Arsene Wenger is like a vinyl record on skip. You could plot his press conferences across the year quite accurately. In fact, I think we wrote one in December laying out the usual programme of lies, followed by injured players being new players, followed by total satisfaction with a poor squad.
“I have always said we have two targets – to get our players signed up and to get our injuries back,”
“We now have Rosicky and Diaby available again. If you look at our squad, it’s quite complete but we still work in the transfer market as well.
“We do not want to bring in average players. We only want to bring in an exceptional player. At the moment we have not found him.
“You are always under pressure to buy in England and every problem has to be sorted out by buying people.
“You have other ways to sort out problems inside a club like getting your injured players back, getting everybody focused and motivated. It’s not only in buying players that you sort out problems.”
Oh come on Arsene! You’ve played out this press conference so many times before! It’s making you a laughing stock. Sure, Abou Diaby coming back into the side is lovely, but he’s never, ever managed more than 34 games in a season. Perhaps Wenger should take a degree in statistics… guys, that’s the practice or science of collecting and analysing numerical data in large quantities. This is course number one… we’ll start with small quantities of data.
Those number above are the sum quantitiy of starts Abou Diaby has managed over the last 8 seasons. That’s 107 for the less numerate. Over the course of his career, how many club starts does that average?
He manages 13 starts a season. That means, he’s currently costing us about £260k a game. So when Arsene Wenger says we have injured players coming back and buying isn’t the answer, what the hell is he talking about? Thomas Rosicky is barely any better off statistically. He’s averaged 16 starts a season over the last 6 years. I didn’t take internationals out of his numbers.
Sure, they’re ok players… but come on, it’s not Patrick and Bobby coming back into the fold.
Needless to say, for a manager who earns enough money to resource the cost of a spreadsheet he really is found wanting once again in the logic department. You don’t sort out Arsenal’s problems with inconsistent injury prone players. You don’t sort out an average keeper by ignoring the fact he might need competition. You don’t sort out the defence by ignoring the elephant in the room that they might not be good enough. You don’t solve a striker shortage by selling one. You don’t sort out the mental and physical fatigue you place on your players by not buying players…
The only solution Wenger hasn’t tried is bringing in top quality players.
“I can tell you something, we have no problem with people wanting to join us. I would like to give you my phone for 24 hours, and you would see that.
“The second thing, can we afford them? Most of them, yes. A few of them, no. Can you afford Messi today? Certainly not. But we can afford 90 per cent of them.
“If you look at our squad, it’s quite complete. We still work on the transfer market as well. We do not want to bring in average. We only want to bring in an exceptional player. At the moment we have not found him.”
Comments like the above make things even worse. Can we afford Messi? A total irrelevance. City can afford him, but he’s not going to leave Barcelona any time soon… they give him all he needs on the money front and all he needs on the football front. No one ever calls for Messi. His insistence on exagerrating what fans actually ask for is embarrassing. If we can afford 90% of players on the market, is Arsene saying that none of that 90% could make us a better team? No one out there could help us to more points, or give us more quality depth?
Jose Mourinho is right. There is no pressure on Wenger to win things. There’s no pressure on his job. That’s why he’s so arrogant. That’s why he looks at the squad and doesn’t really worry about what it needs to compete. Wenger is more fussed about proving the world wrong when it comes to spending money. Winning trophies is important to him, but only if they’re won on his terms. He wants to be the guy who overturned City on a comparatively low budget. He’s obsessed with this. That’s the legacy he wants. Trophies on his terms, no matter how flawed the appraoch is. For me, that’s quite a selfish approach to football management. People moan about the now, now, now culture… it could be ten years until we see another trophy… how does that sit with people? You only live once. Our long term investment of money and patience shows no sign of paying off.
I’d rather see a manager with a new project, with new ideas, with new press conference soundbites, than sit through every transfer window complaining about the same things… with the season ending in exactly the same way. Wenger has no fresh ideas. We’re into the 7th year of Wenger denial. We’re not progressing. If you’re not progressing in the game, you’re regressing.
He has money for transfers. He has money for wages. He has money for a modern backroom team. He has world class training facilities. He has players who want to join. He has a core of players who could do great things.
So what’s the problem? Are there any Wenger apologists left? How can anyone defend his approach?
Anyway, we’ve got an important game tomorrow. Our only recognised striker is looking good for fitness. Hopefully Theo Walcott can prove that he’s the real deal. Hopefully the team will snap out of their Christmas coma.
A lot of hope, but if I’m ever confident of a performance, it’s in the big games.
More of a preview tomorrow.
P.S. I did an interview for the @Arsenal_Brasil guys… if you’ve been coming to this site for 5 years not understanding a word because you’re Brazilian, it’s translated. I heard your problems and addressed them.