Why a historic quadruple is out of Wenger’s reach

by Ben McAleer

Friday, February 18th, 2011

The Champions League has been kind to two of our four English stalwarts this week with both Tottenham and Arsenal picking up victories to take into their respective second legs. Being a Spurs fan, Tuesday’s win was a delight to witness and I am proud I have been around to witness Tottenham’s debut Champions League season.

Nonetheless, I am going to take time out to focus on Arsenal for my piece and the news that I read on my phone that Arsene Wenger is aiming for a historic quadruple this season. Wenger is no stranger to breaking records with Arsenal’s Invincible 03/04 squad breaking records left, right and centre. However, I believe a quadruple is out of Wenger’s reach this season.

Don’t get me wrong, his Arsenal team are in a good position to make a serious challenge to make history in 2011. Through to The Carling Cup Final, sitting second in The Premiership only four points behind United, leading at the half-way point of their last 16 Champions League tie with Barcelona and are easily the overwhelming favourites in their FA Cup showdown with Leyton Orient on Sunday.

Yet, to fight on all four fronts and win is a big, big ask for Wenger’s side. The return of front-man Robin Van Persie, the shining light that is Jack Wilshere and the goals from Samir Nasri are just three of the reasons why Arsenal look all but set to end the elusive trophy hunt this year with the first major honours of the season being contested between the North London outfit and Birmingham City at the end of the month where Arsenal will enter Wembley as overwhelming favourites to take the trophy back to The Emirates.

The FA Cup next and, on paper, a tie against Leyton Orient will look all but simple yet we all know about eh magic of the cup and anything can happen on the day so to say an upset is a write off, shame on you. This is what the FA Cup is all about and, although and upset is unlikely, I wouldn’t say an Arsenal victory is set in stone. The next round is the next obstacle, should they conquer Leyton Orient with Arsenal, potentially, facing the likes of Manchester United or Chelsea in the next set of fixtures.

The next two are the mountainous problems for Arsenal – The Premiership and The Champions League. Looking firstly at The Premiership and, to put it simply, Arsenal have been in a similar position before and it’s gone wrong. Leading the way back in 2008, the North London outfit’s title charge became de-railed following the horrific leg-break of Brazilian born Croatian Eduardo whilst the previous two years have seen Arsenal in the thick of it until March/April when their inexperience in the run-in kicks in and two wrong results see Arsenal fall out of the race.

Finally, The Champions League. Being drawn against the old foe Barcelona must look good on paper to football fans around the world but not to Arsenal fans. Credit must go to Arsenal for the way they conducted themselves on Wednesday night as they came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against, arguably, the World’s best team. However, despite the victory the tie is far from over. Pundits claim Arsenal hold the advantage and, in some aspects, they do, albeit, a slim one. Barcelona are back on home turf and already have the much needed away goal which will stand them in equally good stead next month. Yet, like the FA Cup, if Arsenal pick up a result there is still the risk of who they could face in the next round but, like the FA Cup, that bridge can be crossed when, and should, Arsenal get to it.

My concluding thought, despite being a Spurs fan, is that Arsenal winning a quadruple would be absolutely fantastic for English football and a superb achievement for the club itself. Unfortunately, for the above reason, I can’t see it happening. The Carling Cup is definitely within their grasp as they head into the fixture as favourites to lift the trophy and I feel 2011 will be the year they end their trophy drought but a quadruple is, unfortunately for Arsenal fans, out of their grasp in my opinion. However, the nucleus is there to push on and pick up trophies as the years roll on.

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  • Clive

    As an Arsenal fan, I applaud your sensible comments – too many Gooners and Spuds 🙂 are too antagonistic and cannot see behind their red and white or blue and white shaded glasses.

  • Osi

    What a joke article! You said that you have news that “Arsene Wenger is aiming for a historic quadruple this season”. But Wenger didn’t say he’s going to win a quadruple this season, he simply said that he’ll go till the end in very competition they’re in. Check the words of Wenger before you base your analysis on it. Also don’t blame Wenger for showing ambition to win trophies even though it is difficult to win them all. Wenger has to elevate the bar of achievement for this team and aim for everything by giving all they have.

    I think you rather focus on the empty promises of your manager who wants you to believe he’s genuine title contender and that he’s close to surpassing Arsenal.

  • afc

    will hold you to that my friend. When the gunners get gunning there is no stopping them. Also you have to look at arsenals team from the one back in 2008, cesc fabregas,, jack wilshere,,van persie,,samir nasri. The core of our team is quite amazing. and I would not swap any of those players for anybody in the league, arsenal
    Are getting there big time. I no this sounds crazy but I’m already excited about next season when we welcome ryo miachi, and hopefully Eden hazard, plus we still have the amazing vermalen to come back

  • Mr arsenal

    You seem like a closet Arsenal fan grow some nuts and support Arsenal poppit

  • faggie

    Gunners dreams come trus in 2011, watch out

  • Jed

    Sensible stuff. I was expecting a load of typical one-eyed nonsense that you often get from that deluded and obsessed mob from up the road but your analysis was well thought out and didn’t contain a hint of bias. Nice piece.

    The Carling Cup, although not a forgone conclusion, should be in the bag (Cue: 1-0 Brum victory!) but as for the FA and champs league, it’s impossible to say what will happen before the draws are made. Even so, Wednesday night has proved the old adage that on our day, we can literally beat ANYONE and IF we do progress against Barca (although I’m not holding my breath) why couldn’t we go all the way? In the FA Cup, I don’t see why we would fear Chelsea, City or even Man Utd. Tough games yes but hardly impossible to win.

    And so onto the league. Your example of 2008 (and even last season was similar) is fair enough but look at the winning runs Wenger’s teams put together in 98 and 2002. It’s unfair to suggest that they will collapse given they’ve done the exact opposite in those two campaigns. Why can’t this year be the same?

    All in all, like I say, sensible writing. Keep up the good work.

  • ed

    thanks for using your time to write an article about us…………but it wasnt needed.

    you contradict your self in the article a bit and if arsenal keep their players fit is more than possible

  • TC

    Am a solid Arsenal fan, always have been , always will be… This write – up surely reflects what 90% of thinking Arsenal fans feel – the point isn’t whether Arsene was quoted rightly ( arguably he wasn’t) – but about whether Arsenal are truly likely to go all the way. Would love it if we did, but realistically we quite probably won’t for the reasons listed in the article. So let’s give credit where credit is due – it’s an honest reflective article from a Spud. Shows that passion and intelligence are not mutually exclusive and that and there are sensible fans on both sides of the divide. Finally, for the FIRST time in my long life, I couldn’t help but feeling pleased for the spuds in getting a result in Italy. Well done I say to them – we’ll undoubtedly crush you when we meet again in the league but ‘arry and his boys have done North London and the EPL proud! Just like us!!

  • Adam

    What do you want Wenger to do then? Throw his hands up and admit he doesn’t think Arsenal will win anything this year. A very silly piece of writing.

  • forever arsenal

    We r still in the run in all 4 competition… as a manager u would want to challenge on all 4 that u r in. Whether arsenal managed to do it(quadrupled) or not..its another matter. I remembered before we go thru season unbeaten most critics said its not achieveable n other nasty remarks…but the truth is we did.
    If we ever managed to do quadrupled in a seasons,there will still be bad remarks against us….esp ppl in england they will criticise arsenal no matter how successful we are.
    Have the ppl credited Arsene for the grooming of Wilshere n gibbs? No!!!! But if they r groomed by red nose or redknappkin ..it will be published the whole entire newspaper around UK tributing to their manager.but worldwide outside UK, ppl n fans of gunners recognise n regard highly for what Arsene has done to Arsenal Football Club.

  • Kelvin

    What an utterly shite and pointless article.

  • no. 9

    Very sensible article.

  • Stan

    Jealousy is a secondary emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of presenting emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust. It is not to be confused with envy.

  • http://thebeautifulgameweekly.blogspot.com/ Ben McAleer

    wow, mixed reactions I must say. I will try and answer every response much I can.

    1) Arsenal could win the quad if the right players were fit and the current crop were utilised from day 1 i.e. Van Persie and Walcott not missing substantial chunks of the season, Sczesny first choice from the beginning of the season not the middle along with Djourou in defence. Just a few examples why I believe they could but for the very same reasons they won’t.

    2) not a closet Arsenal fan, I am a Spurs season ticket holder but will applaud good football when I see it and if it happens to be Arsenal playing the good football, so be it.

    3) I never said Wenger should throw his hands up and admit he won’t win the quad. Shows lack of ambition and the fact he wants to win every competition he is in is one that must be shown by every manager (not much point being a manager if you don’t want to win all cups your club is in). My article simply states why he won’t not why he should give up and try again next year or the year after that etc.

    4) Not jealous, not one bit. Obviously, I would love it if Spurs had the same success Arsenal have had but I wouldn’t change my loyalties for all the money in the world.

    5) The promises of title glory etc from Redknapp was embarrassing. I wrote a similar piece a few months ago (when Arsenal beat us 4-1 at WHL) about how infuriating it is when Tottenham players build themselves up ahead of North London Derby’s whilst Arsenal players remain silent and do there talking on the pitch rather than off it. It’s wonderful when it pays off but embarrassing (which it has done in recent years) when it doesn’t. Granted, the gulf is closing but said gulf is still a large one that won’t change overnight.


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