Why Wenger deserves more respect

Arsene Wenger has received a lot of criticism over the last 12 months, perhaps more than ever before. In that time, Arsenal have averaged 1.9 points per game in the Premier League and won the FA Cup thanks to a final victory against champions Chelsea. Given that the club are only willing to make one high-profile addition each summer while other clubs spend routinely, that return is respectable.

After every defeat, it appears that almost all the discussion among fans and the media is regarding Wenger and whether he deserves his job and the power he has at the club. That debate is exacerbated by the team’s frequent capitulations in big games, for which the Frenchman must take a degree of criticism. However, the discussion has become self-perpetuating. When players see that so much of the blame is going on their manager, it becomes a sub-conscious excuse. If those players knew that a performance like the one at Liverpool would result in themselves facing a media hounding, we can be sure that those capitulations would be a thing of the past. The problems at Arsenal therefore say as much about player power in the modern game and the lack of accountability as they do about Wenger.

One of the major criticisms of him is that he is too trusting of his players and lacks the versatility to adapt his tactics based on the opposition. And yet, when he dropped Alexandre Lacazette at Anfield or Alexis Sanchez at Stamford Bridge, both in favour of the more industrious Danny Welbeck, he received a lot of pre-match criticism. If Jose Mourinho had made a similar decision and his side put in a performance akin to the one in the 0-0 draw at Chelsea, many would proclaim it a ‘masterclass’.

Some suggest that Arsenal have the same old problems, which is debatable. Immediately after the stadium move, the club signed too many lightweight midfielders who lacked the muscle to compete in physically games. For that, the manager was partially at fault. In the last few seasons though we’ve seen Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin join the first team setup, all of whom are powerful, even if they lack in other areas.

Wenger would like to sign another Patrick Vieira, who was excellent at everything, but those types of players cost the kind of money that Stan Kroenke and the board aren’t willing to spend. With that in mind, recruitment this summer has been positive with Sead Kolasinac and Lacazette impressing early on, and performances have been in line with what the expectations should be.

Away to Stoke, Lacazette had a perfectly good goal ruled offside and Olivier Giroud missed a late sitter. At Chelsea, they created the better chances but Welbeck, Lacazette and Kolasinac could not score from good positions. The Gunners could easily have an extra five points and sit third in the table, one point off the leaders, without Wenger doing anything differently – they are 6/4 with Betway for the top four.

It is understandable that a lot of Arsenal fans want their long-serving boss to be gone. However, focusing solely on him relieves some of the pressure on the players and board, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe Wenger is no longer the genius that built the 03/04 Invincibles, but he is still doing a reasonable job amid the challenges he faces.




14 thoughts on “Why Wenger deserves more respect

  1. Richard

    The damage AW and the yank are doing will take a decade if not longer to repair, he may have been ahead of the game when he first arrived buy now he’s years behind the top coaches. Even Ferguson jnr had a system that height work out sometime on the future. Let’s not even mention the puppet board. Silly old man with a huge ego and surrounded with well paid yes men

  2. Johnno

    Not a bad article. I agree that Wenger deserves far more respect and I`m one of those fans who could never openly call for his head inside the ground. But lets be honest here, its time for a change and not just the manager. The whole club has gone stale and there are far too many people just going through the motions and living in the comfort zone. Club Historians will look back at the Wenger era and he will rightly go down as a legend, perhaps only behind the likes of Chapman and Norris. I am a bit disappointed in him though, For years I always believed he would walk away the moment he knew he had taken us as far as he could but he just cannot let go. I actually think it would be in his best interest to leave, not just the clubs. He`s still a great manager (easily one of the top 5 in Europe) but the players arent listening anymore, theyve heard it all before. I have no doubt he`d have gone onto have great success somewhere else and built a great team. The real problem for us though is who replaces the man, some of the names bandied about over the last 5 years have been embarrassing and I`m thankful the board dont listen to the halfwits amongst our support. I`d love to see Simone over there, I love the way his teams dig in and grind out results. If you listen to some of our fans though, he apparently doesnt play The Arsenal way. Fucking hell, what a load of old bollocks that is. One thing I have to pull you up on though is the Vieira thing. People have to understand that we`ll never see another player as good as him in the middle of the park, players like that come around every 70 or 80 years. Adams and Henry fall in the same bracket, maybe even Bergkamp too. That is one of the reasons why we were so lucky to witness our great side around the turn of the century. 4 of probably our top 5 or 6 players of all time in one team and then you had other incredible players who would all have a claim of being in our top 10 – 15 greatest players. This is the reason why there is probably so much dissent at the minute. We were too spoilt in Wengers early years. Our fan base now is an embarrassment really, we are a load of spoilt entitled cunts. Even me, Ive been watching them for fucking years and ive seen some absolute crap but last year I was moaning about finishing 5th and winning the FA Cup. That would have been a dream for me as a kid in the 60`s or when we nearly went down mid 70`s or after watching the crap of the early 80`s.

  3. John Raymond

    I would say that if you take on board that people were seriously suggesting a “Harry” or A “Sam” not so long ago plus the fact that no amount of sniping or belilttling of the competition can take away from the fact that he has delivered 3 FA Cups in 4 years (just think how your Liverpools and Celtics of this world would be bragging about that, along with their media cheerleaders) an achievement that will only be appreciated as time takes it course, I would suggest, that alone deserves respect.
    He has also not had the opportunity to give his account of the “Gap Years” yet, meanwhile Sqwawk Sport and Arsenal Clown TV vilify a man who cannot answer as yet, even though he would be demeaning himself by responding to their “thoughts”.
    I personally consider Chapman to be the greatest Arsenal manager by some considerable distance and you could argue that Arsene Wenger got a “jump start” inheriting George Graham’s defence but the man certainly deserves more respect. Is anyone seriously suggesting his tenure thus far has been an unmitigated failure?
    Like Johnno, I can recall the elation when the Fairs Cup came to Highbury after 17 years, our “fanbase” seem to think Arsenal Football Club can be run from a Costa Coffee shop, no, it cannot and never will be.
    Criticise Arsene Wenger if those are your genuine feelings but please don’t let Sqwawk Sport lead you by the nose ladies and gentlemen.
    Can you not even give him a grudging respect?

    1. Johnno

      I`m not sure when to begin but I`ll say that is a top post mate. Totally agree about Arsenal Clown TV, I wince every time I watch it and when I listen to the plums who get on talk shite. I actually think club historians will look back at the period between 2006 – 2014 as a great success, I dont think fans realise how perilous that period was. I look forward to hearing about it from Wenger`s point of view. Wenger has since won 3 out of 4 FA Cups and despite all the bollocks you here, almost every other club in the country would swap places with us. Ive always been a Wenger man, I think he is easily the 2nd best manager in our history (Chapman stands alone) and I would never ever sack him but at the end of the season him and the board should come to a “mutual” decision. Unless of course we have already lined up his successor but have to wait until 2019 for him to take over. Simone (please lord) has just signed up until then. For your Arry and Sam, I`ll give you Moyes, Coyle, Brown and O`Neill. I havent a great deal of faith in our current board but thankfully they didnt pay too much attention to the fans calling for that lot.

    2. Johnno

      By the way, that was great night at Highbury in 70 wasnt it. Unbelievable atmosphere and a great way to end the trophy drought. Mind you, if you listen to Bertie Smalls over on another story he`d have you believe it wasnt a European trophy.

      1. Johnno

        Hahaha, that`s the geezer. He actually passed away in 2012 but S-P on another thread seems to want to take his place. Sad little boy.

    1. Johnno

      Sir Henry Norris must be up there in terms of importance. After all, he was the man who had the vision to move to Highbury and the man responsible for bringing in Chapman. Him and Chapman built the first global super club, long before Real Madrid came along or the Munich air disaster. He also has the added bonus of being reviled amongst the stinking yids.

  4. John Raymond

    Johnno – Today’s fans seem to think that Arsenal begins and ends with Thierry Henry – if only they knew! Chapman was known as “The Innovator” and for a good reason. He wanted to build a great club -and made no bones about it. somehow, we’ve lost the nerve and are becoming a touchy-feely club – everyone’s pal but don’t dare mention the word great. can we recover it?

    1. Johnno

      It always makes me laugh when the argument of who is the greatest manager of all time comes up. Chapman`s name is rarely mentioned and yet he is head and shoulders above everyone. Not only did he create the 1st global super club in The Arsenal but he built the great Huddersfield team up as well. Can you imagine what we would have won if he`d stayed alive and the second World War hadnt happened? We`d have about 30 league titles to our name by now as he had built a dynasty that resulted in League titles in 48 and 53 despite having the guts ripped out of us after the war. He suggested European competition in the late 20`s, Floodlit football, a Youth team, numbers on shirts, he basically professionalised the sport. He envisaged the rise of a corporate fan base back in the late 20`s and set about building the greatest stadium on the planet. If the European Cup had of been about in the 30`s we`d have done a Real Madrid. I was in Australia a few years back and some old Iraqi fella cut me barnet. I got talking to him and it turned out he was a Gooner. Apparently we were his old mans team from back in the 30`s when the only oversees team in the Middle East anyone really knew about was The Arsenal. We continued to be the biggest supported team in the world right up until the rise of Real Madrid and the Munich air disaster. Chapman stands alone IMO. As for the club today, you are right, we are everybody`s second favourite team. Fuck that, I preferred the days when they all hated us. I think my biggest complaint these days is that we are turning into a Tottenham type club from the 80`s. Beat anybody on our day but too gutless to go and grind out results on a consistent basis. Even our fan base is starting to resemble the stinking Yids from that period. Entitled, fickle, soft and full of middle class tossers. I started doubting Wenger`s future after we failed to get over the line when Leicester won it. We put ourselves in a great position in the January and only had Leicester and perennial failures Spurs to beat and we still found a way to blow it. I expected Wenger to wield the axe that summer but he maintained the faith in the squad. He`d never have accepted that in his early years and I wonder whether he`s lost his ruthless streak. Anyway mate, apologies for the essay.

  5. John Raymond

    Sorry, one last thing – a representative from the Youth Team would always leave a wreath on Chapman’s grave at Hendon on the date of his death – I guess that is much too formal and stuffy for the club now.
    Correct about Man U they got the sympathy vote after Munich – which was a terrible thing, let’s not forget that – and they have never really looked back.
    I have always believed the “Football’s Biggest Club” really belongs to The Arsenal but somehow it has all been squandered – a good title for a book on this might be “Arsenal FC – The Failure Of Nerve”.


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