So here we are, the elusive board meeting. Wenger rolls into battle with… errr… basically no one.
Well, that’s how I’d imagine it’ll happen. He is king, he has the leverage now. He will reign victorious, of that, there is no doubt.
Does he deserve a new deal? My word no.
3 FA Cups in 4 years is wonderful, but the objectives of the club have shifted. Don’t kid yourself the FA Cup is elite. That’s Jose Mourinho like PR.
We moved stadium to kick into the upper echelons of world football. We wanted to see progress in the major competitions. We wanted to see Arsenal actually challenge for the league. We didn’t move to be a very good cup team.
In the last three years, since Wenger last signed into a deal he didn’t deserve, we’ve seen:
Leicester pip us to the league by 10 points
We’ve seen Chelsea win under Mourinho, fall to 10th, then come back and win it under a new manager in Antonio Conte (beating us by 18 points)
We’ve seen Spurs challenge twice, on half the wage budget we’ve had
We’ve seen Liverpool hit top 4 in their first full season under a good manager.
Arsenal dropped out of the Champions League last 16 3 times in a row. We’d done exactly the same thing 4 times before that. The last three seasons have seen us concede 18 goals in the 6 last 16 games (for regression context, in the previous 4 games we went out at the same stage, we only conceded 14 goals < ONLY)
Our average points total over the last three years of Wenger is 73.6 points. The previous 3 years before that was 74. The previous 3 years before that was 71.5. You have to go back a full 18 years to find the last time a team won the league with sub 80 points (United 99). We haven’t broken 80 points for ten years (CFC just won the league with 93)
We’re now out of the top 4. We only made the top 5 because Mourinho made a strategic decision to blow the final 6 games of the season to avoid the ignominy of Europa League football.
As of December (because I’m lazy and can’t be arsed to add up the latest) Arsenal’s league results at Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Soton over last five years were: P 33, W 5, D 11, L 17
Our away form against teams in the top 10 saw us play 9, lose 6, draw 2 and win 1. The only team we beat was Southampton when the season was over. Odd that the beastly atmosphere the fans created for the home games seemed to impact away games harder.
In short: Arsene Wenger has overseen a very average disaster over the last 3 years, if the title was the aim (which he’s on record as saying it was). I’m not even sure why it’s seen as palatable. We’re not progressing in the league. We’re not progressing the CL. Those are the facts.
What the board need to be asking themselves is this… does one FA Cup game against Chelsea tell you anything about Wenger’s ability to drive the club forward? Is Wenger the right man to build a team to take us to European glory?
If the answer is yes, why?
Because the statistics do not look very good to me. Wenger can’t even hide behind wages and transfer budgets now, because he’s had plenty.
Fact is, Arsene Wenger is bottom of the pile when it comes to elite managers. He is being outmuscled by younger men with smaller wage bills, worse players, and smaller transfer budgets.
You can’t even argue he’s good for business. Commercials are stagnating because you can’t sell elite average to sponsors and our wage bill is up there with City’s and double that of Spurs.
… and here’s the kicker for me. The fans relationship with the manager is broken. His carry on before the game was disgraceful. He put a shadow over the FA Cup build up by making it about himself. Even after the game, it was wild to me that he thought that was his platform to grandstand about how awful the paying supporter has been.
He does that because he’s deluded. He believes he’s doing a good job. He thinks Arsenal is his toy and no one else is entitled to an opinion unless it’s a positive one he likes.
Don’t fall for the ‘he’s class’ act. If he were class, he’d bow out graciously, recognising the time is up. He’s a megalomaniac. The only person he cares about is himself. The only thing that matters to him is the absolute power he’s afforded at the club. The reality is, despite the FA Cup win, he’s not serious about winning things. Because if he was, he’d have made the changes necessary to compete years ago.
Same staff. Same approach. Same mistakes. Same outcome.
Wenger is regression.
The FA Cup was amazing. I blew a lot of money to be there. I’ll never forget it, and it’ll go down as one of the greatest experiences of my life.
But it wasn’t progress. It was a flimsy silver plaster on another broken 3 years. Wenger should be told there’s no deal today.
He won’t though. He’ll be rewarded by an owner who will make a snap judgement based on a party in the Wembley sun.
That’s not elite sporting mentality. That’a why we’ll lose Sanchez. That’s why we’re going to have a tough time this summer attracting star names. That’s why next season will be no better than this one.
It’s very sad to be buckling up for more of the same, even more depressing so many are slipping back into the same old routine of hope that has proven so fruitless again.
See you in the comments.
UPDATE: We’re recording The AO pod tonight and we want yours. How do you feel about AW contract news? Leave VM -> +442038686265 (keep it punchy)