained that he can’t rotate him because he gets upset. So why now, of all times, did the manager decide to make a stand?

Same for Ozil. Gets played in every game regardless of performance. Everton at Christmas, he walks away from a corner instead of defending it. He’s caught out countless times letting players run past him as he walks. His lack of interest has dedicated video reels. His body language is unbelievably bad as he mails it in. Yet he’s not dropped until this weekend?

Where is the consistency?

But here’s the bigger issue. How can Wenger struggle to motivate a winner like that? How come he’s not calling Ozil a f*cking embarrassment of a man in the changing rooms like Mourinho? If he was so angered by Sanchez and his histrionics, why was he even with the squad? How could he possibly entertain bringing him on after 45mins if he’d been such a bastard? How are players not prepared and not motivated?

Who’s the real embarrassment in all of this? I’d say it’s the manager who has to hire soft boys and pay them more money than anyone else would for loyalty. That’s a weakness personified. It’s no coincidence Wenger hasn’t been able to keep his best players over the years. RVP, Nasri, Cesc, Adebayor… Wenger even had an issue with Clichy he couldn’t deal with so he moved him on. All had the same issue, Arsenal don’t have the ambition to win. We have a manager who is cool with mediocrity. He’s soft. Just like the players he keeps on.

So sure, Sanchez is all about himself. But look, the best managers find a way. Wenger’s way was to sign nice boys. Nice boys don’t fight. Nice boys don’t win. Nice boys are happy just as they are, which is the anthesis of a winning mentality.

Would you want to go to work with a bunch of bottlers? I wouldn’t. Fuck that.

He’s signed a new deal:

Around this time, a lot of publications will be racing for the ‘I told you so’ story. So you’ll hear a lot of nonsesne that’s being guessed at. Arsenal are on a small financial exchange, any new contract with the manager will need to be submitted as serious financial news, because he’ll be costing £10m a year. There is no way Wenger took his last contract down to the FA Cup final… yet this time, he’s dropped it in secret and a blog has landed the exclusive.

Wenger hasn’t signed, but here’s the thing, the deal is on the table. The only way that deal isn’t getting signed is if the fans bully him out the club, that’s what it’s come to. Wenger has to be protested against. Because like all great dictators, he’s bedded in deep. You saw the interview with Jake Humphrey, his answer to how he was going to take us to the next level – ‘the next level is the next level is the next level. It is up’ – he has no clue how to move us up a level, because the only thing that matters to him is employment, not what’s best for the club.

Impending Disaster:

The other way he might leave is if things get so bad, he can’t stay because it’s embarrassing. Well, the stars arealigningg there. Spurs are on a bit of a rampage at the moment, dispatching of Everton with an ease that made me sad. Kane and Alli together with more goals than the whole of the Arsenal team combined this year.

Anyway, the top 4 race is between Arsenal, United and Liverpool in my opinion. We have to play Spurs away, and if we lose that, it could be carnage. We have to play United at home towards the end of the year which could push us out of the top 4. We also might play Spurs in a semi final, which could result in another devastating loss. We also host Bayern on Tuesday, which could see unprecendented levels of fan fury, for those that bother to turn up, because half the ground looks like it’s on the exchange at the moment.

Wenger is a deadman walking, he’s on the edge and he hears the fan unrest… my gut feeling says that if we continue to ramp up the pressure, we could push him out. It’s brutal, but the embarrassing ironic cheering we have going on at away games is a little bit like what small clubs do when they’re getting a tanking in the FA Cup. Let’s stop being so nice and bring our club back. I can’t take another two years of a man who resembles Comical Ali under the tamest of questioning. I can’t sit here for another two years as my club and your club regresses in quality because we cared too much about an old mans fears of powerlessness and loneliness in his old age. Not our problem.

Time for Wenger to move over. Time for change. Make your voices heard on Tuesday night if you are lucky enough to be there.

See you in the comments.


This is the end of Wenger’s Arsenal: Ego, a lost dressing room and change

by & filed under News Review.

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Hello everyone, Alex here, coming out of mini exile to deliver some new words on Arsenal Football Club.

In recent months I have not had the time nor the inclination to put any thoughts to the keyboard, mainly because so much of the joy of watching Arsenal has left me that nowadays our bad performances pass me by like a fart in a wind tunnel.

But I wanted to pull out a couple of themes following the latest shitshow at Anfield. This is not a blow by blow report of that game but rather a suicide note for the end of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger is putting his ego before the club

There is no tactical reason on earth to drop your best player for one of your biggest games. The whole point of your best players is that they can deliver on the big occasions. Whether through a sincere but misguided tactical insight or, as it has now emerged, a desire to show Sanchez who’s boss, the manager’s little folly cost us the game and put even further distance between us and the league leaders.

Arsenal’s spinners are now putting out that Sanchez was dropped because of a training ground bust up with the manager and some of his teammates. It would take less of a cynic than me to note that the club really is in a parlous state when it is briefing against its star players in order to protect its underachieving manager.

However, putting that aside for one second, this resolve by the manager to send a message to players through his team selection is all the more galling because it is not applied evenly. More obvious candidates for tactical rotation were Arsenal’s first choice “defensive midfielder” Francis Coquelin – the Justin Lee Collins of professional footballers, instantly detestable and with so little talent you wonder how he got there in the first place; or Alex Iwobi whose breakthrough season has been tarnished by the fact he has been played into the ground.

The team is crying out for bold tactical variation and for underperforming players to be given a boot up the jaxie. To see it applied so erroneously is why Sanchez and Perez will be off this summer, why Coquelin and Gibbs won’t be, and why Iwobi will only go from a kid with great potential to an overpaid bottlejob under Arsene Wenger.

People were pointing out on Saturday that Arsene had 12 days to prepare for the Liverpool game. What data or tactical insight from his coaching team led to a recommendation to keep Coquelin on the pitch and start Iwobi again ahead of Perez?

The reality is, and everyone can see it, these are the last days of the dictator. I don’t mean that literally, Arsene Wenger is obviously not a dictator – this is just football after all.

But in the same way Richard III’s tenure ended with him offering up his kingdom in return for a horse, Arsene Wenger’s increasingly bizarre decisions (which let’s be honest started a few years ago when he refused to upgrade on the likes of Almunia and Sanogo) are nothing to do with the welfare of the club and all about the demonstration of power and control as it ebbs away from him.

Don’t blame the talent, they want to win

The difference this year is that he has lost the dressing room. The club can brief that the other players were happy Alexis was dropped but the reality is he is our best player for now. And he has no faith in the manager, just like Van Persie and Fabregas who came before him.

The news that Ozil has also given up and will quit this summer should pile worry on top of worry. Yes these are egos, and their contract demands may be a bridge too far, but what we are seeing play out in Arsenal team after Arsenal team is the best players losing faith in the manager and wanting out. These guys have performed, and won, at the highest level elsewhere and they know Arsene Wenger does not have what it takes. Why shouldn’t they throw a tantrum when the team gets beaten 5-1? What is the mentality running through the team, when that is considered the exception and not the rule?

The more Wenger loses his grip, the more we can expect to see this kind of behaviour but it cannot go on forever. Even if the board and Stan Kroenke want him to stay, at some point reality will overcome the fantasy he has constructed in his mind that only he can take this club forward. I genuinely hope it is sooner rather than later. I’m with the majority of people who want him to go out on a high with fans and players alike grateful for the way he has enriched both the club and our lives. But the longer he holds out, the less likely that is to happen. At this point, it’s entirely up to him.

Our performance was terrible but it wasn’t even in the top 5 worst performances this season

One of Arsene’s favourite straw man arguments is to say there is no guarantee that we would win every game with a new manager. I don’t remember ever asking for that. All I want is for us to compete again. That means doing something better than last 16 glorious failure in the Champions League and coming within 10 points of the league winners year in year out.

However it also means keeping the number of “what the fuck was that?” performances to 1 or 2 per season. You can expect most top clubs to have a rainy day here or there. Sometimes things don’t click or the opposition sets up in a way that takes you by surprise.

But Everton away, Manchester City away, Watford at home, Chelsea away and Bayern Munich are all performances that were worse than the Liverpool game and have all taken place in the last six months. It’s incredible really that a team that can point to six performances as underwhelming as a Robbie Williams comeback tour can still be in contention for a Champion’s League place.

But here’s the rub, fans can accept defeats, what they will not tolerate is paying the highest ticket prices in the land for performances as insipid as those we have seen this season.

Change starts with the manager

The malaise that has been around the club really began when Stan Kroenke took over. Distant, dispassionate and only concerned with the bottom line, he is the very antithesis of a sports fan.

Our board is about as dynamic as the English Indoor Bowling Association’s lifetime members’ club. Their slavish devotion to Wenger in recent months has shown them to be both cuckolded and completely at odds with the fanbase.

However, beyond trying to move the stadium to Wigan, the reality is no one would care about Stan or Ivan Gazidis or the board if the performances were right.

There are deep-seated issues at Arsenal that will take years to resolve but the first, essential step is to change the manager.

Its cliché but fans really are the lifeblood of a club and you can only take their support for granted for so long. At some point someone in a position of authority at Arsenal is going to need to start listening to fans because the unrest runs much deeper than they realise.

The offer of a 2 year contract, which is reportedly on the table for Arsene, may be the proverbial straw. If it is accepted, I imagine the next two seasons would start to see the club getting hit where it really hurts – declining gate receipts and season ticket sales.

There are no more excuses to hold on to. The money is there, he has spent it and still been found wanting. This is the fourth iteration of a team the manager has had since 2007. The players are different, the opposition is different, their managers are, the kits, balls and even the referees are different.

And yet the performances and outcomes are identical.

The one constant is the manager. Only when he leaves, can Arsenal begin its road to recovery.

Arsene Wenger, if you love Arsenal, tell the world it’s over.

by & filed under News Review.

Borrowed from because THEY RUINED MY WEEKEND

Borrowed from because THEY RUINED MY WEEKEND

It’s over Arsene. No doubt about it. The Liverpool game means nothing in the grand scheme of things – I’d imagine we’ll still finish in the top four – but yet again, you’ve proven you don’t have what it takes to push this team forward. So do the right thing, and let the club prepare for a future without you.