Youth kills title dream as psychologically traumatised Arsenal flunk Spurs test

by & filed under Uncategorized.

Well, if I’m going to take a positive out of anything this season it’s the fact that if there is a Premiership classic to be had, you can be damn sure we’ll be involved in it. If we’re not losing after going two goals up at home, we’re sharing the spoils after being 4 up at half time.

Last night was another one for the Sky Sports Gold archive. From a neutral or a Spurs/Arsenal perspective, the game was an absolute belter. I’m gutted that we threw away a 2 goal lead again, but what can you do? We knew the team had a soft underbelly a long time ago and we’ve known all season that a 2 goal cushion is never enough for this crop of youngsters.

The part that irritated me is that we know there is a problem, yet it appears nothing is has been done to remedy it. Since Wenger took on the job of running the team on a budget, he’s constantly shown himself to be inept tactically. Last night was more of the same. Harry Redknapp recognised he’d made a tactical error at half time and made the relevant changes. Arsene Wenger knew he was two up, knew the league was on the line, yet he continued with the same formation and we were pegged back in the second half.

Playing against Spurs is not a banker like it used to be. We can’t expect to go to the Lane and turn them over every year. Our chance at Premiership glory was not lost there, it was lost at Newcastle when we surrendered a 4 goal lead. Since then, we’ve won 3 and drawn 5. We’ve also dropped out of 2 cups. Wenger can hold onto the achievement of not losing since United on the 13th of December, but that’s no good if you’re failing to beat Sunderland, West Brom and Blackburn. It’s no good if you’re conceding after the 98th minute at home.

Last nights game got off to a screamer. Diaby and Song played a neat one two, Cesc was found in space, he threaded Theo through the centre and the young Englishman didn’t need a second invite, he slotted perfectly past Gomes for the first.

Spurs equalised shortly after, VdV was picked out by Corluka, Diaby was tracking his run but didn’t make and attempt at a challenge, the Dutchman fired inside Chezzer’s near post and the game was level.

Robin went close up the other end but Gomes was equal to his near post shot and tipped the ball round the post.

Our second came when Nasri and Diaby exchanged passes in the middle of the park, Nasri looked up and fired a long-range low effort past Gomes. A super goal and an example of what happens when you take a gamble with a shot.

Our crossing from the right was particularly woeful, Sagna was not on top form in that department. There was a great over all flow to our game, a confidence I haven’t seen for months and a variety that was truly refreshing.

Theo was slipped in through the middle again, his shot was dragged just wide. The more I watch Theo this season, the more I’m convinced he’s been watching Marc Overmars videos. He’s direct, incredibly fast and he’s added finishing to his repertoire this season.

Our third came from a very nice move again, Sagna’s first cross missed all the red shirts, Gallas tried to chest the ball out of play, it didn’t work, Theo nipped in and chipped to the back post, Robin cushioned a header over Gomes, the Brazilian clawed it back out into the danger zone… Robin roofed it into the net!

Chezzer had already had one run in with Bale earlier in the game where he unfortunately elbow dropped him after beating him to a cross. Bale had the chance to get his own back, he raced Chezzer to a 50/50, the Pole won and took him out in the process. As he walked back, he winked to his team mates. Classic Chezzer. He really has potential legend written all over his future.

3-1 up and you’d have thought we had the game tied up. The ball went back down our end, Cesc failed to clear his lines further than Huddlestone. The Spurs porker looked up and banged the ball back at our goal and once again, Arsenal were beaten by another screamer.

We’re pretty good at conceding those.

The second half started, Sagna had his lip busted open by the jagged elbow of Peter Crouch.

Jack Wilshere came on, my girlfriend looked up and said, ‘ahhh, Jeremy Kyle.’ Fair shout.

Spurs really upped things, VdV was all over the place. He truly is an incredible player when his mind is on the game. He forced a number of smart saves from our young keeper.

Robin was deemed offside after he put the ball into the Spurs net. I wasn’t so sure.

We were only one up, the panic button had been well and truly smashed and the Lillywhites were controlling the possession and the tempo of the game.

Theo had a good chance to bury the tie but instead of going for goal, he cut back only to find there was no one in the box for him. Arsenal’s default panic style of play is to be as indirect as possible and over complicate things. Too many stray passes and missed opportunities to pepper the Spurs goal were happening.

Lennon was played in down the wing, Chezzer thought he could beat the pacey winger for the ball, we all knew what he was going to do, Lennon nicked the ball and flew over our keeper. Penalty.

VdV stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way and equalised.

Our young keeper didn’t cave in though, he stepped up, took responsibility and popped up with some fantastic saves to keep us in the game.

The game played out, the Sky Sports Gold certificate was printed out and posted to Gazidis and we flunked out of another season.

Conclusion…

Mathematically we’re not out of the league but psychologically we are. We’re shot to pieces in the confidence department, we’re incapable of holding onto a lead and sadly, there isn’t the knowledge or the experience in the squad to turn this around. Last night, our first team was on show and we still choked.

The oldest player on the pitch was probably Robin Van Persie and he has about 107 Premiership games to his name. Cesc was the most experienced but again, he doesn’t have the know how for leadership. You don’t look to him to calm the players, you  don’t look to him to uphold standards. He is a brilliant player, his energy should be spent concentrating on playing and that’s it. He wasn’t born to lead, he’s admitted he doesn’t like burden so we should buy someone in who can.

I feel sorry for this team. At the core of it, we have some fantastic players capable of winning it all. We just don’t supplement that talent with know how. We’re scared of winning at the moment and only and injection of quality will remedy that.

Chezzer was fantastic last night, his error was one of youth and inexperience. I highly doubt he’ll make a mistake like that any time soon, but that’s the cost of allowing youngsters to work their apprenticeships in your first team. This year, we’ve lost 12 points that I can think of due to goalkeeping errors.

Liverpool (A) Almunia concedes near post shot 2 point

Newcastle (H) Fabianski misses ball into box for Carroll to score 3 points

WBA (H) Almunia concedes goal after putting his knee in wrong place 3 points

WBA (A) Almunia rushes out to shove over Squillaci 2 points

Spurs (A) Chezzer concedes penalty 2 points

Total points lost: 12

Lose those errors and we’re 2 points clear of United at a minimum.

Now I’m sure people will tell me that there were other factors, of course there were, but for me, at the highest level, there’s a thin line between success and failure. If we’d had a decent experienced keeper in from the start, would we have dropped 12 goalkeeping related points? I think it’s always forgotten that conceding through a keeping error has a knock on effect to the confidence of the defence. It can also kill the attacking impetus of the team for the rest of the game. There is an on cost to erratic keeping and I think we’ve suffered because of that this year.

Psychologically, this team needs a boost. We’ve spent 6 years being told the team will come good. We’ve heard that signing players isn’t the answer, well, guess what, it’s pretty much the only thing we haven’t tried. Speak to any sports psychologist and they’ll tell you that freshening up a mentally tired squad with new players is a boost to everyone. Look at Liverpool and their resurgence since they’ve rid themselves of Torres and bought in Carroll and Suarez.

I’m not here to hammer the team today, I knew something like last night could happen, choke is part of game at the moment, so I’m not surprised. What I will say is that if Arsene Wenger can’t face up to the problems he has in his squad in the summer, he really should ask himself whether this is the right club for him going forward. Banging on about mental strength that has consistently proven not to be there is getting beyond a joke now.

I’m sick and tired of being part of the classic games. I long for a side that has proper mental strength, a coach or an assistant who know how to instruct a team to play out a game and perhaps some proper ‘been there, done that’ types in our side.

The average age of our squad didn’t win us the league again. All it proved is that growing your own team is flawed without leadership. All it proved is like with anything in life, you need a balance. A degree from the Arsenal Academy gives you the basic tools to make a career, but it’ll never teach you the art of being a winner. This is something you can only learn from people who have earned their degree out in the trenches.

Just a quick note to Alex Song. The NLD is pretty major to most Arsenal fans. Meeting up with your Spurs mate on the half way and having a laugh, joke and hug with them really isn’t appropriate. Save it for the dressing room if you have to do it there and then. You remember I told you that the atmosphere in the dressing room was the same win, lose or draw… case and point right there.

P.S. Thanks to the 12 people who listened into me on 5 Live last night! Also, this made for interesting reading from the Deputy Editor at Sport.co.uk (Gooner btw)…

Interesting that Wenger/Arsenal sanctioned & checked over interview Fabregas did with Don Balon…but still claimed it has been twisted.

@AAllenSport

Andrew Allen

UPDATE: Arsenal have been in touch and informed me that the journalist in question did not have the reported interview sanctioned by Arsenal. The publication did not send the document back for Arsenal to sign off at all.

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554 Responses to “Youth kills title dream as psychologically traumatised Arsenal flunk Spurs test”

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  1. BOOZY

    suga- dude in the U.S despite Manchester united’s repeated attempts to gain supportership- arsenal still has the highest followership for any soccerteam.

    dont even go to africa.

    man u only has a hold of the asian market.

    in europe arsenal still has the highest followership.

    ALSO, blogs are a reliable yardstick to measure followership- i know for fact that le grove has the highest daily post for any football blog all over the world. I’m telling you as hard as it is to believe, arsenal has the highest followership.

  2. Arse&Nose©

    QoS, stats and ratios are the work of the devil.
    (It’s been a quiet day in here, im just trying to stir up a debate.)

  3. BillikenGooner

    If RvP was out of contract this summer, who would be competing for his services?
    The likes of Hamburg, Juve and Sevilla or United, Madrid and Inter?

    I tend to think closer to the latter than the former.

  4. SUGA3

    RCLS,

    nah, seriously, I have asked a serious question and I am prepared to accept a valid point 😉

    but please, don’t Stekelenburg me, he is not an improvement, Erdevisie is shit!

  5. zeus

    People need to stop saying things like Hazard and Sakho and the like.

    I’m sick of it. WE NEED EXPERIENCE. GET ME VAN BOMMEL. GET ME REINA. GET ME A 6 FOOT+ NASTY BASTARD CB. GET ME AGUERO. (minus Aguero, No one under 27)

    Sorted.

    Everyone else who ‘is gonna be epic’ can go fuck themselves.

  6. Arse&Nose©

    BillikenGooner , yes RVP would probably join madrid then after 4 months go on loan to Hamburg because that is his level.

  7. Rohan

    van Persie pretty fucking efficient when he’s fully fit. Has 18 goals in 27 appearances and has 7 assists to boot.

    He’s world fucking class.

  8. Gunneresque

    Chelsea+Torres=Syňtax error
    Arsenal+Torres=Match made in heaven
    Rafael at Manyoo is what we call a proper fullback.. will probably end up at Madrid or Barca.

  9. Arse&Nose©

    Rohan, if you say RVP is world class than you must also admit Adebarndoor was world class, he had even better stats

  10. BillikenGooner

    A&N, you could have at least said he’d be there for a year and a half, but injured most of the time.. then loaned.

    heh

  11. SUGA3

    A&N,

    thing is that Adebayor has all the ingredients to be fucking world class, the only fuckup as far as Wenger is concerned is that he should have tamed him, not given in like a bitch to triple his wages!

  12. Rohan

    Not really. Adebayor had one great season where he scored 30 goals with 6 coming against the worst ever team in the Premiership.

    van Persie’s seasons have always been disrupted by injuries and stuff. When fully fit, he’s been more than decent.

  13. Rohan

    In terms of quality, RvP is up there with the most talented players in the world. If he can stay consistently fit, I have no qualms with him leading our line.

    Anyway, it’s not the attack that’s the problem really. Just a few tactial adjustments here and there. Scoring 3 at WHL is very impressive. It’s our defense that’s gone to shit.

  14. GoonerTee

    The fact is RVP 2ng goal wasnt offside and if that happened to be the winner RVP would the best thing since slice bread. He has so much to his game my my he can belt a freekick and is not bad a penalties either.

  15. egg korma

    If Everton can manage to draw against ManUre – then game on! BUT AFC will end up drawing vs Bolton to mess things up again! If, however, they beat Bolton..then the game vs ManUre will be of monumental proportions! I thnk we may see a few red cards…And a Manure win, alas.

    About wenger….What a manager..loyal and dedicated. If the baord sack him then WE are all mugs….Nobody on earth can touch wenger. He will deliver…as long as we all keep faith and the players get more savvy!

    N W

  16. RCLS@Work

    Suga3 – You can’t call the dutch league shite.. You’d have gladly taken Suarez and you’d happily take Van Der Weil.. Don’t try it son 😉

    Stekelenberg, Handanovic or Buffon are the choices preferred by myself.

    Stekelenberg and Handanovic because they both have international and european experience, plus they are big fuckers.. And you need to be a big goalkeeper to thrive in this league, no question.

    Buffon for the experience and winning mentality. His back has gone, but if we could have him play even a bit part for 2 years whilst Szczesny blossoms that would do the kid nothing but good.

  17. Arse&Nose©

    I wish people would stop going on about RVP’s ‘on-side’ goal yesterday. The whistle had blown, he hit it anyway(like he did at Nou camp) and the ball hit gomes and went in.

  18. RCLS@Work

    Anyone slagging off van Persie needs a slap.. Him and Wilshire are the only players the faithful can relate to. Real Arsenal players. The rest are kids, billy big bulloxs, shite or arshavin…

  19. SUGA3

    RCLS,

    I actually think Stekelenberg was the weakest link in the Dutch side, but that’s my opinion 😉

    and Suarez has not exactly set the Prem on fire, has he?

    Handanovic is good, but he is also 26, not the age we are looking for, unless we want to lose Szczesny…

    Buffon, yes, but like you said his back is gone and he wouldcommand stupid wages, so it’s not happening…

  20. Samir

    Van Persie’s freekick’s are awful…Sure he may hit the target most of the time…But even I could do that!
    He NEVER gets them perfectly right…That’s why he hasn’t scored a decent freekick for years!

    Ronaldo bangs 1 out of 5 of them in!

  21. RCLS@Work

    Your punt on Sorenson for no.2 was a good one earlier suga to be fair. Has Wenger transfer written all over it..

  22. Samir

    I do think RVP is a wordclass striker however! When he’s on form and playing with good players…He will score ever kind of goal!
    Could Eto and RVP be the partnership we’ve awaited for the last 6 years? Or RVP and Cavani? Hmmmm

  23. RCLS@Work

    Why does wenger keep bringing on bendtner for a wide man and playing him wide right when we are chasing a goal… Fucking moron!

    Granted Bendtner isn’t everyones cup of tea, but he isn’t going to make an impact taking on a full back and getting balls into the box is he…

    Has anyone noticed we just change players and never the formation anymore winning, losing or drawing… Wenger go back to the 4-4-1-1 please this Barcaesque nonsense has got us nowhere…

    Oh sorry we’ve amassed huge amounts of kids who all play central midfield but have no physical prensense whatsoever so we need to play 3 in there 😆

    Taxi for Arsene.

  24. SUGA3

    Chamakh is sadly another player not played to his strengths…

    I would go 4-4-2 like this:

    —————Szczesny—————–
    –Bac—–New CB——-Verm—–Baines–
    —————-New DM—————–
    —————–Nasri——————
    —Theo————————–Vela—
    ————–RvP———————–
    ———————Chamakh————

    just one of the ideas, providing that both new CB and new DM are fire breathing monsters 😉

  25. Love Arsenal hate Arsene

    Chelsea+Torres=Syňtax error
    Arsenal+Torres=Trophies

    Rafael at manure is what you’d call a proper full-back.. will probably end at Barca.

  26. Arse&Nose©

    If Chamakh stayed in the first team I reckon we’d be top of the league. The team at the start of the season looked much better balanced with Chamakh upfront, defending from the front, running non-stop.

  27. RCLS@Work

    A&N – you slag off Van Persie like he’s Francis Jeffers’ cousin, then lay claim to us being top of the league had chamackh played there all season? 😆

    Did you take into consideration the 1 month rest over christmas he needed because he was tired?

    We never had problems scoring goals, it’s conceeding them. Even if super chamackh had played all season A&N we’d still be in the same place (probably lower as chamakh’s shooting and finishing are dogshite) because our defence is shocking and the two more defensivley minded midfielders have no physical prensence (a la wilshire) or are just dopey fuckwits (song, diaby, denilson).

  28. WengersSweeties

    Chamakh will be more involved next season in my opinion.

    The formation needs changing big time to get the best out of our current lot.

    Has Wenger ever changed a set formation at this stage of a season?

  29. Arse&Nose©

    Won’t argue that Chamkhs finishing is poor compared to RVP, but he gave our team a better balance. He worked hard upfront and chased down the ball relieving pressure on our midfield and defence. I’m looking at the team as a whole and think Chamakh played a massive part in our early season success.

  30. RCLS@Work

    ——-Stekelenberg

    Sagna Vermaelen Hummels Gibbs

    —–De Rossi–Wilshire

    Walcott—-Nasri—–Arshavin

    ——–Van Persie(c)

    XI 2:

    ————Szczesny

    vrsaljko Djourou Koscielny Jenkinson

    ———-Song—Frimpong—–

    Lansbury—–Ramsey——-Miyachi

    ————-Bendtner

  31. zeus

    Sug

    Van Bommel a thug? Thats the point. I want someone who would come really close to almost killing someone on the pitch. Not the leg breaking type, but the undercover Im gonna kick you into next week without the ref taking notice, wolf in sheeps clothing player with experience.

  32. Arse&Nose©

    If you were Niklas Bendtner you must be wondering what you have to do to play upfront. This was supposed to be his breakthrough season.

  33. RCLS@Work

    A&N – our early season success was down to the lack of pressure on the team to deliver 😆

    When the heat is on we melt worse than a packet of M&M’s in your back pocket whilst sitting down in 30 degree heat… Or have you forgotten?

  34. RCLS@Work

    Gooby it would be fantastic, but like christmas in the poor households you’re so use to being let down that you’ll be happy with anything as long as it is new…

    expect some cheap medicore players with a 85% chance they’ve played in france, play in france, can speak french or in actual fact, are french.

  35. WengersSweeties

    I’m not sure how chezzer is a fantastic keeper?

    He might turn out good and be the best we have but i haven’t seen much to suggest he’s fantastic.

    He’s also been poor in every penalty given against us and hasn’t saved one.

  36. Queen of Suburbia

    Zeus @ 22:17 – “Thats the point. I want someone who would come really close to almost killing someone on the pitch. Not the leg breaking type, but the undercover Im gonna kick you into next week without the ref taking notice, wolf in sheeps clothing player with experience.”

    Blimey Zeus, Van Bommel is going to need a bigger business card.

  37. RCLS@Work

    The French are perennial bottlers anyway… Not the sort you’d want to take into any sort of battle.

    Nasri has a chip on his shoulder and is quite happy to go into his shell and shy away from defensive responsibility when the chips are down.. How he thinks he’s worth 100K a week plus i do not know!

    Clichy is a calamity, koscielny is shite, same goes for diaby & squillaci… and to top it all off our manager has lost the plot!

    coincidence….methinks not!

  38. WengersSweeties

    That ESPN article is spot on.

    i ALSO AGREE WITH THE ENDING.

    “It barely needs stating that Wenger’s legacy in English football is manifold, that he has transformed Arsenal beyond recognition off and on the pitch and is one of the great managers of modern times in English football. Any suggestions he should leave the club are beyond ridiculous.

    But some element of change in his approach is required, even if his public utterances suggest that may be an unlikely prospect.”

  39. SUGA3

    DS,

    and I think he actually IS a decent player and I would not mind one bit if he was to kick the shit out of Stokes and Blackburns of this world wearing red & white!

    mind you, Wenger would probably reform him and turn him into a fucking falsetto in his choir 😆

  40. MARK GOONER

    rvp ??

    either play him with another forward or he shouldnt start for us in our current formation

    hes far to concerened in gettin involved in build up

  41. SUGA3

    It is a war he is losing. In fact, his stance could hardly be more transparent if he was declaring “there is no presence of American infidels” as a statue of Saddam Hussein was torn to the ground behind him and battered with 50 pairs of trainers.

    haha 😆

  42. MARK GOONER

    seeing song laughing and joking with those filthy yids after seeing our title hopes vanish was a joke

  43. Gooby

    RCLS

    stekelnburg or whatever the correct spell is, is over rated and i don’t even understand how people come up with him as the solution let alone given, let alone given. i think chezzer has what it takes to be the number one from now on. it’s mental to sanction him for that penalty, almost every keeper would have done the same. HE’s a top keeper, i’d like wenger to stick with him

  44. SUGA3

    WS,

    hmmm…

    I would rather see the Song we saw last season where he kept stuff simple and effective…

    but yeah, he was better in the earlier parts of the season, there is just one reason for this and that’s fatigue, IMO…

    we need to get ourselves a proper monster of a non-African DM in the summer – before racist police goes into the overdrive, it’s just because of the ACN…

  45. RCLS@Work

    WS – “Any suggestions he should leave the club are beyond ridiculous.”

    Why are they? We’ve won nothing for 6 years and he’s not rectified glaring deficiences in our playing staff and tactics to warrant anymore chances i’m afraid. How many trophies, 2 goal + leads etc. do you want to lose before you come to some sort of realisation. Christ, we’ve (the fans, ex players, pundits, journos, boys in the park) been banging on about a top class centre half, goalkeeper and midfield general for 5 years. He’s got stale, still gives it the fan double talk, has become even more petulant & has quite clearly gone senile! Why can’t the AKB’s accept that.

    Thanks Arsene, but you’ve taken as far as you can with your youth experiment and it’s backfired, horribly. Just accept the failure and leave graciously.

  46. WengersSweeties

    Gooby.

    Why is he a top keeper?

    Also he’s failed to save 2 penalties against Newcastle.

    1 against Liverpool.

    1 against Spurs.

    He was also very lucky in the Carling Cup Final in he opening minutes.

  47. MARK GOONER

    any talk of a keeper should be a replacement for the 2 clowns and not chezzer
    he is ready
    even the great david seaman said today that he was faultless for goals yesterday and the pen and said he to would have come out, he also said he is good enough to be our number 1 next year

  48. RCLS@Work

    would anyone here trust wenger with 50m this summer?

    I fucking wouldn’t…

    80% of that would go on extensions for nasri, clichy, diaby, almunia & denilson.

  49. Gooby

    WS

    not so hard to see chesney is a top keeper, almunia did save a few penalties does that make him less of a clown.

    RCLS

    i don’t know what you’re on about, but when we had henry, pires, petit, wiltord, vieira nobody was having complains about them being french.

    what does nationality has to do with their performances on the pitch?

  50. WengersSweeties

    RCLS.

    You missed the part of

    “But some element of change in his approach is required, even if his public utterances suggest that may be an unlikely prospect.”

    I’d keep Wenger as long as he changes his format at Arsenal.

    He knows what it takes to win competitions and this is the first season where a lot of heads have turned.

    I fully expect changes at Arsenal in the summer in one way or another because he’s used all his lives up.

  51. SUGA3

    WS,

    there are no saved pens, only poorly hit ones…

    and I agree with Gooby here: Szczesny or Almunia?

    even everybody’s wet dream Reina conceded more goals this season than our trio! had Szcseny played the full season, it would be even better, IMO…

  52. WengersSweeties

    “There are no saved Pens only poorly hit ones….”?

    Huh?

    I disagree with that.

    Anyway I’m not saying Szczesny wont be a good keeper. I just can’t see what he has done to make him fantastic?

    Maybe with the shit we have had a decent young keeper looks really good.

  53. Big Dave

    I quite like MC29, have heard tho he has off feild problems. I am prepared to give the benefit of doubt in his 1st season, sometimes it takes time to fit in

  54. MARK GOONER

    big dave

    if a french club want him stick him on the ferry

    he aint what we need

    anything over 5mil is great business

  55. WengersSweeties

    Bolton (Just lost 5-0)
    Utd
    Stoke
    Villa (Manager-less)
    Fulham

    You know Utd have to play us as well as Chelsea and play in the Champs league.

    They also play Everton away and haven’t won away to a team in the top half of he league. Everton are on form too.

    I actually believe we could win every game. I’m just not sure 79 points will be enough though.

  56. SUGA3

    you don’t see what makes Szczesny a great GK, but you do see us winning every game?

    do you see the dead people too? 😆

    I am off, nite!

  57. Robin's Choco Leg Special

    Some bloke posted this on a other site: a bit long and it’s even longer but got to say he sums it up pretty well for me:

    Everyone knows what Arsene Wenger has achieved for this club, we all know of the title he once won, of the players he once brought through.

    However, it is time for Arsenal fans to start talking about the past, and also time for Arsenal fans to stop dealing in the ‘bright future’ that never comes, and that continues to get pushed back an extra year: in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and now 2011.

    I hear an awful lot of different theories on Arsenal players and Arsene Wenger. One thing that is undeniable to the trained eye, is that this Arsenal team is subject to serious mental deficiency, and is psychologically brittle. The evidence is overwhelming, ranging from the 4-4 draw with Spurs, to the home debacle to Spurs this season and the infamous Liverpool fiasco of this week.

    The players tend to bear the brunt of the criticism, however there comes a time when Arsenal fans need to stop blaming individuals for crass stupidity and a patent inability to learn; and start looking at the methodology behind the coaching and continuous selection of these players. Year after year, the names change: whereas one time Silvestre was complained about, it moved to Squillaci being inefficient, to Diaby making braindead decisions, to Denilson’s lackadaisical offerings, or before it was Hleb’s reticence to shoot, and now we hear about Bendtner’s first touch.

    The names of the players keep changing, but there has been one constant, common denominator: Arsene Wenger. The ingrained loser’s mentality that is now prevalent in the club has been fostered by Wenger’s culture of over-permissiveness, and the refusal to apportion blame where it is due. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen unacceptable behaviour by an Arsenal player, rewarded by the said player walking straight back into the team. As an example: Abou Diaby’s insanity at St James Park. Had Diaby cost any other big club in the manner he cost Arsenal, be sure that he would have been reprimanded in such a manner that he would have been afraid to ever transgress again.

    Instead, imagine my horror to see Diaby booting the ball away completely needlessly at Blackpool, in a match Arsenal were in total control of.

    We subsequently found out that it was Robin Van Persie who had to administer some semblance of dressing room discipline to Diaby. We are also informed by Arshavin that, after becoming the first team in history to throw a 4 goal lead at Newcastle, that the manager said ‘nothing’ to the players.

    This constant lack of discipline has been encouraged by Wenger, who is only too willing to blame anyone and everything but his own flawed management and methodology.

    I honestly fail to see how anyone can present a fact-based case, based on recent evidence, as to how Arsene Wenger can remain as Arsenal manager. He is the figurehead of our malaise. A manager who insists that he would ‘sign up for twenty years’ to second place, has no business calling himself the manager of a club of Arsenal’s standing, and the fans should certainly not encourage such a climate of complacency.

    The dwindling amount of AKBs who sit on the fence and claim that: ‘I want Arsene to stay, I just want him to change’ are effectively and unwittingly, providing a vote of no confidence. This is tantamount to a husband claiming that ‘I want to stay with my wife, I just want her to completely change who she is’.

    Alternatively, it would be like demanding an entire government cabinet fired, but for the Prime Minister to remain in situ, despite being the central figure of that cabinet.

    Arsene Wenger is incapable of change. He has been indulged for far too long, and Arsenal fans now need to ask themselves whether we can allow ourselves to evaluate Arsenal as a ‘big club’ if the whims of one man are now secondary to the greater concerns of the club. Is Wenger bigger than the club? If we are a small club who would implode under the weight of Wenger’s departure, then yes, Arsenal are a small club whose future depends on one individual.

    This is clearly a fictitious notion. Arsenal are a big club, who were in possession of ten league titles long before Arsene Wenger had arrived at this club. There are a number of occurences that take place at this club that are in my view, patently unacceptable.

    We are (mis)informed that Wenger does an excellent job ‘despite the financial constraints he is under’.

    This is not a fact-based argument and appears rather insipid when one considers that Arsenal have a wage bill of over £110 million. Spurs have a reported wage bill of just £67 million. There is a massive financial disparity right there, but this is never mentioned when Wenger’s so-called financial prudence is uttered. The insistence on renewing the contracts of undeserving individuals has created a false economy, and a system that is the polar opposite of a meritocracy. The manager has assured a mediocre group of players that irrespective of performance, they will not be subjected to competition for places as this may ‘kill’ them.

    Could you imagine applying such an absurd notion to a real-life working environment?

    Wenger’s other faults have little to nothing to do with finances. Coaching a defence to defend set-pieces costs little, and when Alex McLeish is tactically outthinking you in cup finals, you know there is a major issue. Appointing a number 2 to challenge your authority costs very little, yet Jack Wilshere claims that Jens Lehmann at half-time against Blackpool was ‘like an assistant manager’. Oh is that so? Hence, what is Pat Rice?

    The most grating problem, and the reason Arsene Wenger in my opinion needs to be thanked and then shown the door, is that the ‘six years no trophies’ is not the main issue. The main issue, is that Arsene Wenger has the resources at his disposal to rectify glaring deficiencies in the team, but Wenger has continued to show a complete disregard for this, and seems more concerned by bringing his pet ‘project’ to fruition. Wenger makes derisory comments about the fans, yet, these people who ‘have not worked even half a day in football’ seemed to know their stuff about Manuel Almunia, about Denilson’s suitability as a holding midfielder and about playing Van Persie (a number 10) as the focal point of an attack without a number 9 to run the line.

    Arsene Wenger cannot, and will not change. That is forlorn fantasy. The more Wenger is challenged, the more entrenched he becomes, and this is evidenced by his outrageous comments in press conferences, followed up by the dim-witted Hill-Wood’s ill-advised, crass commentary.

    Those that witter on about money fail to note for instance, that Laurent Koscielny cost more than Nemanja Vidic, Vincent Kompany, Patrice Evra and Ivanvic of Chelsea. Yet the lack of tactical attention to detail will show you that upon careful analysis, Laurent Koscielny has for instance, yet to learn that as a defender you simply do not go to ground inside the penalty area. This proves the lack of attention to tactical detail that takes place at Arsenal and this is a managerial issue that has not been rectified.

    A further and more grave issue that has disheartened many Arsenal fans is the leadership issue. Again on this notion, Wenger has shown a patent disregard for the fans when he claimed that ‘in England you like to focus on fighting qualities a little too much’. Before extolling the virtues of the ‘collective expression’ they so treasure in France. May I please be reminded at this juncture which country Wenger manages in please?

    The leadership issue dovetails nicely with the Cesc Fabregas scenario.

    It has become increasingly apparent, through his increasingly vocal and acerbic public outbursts, that Cesc Fabregas is angling for a move away from Arsenal. Fabregas is a superb footballer, who has been badly let down by his manager, who failed to surround him with the requisite quality to make Cesc believe in this team. His desire to leave is understandable. However I, like many, was extremely disappointed with his shenanigans in the Nou Camp prior to the Barca game. Canoudling and giggling with his future team-mates.

    The past three Arsenal captains have all presented us with evidence of the lack of foresight that has gone into the Arsenal captaincy. The captaincy of Arsenal is important, it is an honour to be bestowed and not a leverage tool to appease wantaway star players. Arsene Wenger first did this with Patrick Vieira whom, despite being a superb captain and leader, was desperate to leave Arsenal in our Invincible season. Real Madrid made an official bid of £31 million that was turned down after a protracted saga. After a season of going through the motions, visible through Vieira’s body language, he was sold at a knockdown £14 million to Juventus. So the next time someone mentions Wenger’s ‘constrained finances’, any manager willing to lose out £17 million on a transfer, whilst increasing the unhappy player’s contract; cannot be in dire straits.

    The Vieira situation is a mirror of the Cesc situation. Now we are hearing the usual howls of some Gooners claiming ‘Sell Cesc for £50 million and use the money to sign such and such’.

    As long as Arsene Wenger is in charge, that money will never be used. I am still to this day, waiting with bated breath to see what will happen to the £41 million we received from Manchester City for Kolo Toure and Manu Adebayor.

    Arsene Wenger is not doing the Arsenal job out of love and charity. He is remunerated to the tune of £6.5 million per year. He has not won a single trophy in six years and attempts to persuade the world that finishing top four – whilst managing the team with the third/fourth highest wage bill in the league – is an achievement. It is not an achievement. And when a manager is being paid more than Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola, you really need to begin to ask yourself what fact-based justification there can be for keeping him in his role. We are often asked by the AKBs ‘who would you replace him with?’

    blah blah blah blah

  58. Jim

    @Robin’s Choco Leg Special
    April 22, 2011 at 00:50

    A brilliant article. Can you provide the link to the source.

  59. Ebouédidit11

    Replace Arsene with Maureen.

    When Stan comes back after his Easter break, the 1st job he needs to do is ring Maureen. Any Gooner who turns their nose up at Maureen, please re read the article posted by Robins Choco Leg. Coz I can tell u this, he is desperate to manage back in England; he is a winner; & he would love to show up Arsene Wenger by winning the CL. Maureen could manage Arsenal to win the CL blind folded 😯

    Great article RCL,

    Get in Maureen 😛 Therefore Ebouedidit11 won’t have to go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Ebouedidit11.

    Whats that I hear you all say. Eboue can go to hell 😉 Why are people so unkind 🙁 I only put a bannana skin in the way of Arsenal’s Title hopes, Arsene has orchestrated the full catastrophe to all hope for 6 years 😆

  60. SUGA3

    Fernando Torres walks into a bar and says, “I’ll have a couple of shots please.”

    The barman says, “That’s not like you.”

  61. arsenal4ever

    I really hope Big Dave is right about Cahill. Not sure about Given. We need a world class GK to guide Chezzer. Adler from Leverkusen wouldnt be to bad imo.