Goooood morning. Fresh back into a misery pool I’m afraid my darlings.
Arsene Wenger-gate ramped up a gear yesterday when Telegraph journalist, Matt Law, dropped a quite astonishing article about insider dissent from the Arsenal players and backroom staff.
‘Arsenal players and staff are becoming increasingly mystified by the decision-making of manager Arsene Wenger as they now face a fight to make sure the club’s season does not completely fall apart.’
The article goes on to say that staff and players questioned the days off he’s been giving the players, they’ve been baffled by the continued inclusion of Gabriel and they were confused about Petr Cech not returning to the side for West Ham and yet more confusion rained down over using Ramsey to chase a game we were losing.
I mean, if you want more things to be confused about Arsenal backroom team… I can give you a massive list as long as your arm.
I think this sort of takedown on the manager is new. I’ve never read sources leaking about Wenger like this. I’ve spoken to plenty of people close to the club who have mentioned the obvious issues, but Wenger runs a tight ship. Great thing is that if people are talking, it’s because they can smell the end. Any pressure that goes his way in the press is a chink in the invincible armour he previously wore with dictator like arrogance.
It is crazy though. The absolute apathy I feel for this situation. I saw the tickets on sale for the next game, unreal amounts. So well played Charles Allen, people are using your Ticket Exchange (96% success rate apparently), just a bit sorry that they’re using it so enthusiastically because our manager is a car crash.
It’s a weird situation. The club won’t fire him. It’s like Wenger has earned himself a forever contract for doing wonders during the barren days. Now no one will tell him the game is up. So the club are waiting on him to make the right decision. Trouble is, he has nothing else in his life bar football. It’s a solitary life he lives. If he quits the day job, what will he do?
… and sorry for the sob story. But I genuinely find it sad how he’s in this situation. Then I remember the cash money, baller ass Brazilian girls he plays volleyball with and the dictatorial power he levels over a club that can’t sack him.
Someone put a question to me yesterday, would you take 4th place and Champions League, or 5th and Wenger leaving. I don’t know about you, but my god would I run at that 5th place if that meant and end to Arsene’s tenure.
4th place perpetuates more Wenger. It raises the very real issue of another 3 year deal, it would continue to split the fanbase (which is interestingly now fans vs the club, rather than each other) and it’ll lead to yet more decay.
Then you think about 4th place and what it actually means. Another year of Champions League football. But what use is that? Is it prestigious to continually fail at something? Is it useful to hoard in prize money we don’t use to progress the club? Is it elevating us in any way as a football club?
Arguably no to all of those questions. And you can bitch that it’s great fun watching us get tanked by Barcelona and I’m sure those away days are great (really, they’re not though, are they?). But look, fans don’t turn up for the group stage games as it is. Also worth noting that the prize money has been levelled by the monstrous TV deal cash and smaller clubs are showing you don’t need it (Spurs and Leicester).
Answer me this Arsenal fans, and be honest. If Arsenal lost out on Champions League and the manager was replaced by Diego Simeone, how many of you would be sad at the loss of Champions League football?
Hardly anyone. We’d be thrilled by the new vision in town. And that’s what football is about, being thrilled and I’m sorry, but there’s not enough of that going on at Arsenal these days.
Who is more excited this summer? Arsenal fans or Liverpool fans? Liverpool fans. They have a charismatic leader, their players are fighting way above their pay station and there’s a freshness at the club.
Look at us, sitting in 4th and our fans aren’t showing for the games. The players can’t be arsed. I mean, you only have to look at the performances of names like Ozil to see how checked out they are. It’s a shambles. We’re 1-0 up with 10 to go and the players can’t sit on the lead. Why is that? Is it because they’re focused. Or is it a sign of a deep lack of discipline where stupid behaviour isn’t punished or rectified? Would any of the legendary back four have let Bellerin bomb on like that? Of course not. So why when one of those legends is back at the club is that ruthless discipline not being transferred to the starting 11? One would have to think Arsene isn’t a massive fan of that way of thinking.
Wenger should be surrounding himself with the best in the business. He should be building an incredible team of visionaries around him. Trailblazers in fitness, tactics, data and coaching. He should be letting them run the show, with him there checking boxes and making sure everything looks sound. Not micro-managing like it’s the late nineties.
So back to my point, why would anyone, now we’re monstrously secure as a club, care a hoot about Champions League? Making 4th place, perversely, is holding us back as a club and even worse, it could doom us to an even more miserable three-year extension. Also, remember, that by making 4th place, we’ve just handed Wenger another excuse not to make major signings. And you’re back where you started again, set up for failure.
Taking this to tennis, I remember listening to Federer talk about how he had a weak backhand in his early career. He could have been successful with one of the best forehands, but he knew he wanted to be great. He basically spent a whole season forcing himself to become the best backhander in the game at the cost of trophies. But after the rough patch, he the most complete player in the game and he won it all. Arsenal could benefit the same way. Sometimes you have to go down to come back up.
The right thing to do is always want your club to do well. And I do. Which is why I champion Wenger moving on. Hypothetically, if that was at the expense of Champions League, I wouldn’t care, because I’d be excited about Arsenal again. And I know I’m not in a minority with that view. Also worth noting plenty of clubs have been through transitions. It’s not as scary as you think.
Chelsea sacked Di Matteo 7 months after winning the Champions League, and Mourinho in similar time post Premier League win. Barcelona fans are lambasting Messi in his car after a third straight loss, no doubt Enrique will be gone if he fucks La Liga. West Ham moved on Sam Allardyce because they believed in more than just survival. Liverpool shipped out Brendan Rodgers when they caught the slightest whiff of Jurgen Klopp. Manchester City resigned the comparatively successful Pellegrini when Guardiola came onto the market. Spurs dumped Tim ‘mighty records broken’ Sherwood. Leicester sacked Nigel Pearson, for, errr, Ranieri? They all did it for progress.
So what are Arsenal doing? What are they waiting for? Jump and make the move, because look, things aren’t getting any better. I can promise you that. The fans know the drill, the Arsenal corporate team know the drill, the players know it’s over and now we’re hearing the backroom staff are equally as deflated.
Time to do something revolutionary. Yes, it’s time to ask an underperforming manager to leave. Get in a new man, clear out the deadwood, build out a lean squad, make it smart and kick onto better days.
Can you imagine?