Wenger needs to accept responsibility for Arsenal’s failures

by Charlie Coffey

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

“We were kicked off the park and should have had a definite penalty. I’d like to know what the fifth official was doing. Carlos Vela was clearly fouled. The five referees is not an answer to the problem. It is a useless system. The turning point was the penalty – I still cannot understand how Vela got a yellow card…”

To be fair I could have used one of thousands of Wenger’s post-match rants here, this just happens to be the most recent. Wenger’s boys have once again been hard done by; the referee is to blame for a bad decision and for not protecting his players from physical tackles.

I agree with Wenger on the penalty decision last night. It was a clear penalty. The only thing to say in the referee’s defence was that Vela threw his arms in the air in that dramatic fashion we all know too well. Still, he was stopped by an outstretched leg that was nowhere near the ball and, dramatics or not, it should have been a penalty kick. Five referees missed it; Wenger has a right to feel aggrieved. Unfortunately for Wenger his team cannot receive special treatment. They will receive bad decisions from referees; they will receive rough treatment from teams who cannot match them for technique.

Turning points in confidence and momentum clearly exist in football and can have dramatic effects, especially at the highest level. However, the players at his disposal were good enough to batter Braga 6-0 just over two months ago, so they should have been able to win the match with or without a penalty from the appeal that took place at 0-0 with 14 minutes remaining (was the penalty decision to blame for Arsenal’s failure to score for the first 76 minutes?!). Instead Arsenal conceded late on and lost a game for the second time in four days.

The problem in defence still exists. Wenger can throw another Squillaci or Koscielny at Arsenal’s back four in the January transfer window, but the foundations of the problem must be his team’s mentality. Unfortunately for him a manager who has been in charge of a club for 14 years has nobody but himself to blame. Teams reflect the attitude and mentality of their manager after that period of time, and if Wenger cannot accept responsibility, swallow his pride and make the necessary moves to prevent such problems from happening again, but instead persists in attempting to protect his side by looking for others to blame, then he and Arsenal will never learn from their mistakes.

A constantly evolving young side is great to watch, and to admire when gambles on youth pay off. One downside of this can be that players are let go too early to the detriment of the team. Wenger let William Gallas leave in the summer, the very defender who was man-of-the-match and captain of Spurs as they beat Arsenal in their own back yard on Saturday. Gilberto Silva laughed in Wenger’s face by continuing to captain Brazil and run their midfield for years after he was deemed too old for the Arsenal youth club. Surely not even Wenger can defend himself or blame anyone else for these two glaring misjudgements. Often the presence of older players can be useful for the youngsters to learn from, and their experience is invaluable in situations like, say, a North London derby or an away game in the Champions League.

As usual with an Arsenal blog, I’m sure this will receive widespread criticism from Arsenal fans. The amount of excellent and popular Arsenal blogs out there show that you guys are a literary bunch who love to debate and defend your team online.

However, Gunners, just consider this: do you want to be a side of nearly men who always have an excuse when their side inevitably fall at the final hurdle with a manager who will always look to blame anyone before himself, or do you want to start winning the trophies that a club of your stature deserve?

The truth hurts, but maybe it’s time that you, as well as Wenger, faced up to it. If creaming yourself when your teenagers dismantle a lesser side in the Carling Cup is enough for you then fine, otherwise Wenger has to go.

Read Charlie Coffey’s brilliant blog at my11.com.

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  • anon

    don’t tar all arsenal fans with the same brush because i do not worship him like a god. i thank wenger for what he has done for the club but i wanted wenger to leave at beginning of the season, but he signed a new contract like a rat up a drainpipe. he is clinging on to power like a bad politician and making the same mistakes over and over again. you are right, he is the man at the top, it is his team that are making mistake after mistake, it is he who is being tactically outmanoeuvred again and again while he stands there like basil fawlty. when great managers like fergie and the special prick beat him there was no shame but to be beaten by an englishman with a twitch is a shame that he will never live down. go now wenger for everybody’s sake…

  • Kofi

    Bias english. U condemn every arsenal player but praise them when they play elsewhere. Arsenal lost to chelsea and they are not good enough but chelsea loses and it is becos of wilkins sack. Gallas not a good leader but best now that he plays for Spurs. Non of the arsenal players as good as wilshere. Arsenal are still in contention for all trophies chel, spurs, manu are all out of carling cup. Arsenal are divers but rooney, gerard angels and on and on

  • Kofi

    just check how good arsenal players are when they play in their national teams with fair officiating. Now everyone knows Fergie is untouchable and Holloway is suffering becos he sides with wenger.

  • Highbury Karl

    I agree whole heartedly ……… But the “IN WENGER WE TRUST” mentality that some fans have been brain washed into believe in won’t have a word said about him …..
    Sure he has done great things for the club but his arrogance is now hurting OUR club. One thing left to say …… TAXI for Wenger !!!!!!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    Taxi for Wenger? And exactly who else can replace him?

    I agree with what you have said, it’s true, his arrogance is costing us dear.

    What I would like to know is what exactly does Pat Rice do when he sits next to Wenger, surely he can see we need a Tony Adams at the back and a Veira in the middle.

    Solve that and seriously believe we will dominate for years.

    We are so so close yet so far away, it’s very frustrating.

    If we are not careful the Spuds will over take us. Just look at their result tonight.

  • Ted

    I also would like to move on from Wenger, but I’d also like to know who would replace him. Perhaps there is another young manager that needs the chance that Wenger, Morihno and others got.

    But I am sick of us having no Plan B. And I am sick of being less than physical. And I am sick of Wenger’s moaning about everything and everyone.

    So sure, I would not hesitate in letting him move on at the end of the year, but I also know that an alternative manager may not end up being better. In fact, it could be far worse. But we need to keep all options open in my opinion.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    I’m with you Ted, but we can’t risk doing a Liverpool! Which is exactly what will happen.

    We have far to many young players who are scared to stand up, I don’t think we need a young manager too, unless Pep Guardiola is interested, but anyone can win La Liga with Barca or Real. I do think we need a high profile manager though, Hindink would do a job, or Steve McClaren, I’m joking of course!

  • Richard Tan

    Man U were dominant for years with a bunch of youths. Arsenal needs a few good British players with the bull dog mentality. Right now, we do not have enough of these players in the team.
    We need British players who will not give up until the final whistle. Only 2 players come close, Jack and Aaron but they are still young. Theo does not have the fighting mentality. Fabregas’s heart is no longer with the team (I am aware he was playing with an injury).
    I still have a great deal of confidence in this team. At least we are fighting on all fronts this year, unlike Spurs whose highlight of their season is beating Arsenal. Pathetic!

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