In Arsene do Arsenal trust?

by Michael Healey

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
 

Another season of high hopes and eventual frustration for Arsenal has ended. Another season of, at times enterprising football, but ultimately poor defending and poor decisions has ended with the Gunners going six seasons without a trophy.

The chance of finishing the season without a trophy looked very unlikely as Arsenal went into the Carling Cup Final as massive favourites against Premier League Minnows (and ultimately relegation fodder) Birmingham City. Although the North Londoners found themselves a Nikola Zigic goal down after half an hour, a Robin Van Persie equaliser meant they went into half time on even terms. As chances were missed from both teams in the second half the game was decided by a recurring theme for Arsenal supporters: a defensive mistake.

This mistake seemed to completely derail the team both physically and mentally as they slumped out of the Champions League to Barcelona (although somewhat controversially) and despite finding themselves in a promising position in the Premier League behind ultimately Champions Manchester United they ultimate capitulated, finishing in a depressing 4th place and having to enter the Champions League at the qualifying stage.

So what has gone wrong for Arsenal?

This is the very same question Arsenal fans around the world will be asking themselves. Why do they falter every season? Why do the team seem to have a mental block when in a terrific position? Why do the club never invest their wealth?

All these questions have to be pointed at one man: Arsene Wenger.

Wenger has been a revelation in English Football ever since leaving Japan and coming to British shoes to take over Arsenal Football Club. His brand of fast, exciting and breathtaking football left opponents drooling in admiration crumbling at the attacking prowess of the heavily French influenced club. It is clear that Wenger made stars of players such as Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Viera, Emmanuel Petit, Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry and Francesc Fabregas. The club have also managed three league titles under his tutorage, including the infamous 2003/04 season were they went unbeaten all through the campaign.

Wenger also oversaw Arsenal move from Highbury to the Emirates a new, state of the art stadium in 2005 and the new stadium has seen Arsenal become one of the most profitable teams in Europe. The club have also been renowned for bringing through youngsters into the first team with an almost seamless transition into the quick passing and moving system that has become the norm for supporters to enjoy.

Despite of all the positives at the club, supporters are growing increasingly impatient at the lack of honours at the club. Wenger over recent years has ignored calls to reinvest in the squad and has continuously persevered with players who are clearly unfit to wear the famous shirt i.e. Niklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Eboue and Andrey Arsharvin.

The brutal truth about Arsenal, which comes from somebody who is an outsider and not a supporter of the club, is that the team can play the fancy football when the opposition let them play but when they play teams who put extra pressure on them (Stoke City and Chelsea for example) the Gunners cannot handle the pressure put on them.

The strange thing about this situation at present is that Wengers title winning teams had players who loved a battle, players who would kick other teams and often engage in the physical war even before the opposition did. Players like Viera, Gilberto Silva, and Tony Adams would enjoy the battle against strong, powerful teams whereas this Arsenal team seem to shy away from the hard side of the game.

So the summer of 2011 is a one that Wenger must get right if he is to win back the Arsenal supporters that have started loosening there support for the Frenchman.

Wenger may have a team that can play the beautiful side of the beautiful game, but they need their players to indulge in the ugly side at times too to fight for honours again.

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  • billy

    i think he;s got one more season if I’m honest. Enough is enough.

    We can’t keep selling our best players and replacing them with unknown kids

  • chef

    theres summat about teaching an old dog new tricks,,,,hes pretty stubborn tho,,,,so,i think his time is probally up……..ive never seen him as frustrated ,angry and as lost lookin as ive seen him on the bench this season

  • Slicer

    He has to go. No more ‘one more seasons’. He has had enough of them
    Wenger is only concerned with money not winning

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