Arsenal fans should not be gunning for Wenger

by William Abbs

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
 

Arsenal’s vulnerability to the counterattack was exposed so mercilessly by Manchester United on Sunday that, watching from the stands, 35-year-old Sol Campbell might well have exhaled in relief at being spared from the action. Thomas Vermaelen had been passed fit, which seemed miraculous considering that the defender had been diagnosed with a suspected broken leg after the Gunners’ goalless draw with Aston Villa last Wednesday, and so Campbell was denied his return to Premier League action. But even with their first-choice back four in place, the Arsenal rearguard was eviscerated not once but twice by United’s quick passing as the home side slumped to a 3-1 defeat.

The re-signing of Campbell, whose best days are clearly behind him, is one of many sticks with which Arsenal fans are beginning to beat Arsène Wenger. The failure of Wenger to adequately replace Emmanuel Adebayor’s physical threat up front continues to vex the supporters too. Furthermore, the way in which Manuel Almunia helped Nani’s cross into his own net for the first goal illustrated once again his manager’s laissez-faire attitude to the position of goalkeeper (at the other end, Edwin van der Sar – who was probably born wearing gloves – put in a faultless performance). By the time the referee, Chris Foy, blew for time at the Emirates, thousands of empty seats stared back at Wenger from his position in the dugout. The boos from those fans who had remained in the ground are probably still filling the Frenchman’s ears.

Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005, a fact that is fast-turning into a cliché thanks to the frequency with which it is repeated. Unless they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next Sunday, the Gunners’ only hope of adding to the FA Cup they won on penalties against United five years ago is through the Champions League. Success in that competition is still a possibility for Arsenal, who have FC Porto standing between them and a place in the last eight, but if they are to lift the European Cup in Madrid in May then, in all likelihood, they will have to beat either Manchester United or Chelsea (again) along the way. Or both. Worryingly for Wenger, Arsenal’s two biggest rivals have now put thirteen goals past them in the last four matches involving those clubs at the Emirates – United scored three there in the Champions League last season before adding three more yesterday, while Chelsea knocked four past Arsenal in the league at the end of last season and a further three late last year. It is Arsène Wenger’s recent failure to compete with Arsenal’s main domestic rivals in one-on-one combat that must most worry the club’s fans, and make them fear that their hunt for silverware could continue indefinitely.

Arsenal fans should be extremely wary of lowering their “In Arsène We Trust” banners just yet though. The Frenchman is not just the club’s manager but its architect. Wenger’s current side might be falling short of the standards his teams set in 1998, 2002, and 2004, but his involvement in the club’s global scouting network and its youth development at least means that the team continues to play with the same style as sides featuring Henry, Vieira, and Pires. Since taking charge in 1996, Wenger has conducted a root-and-branch overhaul of Arsenal’s training methods, playing style, and transfer policy. Apart from Sir Alex Ferguson, no other manager wields such power at the club he manages and commands such trust. If Wenger leaves the club his methods will go with him, as well as several players, and Arsenal fans should ask themselves whether that is really a fate worth bringing upon themselves.

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  • stevie

    I just wish he would stop being so stubborn though!

    He’s a great manager and can’t be replaced, but sometimes you have to admit you made the wrong decisions, ie: not buying a new keeper and a striker. Saying that, I’d take another season without a trophy as long as we win the league next year.

  • Tods

    Ladies & gentlemen, let’s not fool ourselves…no one is irreplaceable! I rest my case

  • arsenal4ever

    enough is enough!! 5 years without any trophies!!1 He has to go!! The sooner the better!!!

  • Mike Somerville

    He is a brilliant manager, and I reckon most Arsenal fans could identify the players that Arsenal could really do with. My recommendations would be David Villa (cf), Buffon(gk), and Barsagli (cb).

    But what do I know? I’m not Wenger and I still maintain the view that he knows best.

  • W.A.

    Wenger doesn’t have a great record with goalkeepers. There were always question marks over Lehmann after he replaced Seaman, the likes of Richard Wright and Fabianski haven’t fulfilled their potential, and it was surprising how Almunia just inherited the number 1 shirt a few years ago. Hugo Lloris at Lyon is my tip to move to Arsenal. What do you think?

  • http://steve.brobyn@virgin.net stephen

    aw is great but his achilles heal is he wont bomb players when they are shit, fergie always gets rid he knows it’s them or him, aw wants still to there mates when they have done him in the back (flamini diarra anelka adieshitbag list is endless)

  • Gunner lovein

    If Aw wants to go to any club let him go. I can guarantee he wont be given so much power that his subordinates would dare question him when things go wrong. Last season MU beat Arsenal playing the hit and run style. In fact the rfc siad he knew how the gunners played.True enough . A gunner attack breaks down and there is a fast counter strike and the ball is in the Arsenal net.
    Surely Aw shd know this and I guarantee he will be committing suicide by attacking Chelsea.He shd flood the mid field like AV and Everton and play the same hit and run.
    If he doesnt Arsenal will never win anything with him in charge.

  • Goonerism

    Yeah it’s easy to think replace Wenger and we will lift a trophy, et anew manager who will sign a couple of players. Every message board troll seems to have a better idea than Wenger about managing a club. Has anyone considered that if Wenger went, we could get considerably worse?

  • Nazir

    The best signing that Arsene Wenger can make is a defensive coach. Bring in Keown or Adams, we need to learn how to defend as a team. By this I also mean defending at set pieces, this will also help our set piece attacking as well as crossing ability if we train in an attack v defence manner.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    it’s a bit of a Catch 22 isn’t it? He leaves, we slide down the table and struggle for a top 6 finish. Our best players go, the likes of the Spuds even finish higher.

    Or we take a huge gamble and go for a Mourinho or someone of that calibre, he would splash the cash (if we have it). And don’t even think of getting Guardiola, why would he leave the best club in the world for a poor wannabe version of his current team.

    I say we stick with Wenger but the board have to spend and spend big As Mike says David Villa is an absolute essential signing if we are to compete once again.

    Remember he if leaves he takes all his methods with him…

  • goonerboy

    its exactly the sycophantic “In Arsene We Trust” supporters that has brought this club to its knees. We are the Arsenal not some tinpot outfit who is punching above its weight. I for one would rather see Arsene go and take his lame ducks with him, the pay for another season ticket to watch this dross. If half these players were in any other jobs, they would have been sacked for their performances.

    When Chelsea got rid of Mourinho, they expected an exodus – how many players actually lef…….errrrrm none. So what if Fabregas goes, he is going to go anyway, especially if this team wins nothing again this year.

    Darren – as for Wengers methods, what methods are these? Oh i know the ones where you get trounced by teams at home, or are you talking about the methods of fielding a weakened side for the FA Cup? Or are you talking about saying one thing like “i will buy someone in the transfer window”, then says “i wont be buying someone in the transfer window”?

    Get rid of Wenger – come in bus number 13, your time is up!!!

  • Madrid

    How wonderful, with Cesc and Wenger eventually added to our squad, we will be the best in Europe.A great coach with an average team…Arsene please come to Real Madrid.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    One thing you can safely count on is if Cesc was to leave he would never go to Madrid, he is a proud Catalan after all.

    I think we need to get real here, Arsene and the board are looking long term, look at the mess Liverpool and United are in. We are fincially sucure and that’s key at this moment in time.

    I’ll lay money it we’ll win both the league and champions in 3 years

  • Dave

    Arsenal will not win both the Premiership and Champions League. They are not strong enough.

    Fabregas will be gonn by the end of the Summer

  • dexylongshot

    I think the Gooners have a really good chance in the next 3 years if you just let Arsene get on with it. Everryone was bigging him up a week ago, one defeat and he has to go? Darrens right about the dosh issue, look at the Liverpool and Man Utd mess, are they gonna be splashing the cash this time next year.

    Personally, if the scousers come 5th & Rafa does go and I was in charge, I’d get shot of both injury prone Gerrard and Torres for say 80m, then rebuild from that…..if the manager actually got any wedge from the Chairmen. Thats the sort of predicament that is on the cards at the moment at Anfield. Arsene and Arsenal have no such worries, money in the bank and the best production line of talent in the country.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    why is it when ever we lose game Cesc is off to Barcelona?

    Arsenal midfielder and captain Cesc Fabregas is set to rejoin Barcelona in the summer. The 22-year-old Spaniard is contracted to the Gunners until the end of the 2013/2014 campaign but is unhappy with the team’s lack of ambition. (Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo)

    So annoying, he has pledged his future time and time again. Go away and print something else!!

  • Dave

    One man doesnt make a team but with Arsenal I think its the case, he did nothing against United on Sunday and look what happened????

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I disagree dave, we went unbeaten for 18 games last season, cesc didn’t feature in any of them. We also battered United at old Trafford without him too. If we’d signed a decent keeper I don’t think we would have lost either of those games

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Gonnerboy, so when arsenal were top of the league and were banging in 3’s and 4’s were you calling the tram dross and calling for wengers head then?

    We have the most fickle fans in Europe, beat the chavs on Sunday and we are only 3 points behind them. Game on

  • Dave

    Chavs 3 Gooners 0

  • http://maniacworld.com Jim

    I am a Man utd fan and I believe Arsene Wenger to be one of the greatest managers ever to have graced the Premier League. He has made millions on players like Henry, Anelka and Adebayor and he keeps his faith in the rest of his team by not shelling out 30million for a Berbatov. He instills great football in the club and Arsenal FC seems to be very stable. Regardless of silverware the man gets Arsenal in the top 4 season after season despite not making waves in the transfer market. Though I would like to see him nurturing more English players. It would be nice to see all his players give the team the same dedication he does but the Henrys, Anelkas and possibly Fabregas see success else where!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Good points made there jim. Look at his record as Arsenal boss, it’s nothing short of sensational. Problem is to many ARsenal fans think know better.

    Ok, we need a new keeper and a striker but do u think Wenger hasn’t looked?

  • dexylongshot

    It’s far too early to write Arsenal off, even Liverpool! I see see the bookies have suddenly cut down the odds of Chelsea winning the title, I wonder why?

  • dexylongshot

    Buy the way, if anyone fancys a flutter on the big game sunday, ppower are doing list of the first phrase to said in the commentary. some belters in here.

    England Captain 4/1
    Dropped the ball 40/1
    Best Mate 80/1
    Captain’s armband 9/2
    Gladiator 40/1
    Team Terry 80/1
    What a goal! 7/1
    Always a danger man in the box 40/1
    Building bridges 80/1
    What a hit 9/1
    He was caught out there 40/1
    Kiss the badge 80/1
    Take a bow son 9/1
    Terry’s getting stuck in 40/1
    He’s nailed that one 80/1
    He’s missed it! 12/1
    Nervous Moments 50/1
    A bridge too far 100/1
    Great strike 14/1
    Kings of London 50/1
    Scoring at the bridge 100/1
    He’ll be disappointed with that 20/1
    Spanish genius 50/1
    Water under the bridge 100/1
    Two Horse Race 25/1
    Chelsea through and through 50/1
    Mr Chelsea 100/1
    Benefit of the doubt 25/1
    Kings of the capital 66/1
    Terry’s all gold 100/1
    Got to do better than that 28/1
    Playing away 66/1
    Taking one for the team 100/1
    End to end stuff 33/1
    He shoots, he scores 66/1
    You can’t keep him out of the headlines 100/1
    Always hits the target 33/1
    Natural born leader 66/1
    Terry makes the bridge go wild 100/1
    Men against Boys 40/1
    He can’t stop scoring 66/1
    WAGS 150/1
    He is human after all 40/1
    Terry makes himself big 66/1
    Ladies man 150/1
    At the end of the day 40/1
    He puts his head in where others are scared to 66/1
    Terry has strayed offside again 250/1
    A box to box player 40/1
    He’s gone down a little easily 80/1
    Lock up your daughters 250/1

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