Things are getting pretty bad at Arsenal right now.
Fan groups are rightly protesting the tepid end to a glorious opportunity of a season at Norwich. Journalists asked Wenger what the deal with that was, and he was furious.
“The club has very special values and one is to stick together and support the team – there is no success otherwise.”
Playing the values card, which is fine, but come on Arsene, we’ve stuck by this nonsense for long enough. He then started losing his way a bit….
“We lost the championship at home against lower teams, but we played sometimes at home in a very difficult climate. Away we are championship winners.”
The spin starts coming out. Blaming the home fans is beyond cheap. It’s a total copout.
Was it the home fans fault against Southampton when we missed a tonne of chances to bury them… or was it the fact Arsene didn’t invest in a world-class forward for the 3rd season running?
Against West Brom at home, when we took the lead? Was it the fans fault that the team lost all shape and conceded from a goal kick? Or was that Arsene’s fault for not having an Elneny in the side in July when everyone said that’s what needed to happen?
Finally, was it the fans fault when we couldn’t defend a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes to go against a terrible Palace, a game we totally dominated to the tune of 75% posession? I mean, which part of that needed more fan support?
Talk about away wins… what happened at West Ham when we couldn’t defend a two goal lead? How didn’t we bury Sunderland?
How about the first half of the season? How were the fans then? Or did our negativity only start to impact when the wheels came off at exactly the same time they usually do?
The atmosphere at the stadium isn’t great. It certainly hasn’t been great for the last few games, but there are reasons for that and reasons that are completely fair.
What I certainly haven’t seen from the players is the character and attitude that we’re seeing from the average Liverpool chaps. I’m not seeing the work rate we’re seeing from Spurs (from a manager in the job 1.5 years). I’m not seeing the never say die attitude of Leicester City (a team that spent most of last season in the relegating zone). So how Wenger can say the below is beyond me?
“I tell you, this team has character and attitude. Some people who question them, I know them well – they have less character than this team has. I saw them play, and even know them very closely, and they should not question the character of these players.”
“There are some groups of people that try to manipulate our fans, but I believe apart from a personal agenda and a big ego there’s not a lot behind [the criticism].”
That whole quote is exactly why you should be worried about next year.
Wenger is in a moment where he needs to come out and own up to his failings. This is the time to say, look, players are fighting for their future, because this season has not been good enough. This is not the time to defend the characterless. This is not the time to poke holes in the people that have stuck by your side so hard, it’s generally a bit of an embarrassment globally. That last line, about the ego of others, and there not being much behind the criticism shows you how f*cked this whole situation is.
Wenger is cocooned in his own little world. He watches 1000s of hours of football and still can’t work out that what he’s doing is never going to bear fruit. When he says the criticism is wrong, it’s not him being defensive, that’s him being righteous. He genuinely thinks the fans are the issue. Just like two seasons ago when he thought hair pills were the cause of injuries. Or when it took him 8 years to work out why he had so many injuries. Or when it took him 10 years to sign a world class keeper. Or when it took an accident to work out having a destroyer in midfield might help our shape.
The worst thing is Wenger will have all the advice he needs to make good on these problems in-house, but he’s a dictator who has won things… so he has no interest in moving things forward at the expense of control, and more importantly, HIS ego.
It was an embarrassing press conference. He’s a man out of control. He should leave.
The fans are right to protest. They should make a big scene. The club and the world should know that his performance and attitude is not acceptable. Stan Kroenke is a terrible owner around the globe for all his teams. But you know what, the money is there to spend and Wenger isn’t spending it. The resource is there for to hire the best and listen to them, but he doesn’t. There is enough white papers and scripture out there to update his knowledge of the modern game, but he ignores it.
Wenger is a dinosaur with a spear wedged in his side… problem is, he’s a big powerful dinosaur, and he’s not going to down easily. Little arrows like performance don’t impact him. Failings in Europe he can brush aside. Can he dodge a fan protest? Sure, but it’s another spike his side the club will have to consider and it might be a spike that leads to him not getting that new 3 year deal.
For me, that alone is enough to merit the loudest of all protest.
Right, that’s me done, happy Friday sweet things.