Wenger to blame for Arsenal’s missed opportunities at the top

by Michael Wade

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Arsenal missed a trick on Saturday. It’s been five trophy-less years now and fans have been forced to realign ambitions in line with Arsene Wenger’s financial prudence but going 3-0 down at home to West Bromwich Albion is a new low, and that is meant as no disrespect to the Baggies.

In the end, of course, they retrieved two goals to add a little respectability to the scoreline, if you can call it that but an underlining fact remains. Manuel Almunia is not good enough to be first choice at The Emirates stadium.

I’m not going to go down the usual road of bashing the Spanish flop and laying the clubs ills at his feet. Instead, questions have to be asked of the man who continues to pick him and who has not replaced him despite continual reminders of the Almunia’s ineptness.

Wenger obviously has very little faith in Almunia, leading to his public attempts to sign Mark Schwarzer, Shay Given, Pepe Reina and Martin Stekelenburg this summer. This, in turn has undermined Almunia’s position in the side and eroded what confidence and belief he had in himself.

This shows in his performances and has inevitably led to occasions like Saturday’s where he spills tame shot into his own goal and rushes off his line only to doubt himself and stop cold. Wenger has let the club down by not replacing Almunia while he had the chance and now he has to deal with the consequences.

On Friday Arsenal posted a record profit of £56m. This is all well and good, they have avoided loading the club with debt at a time when it is easy to do so and almost accepted in many circumstances of other Premier League clubs.

They have successfully moved the club to a new stadium, one of the best in the country, and managed to keep the club competitive at all levels at the same time, if not actually winning trophies.

But would it have rocked the boat that much if Wenger had just splashed out as little as £5m on Schwarzer or £30m on Reina. This is not their market values, but this is prices which would have secured their services and almost definitely solved the problem he has to face up to.

Wenger’s insistence on value for money is stubbornness by any other name and is costing the club dearly. On a day when the club were given the opportunity to move within a point of Chelsea at the top of the league they have passed it up instead accepting an embarrassing defeat by a team that will fight relegation this season.

The buck ultimately stops with Wenger; despite everything he has done for the club he is obstructing its development further by his refusal to replace Almunia.

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  • looneygooner

    totally agree but give credit to WBA who came to play and then did so hats off to them, but we have had a goal keeper problem for a long time and the only person who refuses to accept is Wenger and the blame goes to him

  • Nzekwe Asugha

    It is a pity that Wenger has failed to learn any lesson after fourteen years with Arsenal. Wenger pretends to to be ambitious, but the truth remains that he is the least ambitious coach among the top four managers. He had the chance to source for a good keeper, yet he couldnt make up his mind on whom to bring. I think he is too confortable on his job to be advised. Unfortunately, when the history of great managers will be written, i doubt if he will ever get a place in that regard. Todays performance was rather shambolic and the worst i have seen Arsenal display in recent memory. The league is getting tougher and if care is not taken, top four will be a mirage this season.

  • Sahoo

    Great article !! Spot on. Arsene is to blame.

    For this reaction of mine some may call for me to support some other club. But I don’t care. I’m gunner for life. But Arsene has to take the blame. What is he trying to prove by not signing a proven keeper? Forget the keeper winning us matches, this bugger is costing us matches.

    What howlers from Almunia? Look at the saves a few of the goalkeepers made in today’s other EPL matches. Ironically Schwazer himself. Almunia is a god dammed joke.

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

    Wenger can be forgiven when it comes to not spending 25 million on a midfielder when we have the likes of Wilshire coming through. But to refuse to buy a new keeper is a fatal error. We all saw this coming, but somehow chose to ignore it.

    The fact that West Brom hadn’t won for 19 away games makes this defeat even more hard to take.

    Only consolation from today was both the Chavs & the Spuds lost.

    I don’t really expect us to get anything from our next 2 away trips either.

  • dexylongshot

    Same old same old, Wenger won’t buy decent players in problem positions. A decent holding midfielder, center half (i think the new two are pony, why did he let gallas go?) and said goalkeeper.
    In Arsene we trust?

  • Keith O’Connell

    Wow, so this is what they mean when they talk about the doomers.

    Would you honestly spend £5m on Schwartzer? He wasn’t worth £2m and do you really think he was the answer. If he was why had nobody taken a punt on him in his prime.

    Many a Gooner could do with waking up and smelling the coffee, and realizing without Wenger’s advent, we would not have come anywhere near winning the league due to the shoddy mess George Graham had left us in. Our performances in winning silverware and constant Champions League qualification are near heroic and miraculous, and obviously undervalued. Shocking patronage of a club you are supposed to love.

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