Wenger gives players fatigue pass for Atleti

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I’m lapping up the hottakes on whether Arsenal can win the Europa League. Ballague reckons there are some positives, mostly highlighting that they have a threadbare squad and have had some issues defensively. Dennis Wise reckons we have a good chance, I’m struggling to take him seriously.

I think the biggest worry is Wenger teeing up the press with excuses before we’ve started. His line of attack is focused on player fatigue. If we go to the final, it’ll be 61 odd games this season.

“Fatigue is a little bit of a concern,” said Wenger. “You look at [Manchester] City and they look a bit like that in the second half of games recently. I do rotate much as I can. Unfortunately, some players have to play all the games.

“It is very difficult. Not only are you physically very jaded but also you are under huge pressure each time to win the game. It is mentally maybe tougher than physically.”

I’m struggling to buy this. Arsenal had the luxury of one game a week most of the season. The League Cup wasn’t a priority until the final. The FA Cup failed at the first hurdle. The Europa League has been a second string affair until the knockouts.

Not only that. It’s also worth noting we have a £200m squad propping up this half-baked campaign. We shouldn’t be putting up excuses around fatigue. Wenger shouldn’t be giving the players a pass we know they’re more than capable of taking. The manager should be firing up our chances in the press, not trying to craft a plucky underdog narrative.

I think he knows this is going to be very, very tough. He has to hedge his bets, and hope Josh and Stan are so ignorant about this season, they take his excuses and let him have another go next season. In my humble opinion, I really think the best we’ll land out of this is maybe a one leg victory… or going out on away goals.

Still, it’s hard to gauge what this means for his future. Jeremy Wilson ran an article with a title suggesting his career is on the line, but had no substance in the body copy. It’s telling that the only two journos with skin in the game on his future are Honigstein and Laurens who both say he’s staying.

If Wenger goes out to Atleti, there is no story. There are no excuses. It has to be over.

Unreal that it likely won’t be. If you haven’t seen the Juve doco on Netflix, I implore you to do so. It’s a bit cheesy/American, but damn, it’s good. It shows the absolute gulf between Arsenal and Juve. As a club, we have no culture for winning. There is no pressure. When you watch how seriously the Italians take it, it’s inspiring. All the players talk about the immense levels of pressure placed on them to succeed. The CEO has the players in his garden in preseason and he lays down the law about expectations.

Can you imagine Ivan doing that?

The next manager can’t just be a great thinker, he has to be a change agent. Someone who can create a new culture at the club, stump out the averageness, and regear us for the next 10 years.

Allegri would be perfect. The right age, fantastic experience and a huge presence.

We can but dream…

(written in an iPhone on the red eye)

839 Responses to “Wenger gives players fatigue pass for Atleti”

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  1. Chika

    Oh I found it.

    PaulinhoApril 12, 2018 20:44:58
    Welbeck really is an exceptional footballer when near full fitness.

    Oh dear, I guess Wenger is not alone in this ”clueless” act.

  2. champagne charlie


    Further evidence of your response to criticism.

    It wasn’t a like for like comparison with Ferguson, just the notion he wouldn’t have achieved the same without the class of 92 in the same way Wenger wouldn’t have without the ‘back 5’.

    It was pointing out the senselessness in your assertion, but of course that was lost on you. Carry on with your head in the sand.

  3. Dissenter

    There was a time when Wenger would have been considered to be the amongst the best managers in the world.
    He could have moved unto any top jobs and would have been sacked after 1-2 seasons.
    Instead he stayed at Arsenal and embedded himself into the emotional fabric of the club. he became part of the lore that people tell. It helps when your first name is Arsene and you’re managing a club called Arsenal.
    He was helped by the changes at the board level. He ingratiated himself into the good grace of the football novice American. The rest is history.

    Wenger used to be a top manager until somewhere between 2006-2009.
    To say otherwise is unnecessarily silly, it doesn’t even deserve a legrove argument.

  4. Paulinho

    Charlie – Dear god you are dense.

    Wenger inherited the Graham players, whereas Ferguson himself had a massive hand in making sure that 92 crop came together the way it did. Beckham and co were ten years old when Ferguson took over in 1986.

    Not remotely comparable. Try again.

  5. Dissenter

    The difference between success and failure is often fine margins
    Wenger could have succeeded in doing a proper rebuild had we not collapsed at St Andrews on Feb 23, 2008. We would have won the league with a very young team that would have gone unto do big things.

    That day and the CL final in Paris on May 17, 2006 are the two dates that negatively defined Wenger’s Arsenal story.

  6. alexanderhenry

    Let’s all get some perspective here.

    The argument that Wenger was successful early on only because he inherited ‘The Back Four’ is a bogus one.

    When Mourinho took over at Chelsea he inherited Terry, Lampard, Makelele and overall, a pretty damn good squad.
    Remember they finished runners up and were CL semi finalists the season before under Ranieri.

    When he moved to Inter he inherited the best squad in Italy- they won the league there I think three seasons in a row.

    ..similar scenario at Real Madrid.

    When Guardiola took over at Barcelona he inherited one of the best squads ever, including one of the best players ever.

    When he moved to Bayern he inherited the best squad in a one horse german league.

    We can see what he inherited at city- Silva, Aguerro, Kompany, de bruyne etc

    You can apply the same to other ‘elite’ coaches such as Ancelotti.

    The Invincibles were pretty much a complete wenger team, so fair dues there.

    It’s very difficult to find an example of a league winning side that’s been put together by a single coach.
    The only example I can think of is Fergie.

  7. champagne charlie


    You’re like a child mate, it’s boring. Always reducing things to dick measuring and quips about intelligence.

    I don’t need to try again, it’s there in plain English – explanation in tow. Crack on, you’re clearly an intellectual of superior proportion.

  8. Micheal

    Just consider the following:

    With 5 games still to go, Arsenal sit 33 points behnd Man City. The goal difference is 51.

    Ivan, can you run that “Catlayst of change” speech past us once more time please.

  9. gnarleygeorge9


    I scrambled around on my iPad, found a pretty decent stream of the game, just to watch a load of, how you say in England, old bollocks. But hey, I only had to turn the stream off & roll over & go to sleep, unlike the away supporters who have gone the entire calander year not even watching The Arse get a point.

    The sad thing about all this is that there are still fans devoted to the aging, dysfunctional gaffer, as well as Board members or alike who still can’t bring themselves to the conclusion that Arsene Wenger is finished.

  10. champagne charlie


    Indeed, debunked Paulinho’s “logic” in one post.

    Wenger inherited a good back 5, fantastic. He still displayed excellent managerial ability to turn them into further successes. The idea the players ‘managed themselves’ is peddled by bs merchants.

  11. Paulinho

    Charlie – Yeah an explanation of your inability to stick to the actual argument and prove my point, over and over again.

  12. Michael24

    No one is disputing that Wenger brought something different to the table.

    What is 100% clear though, is that the players he inherited were the real leaders and winners and ultimately made Wenger’s job so much easier.

    Once they left the scene, Wenger’s limitations became evident.

    He is not, and never has been, a great manager.

  13. champagne charlie


    Go on then mate, bs aside because I’m frankly bored of those type of interactions on here.

    What are you stating re: Wenger in his first decade? Be plain, and I’ll chuck in my 2 cents, no quips or fuckery. Let’s start over.

  14. Paulinho

    “When he moved to Inter he inherited the best squad in Italy- they won the league there I think three seasons in a row.”

    Absolutely useless in Europe though, so close but no cigar.

  15. Paulinho

    Charlie – I’ve already gone over it. If you could comprehend any sort of basic english or argument then that would already be apparent.

  16. Danish Gooner

    I told you in october of 2017 that i thaught we would end up around 40 points behind the winner we are now 33 points behind City and still 5 games to go i may add,it is an utter disgrace,if it had been the steeple chase we would be riding the 3 legged horse.You simply can not explain or give any excuse for finsihing so far behind with all the resources we have available no money how little or how much can expaling the utter ineptitude we have showed in this campaign,finishing behind city is not a disgrace but being humiliated and totally obliterated is.

  17. Paulinho

    Wenger’s team’s biggest weaknesses.

    Graham’s team’s biggest strengths.

    Umm……. Le’t see if that makes things somewhat clearer to understand.

  18. Redtruth

    Chelsea had no need to sack Ranieri as they came close to winning the league in Abramovich’s first season.

    They also knocked Arsenal out of the Champions league.

    Chelsea’s spending power ensured they had the best players in the league..

  19. alexanderhenry


    Not sure how the CL final was such a defining moment of failure- although we lost.

    Down to ten men from 18 minutes against a pretty fantastic Barca side and we almost still did it.

    It’s the rapid dismantling of that squad over the following couple of seasons that ‘s the real failure for me. Arsenal cashed in on the older players in the squad while they were still worth something. They should have kept hold of them like Fergie did with Giggs and Scholes.
    Instead arsenal adopted a weird and counterproductive policy of not offering players over thirty a contract longer than one year.

    What really strikes me is this:


    Eboue Toure Campbell Cole

    Pires Gilberto Fabregas Hleb



    How much better is that side than our current one?

  20. alexanderhenry


    ..and Mourinho inherited Terry and Lampard. With those two in your team that makes the whole leadership thing a lot simpler.

  21. Redtruth

    Wenger’s 20 year record in Europe is terrible and proves he had no answer throughout his tenure when it came to outsmarting teams of quality…

  22. Redtruth

    Wenger had the best players domestically during his first 7 years but when it came to Europe where tactics is a prerequisite for success he was found wanting time and time again

  23. Danish Gooner

    Especially the Europa league Final in my home town Copenhagen,a dreadful game of game manship by hagi and the turks,they fell over as soon as the were slightly touched but we never got going in that game either and Henry hitting the goal post was our biggest chance.

  24. Emiratesstroller

    The main concern for me is not whether Arsenal underperformed in last 10-12
    years, but what is happening now.

    This season we have conceded almost 70 goals in all competitions and for a team with our resources that is unforgivable. The fact that we have won just 3 games away from home tells you where we stand in the EPL pecking and vulnerable to almost every team in relegation zone says everything that you need
    to know about the calibre of both the management,coaches and playing personnel.

    An intelligent manager would have recognised the problem and spent hours
    in training attempting to put the house in order. By all accounts nothing has been done to remedy the situation.

    When you see Chambers lumbering up the field and leaving the right flank of
    our defence exposed it tells you everything that you need to know about the
    current situation.

  25. Champagne charlie


    It’s a miles better side because of balance for me.

    We had the right parts of the squad drenched in talent, but it was like that front to back.

    Plus the era of football was different then and we were far more in tune with what it took to be competitive and successful.

  26. Marko

    Wenger’s team’s biggest weaknesses.Graham’s team’s biggest strengths

    To be fair the last great defence Wenger had was kind of the one he inherited from Graham. Certainly the last consistent one. The only decent defender he’s signed over the years was probably Campbell. There’s been so many duds over the years it’s like he doesn’t know how to spot a good defender or perhaps more likely he doesn’t put any emphasis on that area that he doesn’t care about it really.

  27. UTarse

    12 year old,
    “shocking performance all around,fail to see how a new manager can improve these lot”

    If any needed proof that you were a troll (a fucking dim one at that), the above pretty much cleared up any confusion.

  28. Dissenter

    “The only decent defender he’s signed over the years was probably Campbell. ”

    You forgot Kolo Toure, who was part of the invisibles and would go unto play for City and Liverpool.
    You also left out Lauren who was a damn good defender too.

  29. alexanderhenry

    Keown and Wrighty just exasperated by Arsenal on MOTD.
    They didn’t even want to discuss arsenal’s performance.

  30. Marko

    You forgot Kolo Toure, who was part of the invisibles and would go unto play for City and Liverpool.
    You also left out Lauren who was a damn good defender too.

    I was more specifying CB’s to be honest. There’s was a good period there where he signed really good full backs Lauren was great Sagna was probably the last good one. Toure was good long time since him and Sol though. And even then our attack had to bail out the defence at times

  31. Elmo

    Keown actually just said that “it’s a fact” that playing Thursday and Sunday impacts on performances, completely ignoring that our first team didn’t play a minute of EL football until mid-February, at which point we were effectively out of 4th place contention.

    How many people will keep making baseless excuses for Wenger?

  32. Charlie Nick

    Dissenter 22:15- Kolo Toure part of The Invisibles’ All of our defence are ‘invisibles’ now!
    Did anyone read the article on Debuchy today. Pulling up trees at st etienne. How he couldnt get a game in this back 4 is mind boggling.

  33. Emiratesstroller

    Reflecting last night on Arsenal’s appalling defensive record this season we have focussed perhaps too much on the performance of individual players and not enough on the lack of investment in this segment of team.

    When you look at Wenger’s transfer policies in the 21st Century we have spent minimal sums on defenders. Apart from Mustafi all the transfers for centre and full backs plus goalkeepers have cost £10 million and under.

    It is therefore hardly surprising that Arsenal continue to build such poor defences when you keep on looking for bargains in this department rather than
    players of proven quality.

  34. Emiratesstroller

    Sorry I forgot Chambers who cost more, but is no better than £10 million player.

    Arsenal’s entire goalkeeper and defensive squad cost less than Liverpool spent
    on Van Dijk and Man City spent this season on their back division.

  35. Michael24


    Have you ever heard the saying –

    “If you have an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters, eventually all the great novels will be written”.

    At AFC we have another saying –

    “If you purchase an infinite number of bargain bucket players and you have one clueless dickhead of a manager, you’re basically fcuked!!

    There are better defences in the Championship and Leagues 1 and 2, so try not to defend Wenger by saying Arsenal purchased “bargains”.

  36. Michael24

    At Southampton, Chambers was progressing.

    He came to Arsenal , he regressed.

    He went to Middlesbro, started to look good again.

    Came back to Arsenal, went backwards………again!

    There is a pattern here, don’t you think?

    Doesn’t take too much intelligence to see where the problem lies.

  37. Michael24

    It is such a glorious and wonderful feeling to be associated with the most embarrassing football club in world football.

    My son, who is currently in Copenhagen, met a group of Football supporters at a bar last week. When my son said he supported Arsenal, they all laughed.

    Oh yes, how proud he felt!

  38. Emiratesstroller

    For interest this is how much money the top 6 clubs invested in their defence
    in this seasons transfer windows.

    Man City £222.75 Million [5 players]
    Liverpool £ 79.02 Million [2 players]
    Chelsea £72.00 Million [3 players]
    Spurs £70.20 Million [3 players]
    Man Utd £31.50 Million [1 player]
    Arsenal £1.89 Million [1 player]

    I think that this is a fair summary of how much importance Arsenal under Wenger attaches to defending.

  39. Michael24

    ES and @ Pedro

    Great stats!

    Surely between all the bloggers on here, a summarised communication could be forwarded to AFC highlighting all these visible deficiencies in the system.

    From Le Grove to Arsene Wenger.

    What’s the worse that could happen.

    Ever thought about it Pedro?

  40. Michael24


    Good morning!

    Always nice to hit a nerve.

    To be honest, I don’t give a toss if you find my posts boring.

    Your take on matters doesn’t exactly set the place alight.

  41. UTarse

    Little p,
    I’m glad you turned up, I was just recalling how you and your troll mate the 12 year old were ridiculing me for boycotting the stadium in my “lone crusade”….. looks like 15-20k other fans have joined my silly little boycott lately ? Who’s the mug now ? I guess that’s 20,000 more fraudulent fans on your hate list.

  42. Michael24


    Your inconsequential input is both tepid and embarrassing to most on here, apart, that is, for your wingman @ victorious.

    If I bore you, of all people, I know my points are getting across.

    The sun is shining, so it can’t be all bad.

  43. TonyD

    Welcome back from Untold Pierre. Have you renewed your nerve to come back to face the agessive WOBs?

    Funny how you go AWOL after a pathetic performance and loss. You left your puppy Vitoria floundering on his own here yesterday. Still his yapping made for great entertainment.

    Not sure whether to be flattered or dismayed by your comment to M24.

    However I need to have a modicum of respect for your opinions to be either.

    As I don’t any answer is irrelevant.

    Have a good day.

  44. Pierre


    Definately not a hate list but that’s fine by me if you want to continue to waste 4 grand a year on season tickets which is effectively paying the wages of the man you hate more than anyone in the world..

    Did you say “who’s the mug now” …..

  45. Dissenter

    You’re certainly on of the biggest clowns around here
    Tell me, why are Michael 24’s posts boring?

    Keep up the good work running interference for Wenger.

  46. Pierre

    Watched the game then straight to the golf course and then a drink in the bar , perfect day ,except for the result .

    You should try taking up a sport instead of your hobby of pumping iron in your 100 acre gym..

    Geriatrics like you shouldn’t really be embarrassing yourself in that manner but each to their own I suppose ….

  47. David Smith

    Michael24, Wengers coaching has a lot to answer for.
    Multiple reports and statements from ex players how he refuses to let specialists coach the defence, just himself or his yes men.
    Fair play to the likes of Kos who is his peak became a half decent defender, because the clubs coaching structure clearly didn’t help him.
    A pretty well known story from a few years back , on one rare occasion, Wenger had to miss training to be over in France, and instead of letting his then, new assistant manager Steve Bould take training, he insisted on dinosaur fitness coach Tony Colbert train them instead. He was clearly fearful Bould might actually be able to tell them a thing or two about defending.
    Other stories of how players would come and have to ask for more defensive work and other forms of coaching. Believe I read Wenger would sometimes relent, but always go back to his old ways.

  48. Dissenter

    In Debuchy, we had a player that could have provided Bellerin with real competition, instead Wenger picked one player above the other without creating an environment where proper intra-squad competition could take place.

    Bellerin has since regressed (or just never got better) and was rewarded with a lengthy 100k weekly contract. Bellerin can’t go past a player with a dribble or with pace, he can’t cross the ball nor defend. All he’s good for is doing silly interviews criticizing fan groups and dressing like a hippy.

    Bad squad management has been the hallmark of the Wenger’s pathetic stewardship. Everyone is suffering from Wenger; the club, the young player, the veteran player and the fans.

  49. Dissenter

    “Geriatrics like you shouldn’t really be embarrassing yourself in that manner but each to their own I suppose ….”

    Do you even read what you post?
    You do realize that the same petty insult could be easily extended to you.

  50. Pierre


    Michael 24 is just about a level down from j.o.e when it comes to repeating the same old shit day after day , hour after hour ,minute after minute …

    It says a lot about you that you are willing to ask the question “why is he boring” .

  51. Pierre


    It’s common knowledge that Tony is one the geriatric goons , it’s a term of endearment….Graham 62 was the other but he’s disappeared ( maybe he has come back as michael24)

  52. TonyD

    I wondered how they would let an old woman like you on a golf course, Pierre but then I realized you were referring to Crazy Golf.

    Clearly you have no understanding of what people do in a gym. I mix it up with strength training and HIIT.

  53. Biggles

    >April 15, 2018 20:57:25
    >“When he moved to Inter he inherited the best squad in Italy- they won the >league there I think three seasons in a row.”
    >Absolutely useless in Europe though, so close but no cigar.

    They won the bloody Champions League!

  54. Emiratesstroller

    This is no longer a case of just picking on the performance of one or two players,
    but they perform as a collective.

    A defence who concedes 70+ goals a season is not fit for purpose and that was
    already apparent last season.

    Arsenal as a club continues to be REACTIVE to problems rather than anticipate them. We have seen it not only in renewing contracts of Mertesacker and Cazorla, but also how we have handled contracts with Sanchez, Ozil, Ox,
    Wilshire and now Ramsey.

    This has been an ongoing problem for far too long. If the club is going to get
    out of this depressive situation then the starting point is to introduce a new
    broom by replacing the manager.

  55. Pierre

    “Clearly you have no understanding of what people do in a gym. I mix it up with strength training and HIIT.”

    Oh do you , that very interesting…

  56. mysticleaves

    “At no point did I say Wenger didn’t do a lot of good things during that period. Without him it wouldn’t have happened either. The combination of Wenger+Graham was an extremely potent one”

    This is true about every manager that had immediate success in his new club including Guardiola

  57. steve

    Talk about egg on the face for Pierre and his ilk. He was one of those idiots that said “let’s wait and see what happens, let’s give Wenger some more time” hahahaha.


    He’s talking about before Mourinho arrived.

  58. Leedsgunner

    “”But these players are quality and we need to forget about today and focus on the next game. ”

    Why are they quality if they have lost to a mid table team like Newcastle? Why must we forget the result? Shouldn’t we be learning from our mistakes?

    An another away loss and Wenger tries to come away from it by saying he is baffled by the fact they lost.

    We have the worst away record for any of our rivals and the sad thing is our Board allows Wenger to get away with it. He is the manager. He is paid millions to find out why and rectify the problem.

    Where is the accountability at this club?

  59. Biggles

    Yesterday was another rubbish day at the office. I’m genuinely hoping at this point that we finish behind Burnley, because it won’t make any difference to our season (we’re going to qualify for the Europa League one way or another since the FA cup will almost certainly be won by a top 5 team and the League Cup place is already going to a next-highest-in-league) but at the very least finishing behind Burnley will stop the excuses – we’re simply gash and directionless.

    People should have realised that the season we finished behind Leicester, but because they won the league, it goes down as a great sporting achievement (which to be fair, it is) but that glosses over us being gash and directionless. So in a regular service resumed type season, finishing behind Burnley shows us up.

  60. alexanderhenry


    You really shoudn’t be referring to people on here as ‘geriatrics’.

    My father is 86 and he can read the game better than you mate.

  61. Pierre


    I think stroller got it about right in highlighting the defence and the lack of investment in that area as a major reason for our demise in the league.

    As much as winning trophies and getting to cup finals is a very good achievement , our league form has got worst year on year and unless the defence and the defensive side of midfield are sorted we will not challenge for the title in the foreseeable future.

    This summers transfer window will be very interesting and telling because if we don’t strengthen in those areas we will not compete.

  62. Paulinho

    “They won the bloody Champions League!”

    Biggles – That was my point. Mourinho completely changed their fortunes in Europe when he took over.

  63. Leedsgunner


    The truth is Wenger has a pretty poor record in choosing good defenders. For every good defender chosen under Wenger one could name two or three duff ones. He has never seen defence as a priority.

    The best Arsenal defence under the Wenger were players he inherited from Graham… I’m sure we can agree on that!

  64. Leedsgunner

    To think Rioch was fired forthwith when he was in pretty much the same state as Wenger now.

    Wake up Ivan! Get your finger out!

  65. Pierre

    When you look back some of wengers buys defensively are dubious to say the least even in the early days.
    I never rated grimandi then there was stepanovs who was dire . Cygan another liability and then the signing of Sol Campbell ,who was a leader, gave the side the stability at the back with Lauren,Toure and Cole .

    Since Campbell we have not had a leader at the back or midfield so consequently the team has suffered as there is no backbone in the side .

  66. Leedsgunner

    “There’s no backbone in the side.”

    If that is not a clear description of our club, from the playing staff, coaching staff and the Board I don’t know what is.

    See Pierre, we CAN agree on things! 😉

  67. Michael24

    We should all be relieved that the loan system wasn’t up and running when Wenger joined the show.

    The likes of T14, Pires etc, would probably have been shipped out to toughen them up.

    Just a thought.

  68. Champagne charlie

    “I know it will never happen, but would anyone like to see someone like Sean Dyche at the club?“

    Yea, I’m fine with him in the away dugout