No idea whether this is from the same press conference as yesterday, or whether it’s just the bits the journo’s held back, but Arsene Wenger continued his defence of himself, this time using the backdrop of history to drive him his point.
“I would also like to remind you that if we win the game against West Brom, we are third in the league and, if you look at the history of the club over 140 years and its consistency, you will see there’s no shame in that — even if we are not happy with it.”
I mean, jeez, what a basic comment to make. It’s all part of the act though. Wenger has been the master of reframing failure for years. I actually think he should be reframing his issues over the course of his own career. Go back 15 years and ask whether what is happening under the same manager with unreal resources is good enough.
‘It’s a strange league this year and it might announce more strange years, and more strange leagues, in the future. Some teams who have more competitions [to compete in] suffer a bit against the teams who really are focused and defend very well.’
‘In England now, the Premier League teams will all have more potential to buy good players. At the top level — top Premier League — the difference will be down to small margins, maybe more than ever.”
The comments go on and on. The thing with his last comment on margins is that Arsene doesn’t understand marginal gains. He does very little to make a difference anywhere. He doesn’t push anything he does to the extreme. His pressing game is almost non-existent and certainly doesn’t resemble a philosophy that’s well thought out. His transfer policy, once a massive advantage has flagged badly over the years. His tactical vision is contained to maybe, what, two shapes that he switches between during the year?
If Wenger thinks the game is about marginal gain, what is he doing to make up the margins? I mean, if the margin were wide the season before, did he think signing zero outfield players was going to help?
Also, if it’s about players, and other teams are beating us because they are buying better ones, what is he doing there?
You can stand up and preach that Arsenal fans should be grateful about floating around the top 4, but in years gone by, top four didn’t mean anything. The top one is all that mattered. The only thing that matters about the top four is Europe, which really, is a total indulgence because we can’t win it. We’ve not made a quarter final in 6 years when teams like Apoel, Spurs and Porto have.
Actually, come to think of it, George Graham missed out on top 4, what, twice in during tenure?
Another of his charges pointed that teams like Leicester and Spurs don’t play as many games as us. I’m having trouble explaining to my Spurs and Leicester pals the concept of fatigue. They don’t understand the impact Champions League will have on injuries. Both teams above us flog the same team over and over again. The big test for them whether they can build out a squad with enough depth and quality to manage both competitions. My guess is no and they’ll pay the price.
Anyway, point for me is that we are in the Champions League, we’ve been dining out on the cash for years and what has it landed us? If we were out of the Champions League, we’d probably be much better in the league because we’d have time to prepare, we’d have less injuries and we’d be fresher. We’d have a better chance, but I still wonder if we’d take it.
It’s besides the point. The issue is that Wenger has the resources and the funds to be challenging for both, but he doesn’t. Then he wonders why we’re upset?
I just find his arrogance staggering. Digging out the fans, making out they’re making emotional rash decisions, rather than decisions that have been a culmination of ten years. I’d imagine the PR team wince every time he opens his mouth.
But, the only way this ends is when he decides. Will Stan have the guts not to give him a new 3 year deal? I very much doubt it. That’s the savage nightmare behind all of this… Wenger could decide he wants a forever contract and we’d dish it out to him. Because we’re a weak club that doesn’t empower people in the know… we empower a fading force with a choice on his own destiny.
It’s unreal that any club could sit in this situation… but it is what it is.
West Brom later, but who cares? Plenty of empty seats today. I hope the club feel it. It’s apathy. It’s boredom. It’s being tired of a man who just doesn’t know when to call it a day.
Right, enjoy the match wherever you may be.