Arsene Wenger’s Future
The future is looking bleak for Arsene Wenger. Even the most ardent Wenger Loyalist will now be struggling to defend him.
Over the years, I have had a lot of abuse thrown at me for backing Wenger. And I still believe I was correct to back him.
We faced a financial puzzle over the last 8 years, and he was the best man to steer the ship. Yes, it might not have been a trophy laden period, with more disappointments and scoreline deficits than in my living memory, but he saw us through the tricky period.
That tricky period should have come to an end this summer. With the FA Cup in the bag, we had an opportunity to start the next era of the club. We now had the financial muscle to enable us to challenge for the top players (a promise by the board to the fans to justify the move) and challenge for titles and European success.
Instead, a bright start to the transfer window left us short and deflated. And what has followed is very much ‘same again.’ Inability to beat bigger sides (Even weakened big sides such as Manchester United), disappointing results against lesser sides and about to finish 2nd in our Champions League group.
We sit in November, with top 4 now being and an FA Cup run being are only targets. It is just not good enough.
When the side went 1 down against Manchester United, you saw the fear in the players eyes. Despite dominating, and being behind with the opponents not yet having a shot on target, we looked beaten. The players lacked the self belief to come back and win. They had no ideas. The only tactic seemed to be ‘give the ball to Sanchez or Oxlade-Chamberlain and let them run’. There was no clear plan.
If the players on the pitch are better than their opponents, and they fail to win, there is only one person you can blame. The manager. And Wenger has to take the blame for this defeat, amongst others.
It is time for Wenger to go? Yes. That is unquestionable. Where my opinion does change to many who blog here, or post on the Facebook page is the immediacy for him to go.
I personally see no worth in him leaving now. No manager worth his salt is available in November/December. To get rid of Wenger now will only make the next manager’s job harder.
Getting rid now would probably see us having to employ a caretaker manager to get us through the rest of the season. Whilst under Wenger, we will likely still achieve top 4, I do not believe that to be the case with a caretaker.
I still remember 1995 when we got rid of George Graham. In came Stewart Houston as caretaker manager. And we went on to lose 6 of the next 7 games. Could history repeat itself if Steve Bould came in? Very possibly.
A failure to get Champions League football would leave the next manager with a hard task. He would have to spend more on players to attract them, but have less to spend due to no Champions League football. It would not be a good scenario to start off the next era of Arsenal Football Club.
Wenger must go, but for me, personally, it is at the end of the season.
Too many passenger’s
At this moment in time, the current squad has too many passengers. Too many players living off either past glories, or potential. It is not an ideal situation to be in.
Having too many passenger’s was a key reason for the defeat against Manchester United.
Wojciech Szczesny and Per Mertesacker have taken a step backwards this season. Yes, they have been effected by the issues in defence, but neither has stood up to be a leader.
The midfield is concerning me. I have been a fan of Aaron Ramsey for a long time, but he seems to have got lost within himself.
Last year it was no just his goals that impressed me (although these got the headlines) but his overall midfield play. He covered a lot of distance and got through a lot of work.
In the Premier League last season he averaged 3.3 tackles a game. Currently, he averages just 1.8. Now whether this is due to the tactics which is seeing him get pushed further forward, or due to him only looking to score goals rather than get involved, it just is not good enough.
He is also attempting 10% less passes than 2013/14. I would say he needs to be dropped to shake him up, but our current lack of midfielders and with Jack Wilshire’s latest injury, that will not happen.
As for Santi Cazorla, part of me wishes the stories of him being homesick this summer and wanting to leave were true. After a brilliant 1st season, he was average last, his FA Cup free kick papering over the cracks. He has looked no better this season. He did a job for us, but we now need to be buying better. I would not be too surprised if this is his last season with us.
Outwide it is just as worrying. I am struggling to understand the hype around Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Yes he has talent, and yes he is still young, but his idea of playing football seems to be to get the ball, trying to take on everyone, then lose it.
It reminds me of when you play FIFA, in the mode where you only control one player. You end up calling for the ball every time, getting it and then trying to take on the world. It never works. Chamberlain needs to learn this and become more of a team player.
As for Danny Welbeck, he is starting to become a worry, and perhaps starting to show why Louis van Gaal got rid. He has scored just 2 league goals this season in 9 games and not scored in his last 6. The worry is he just does not look like scoring.
This is way to many players out of form or just not good enough to carry. And does not even include the likes of Flamini, Rosicky, Podolski, Diaby and Sanogo who should all be got rid of next season.
The squad needs an overhaul. Again.
And this leads me on to my final thoughts…
So we all agree Wenger’s time is running out. And we all agree the squad is short. The question is, do we then give Wenger money to spend in January?
We reportedly have upwards of £60m to spend, but do we give it to a manager on his last legs, to buy players who the next man might not want? Or do we limp through the season, make the change in the summer, and then add the £60m+ we currently have to the additional funds we will have next summer, giving the new manager a £150m+ ‘war chest’.
I know what I’d prefer….