Arsene Wenger should have done what Alex Ferguson did – bow out when the ovation was loudest.
Maybe after he had won something, like the FA Cup that we did. He’s a good manager, used to be one of the very best; I repeat, ‘used’ to be.
Because in retrospect, he doesn’t deserve being our Wenger Out hashtags, the sideline shoves from irritants like Mourinho and Alan Pardew, the decapitation of his team before his very eyes (Chelsea, Man-U and such). He doesn’t; he’s too dignified. Or was.
I remember writing this article at the start of 2013, just before the January transfer window shut and trust me I’m still trying my best to believe.
Wenger like Herbert Chapman has led Arsenal to glory days, in fact, he has won more titles at the Arsenal than any other manager in our history.
But then again, that, is history. Meant for the archives, like when Rome or Egypt used to be super powers.
In today’s game, you’re only as good as your next title/result/game. When Eboue started to decline, many asked for him to be sold, and those who didn’t, though sad to see him go, knew it was for the best.
Eboue was only as good as his next game.
Wenger more than anyone should know better. In his hay days, he was a tactical genius; his only rival – Alex Ferguson.
But now, now, football has evolved. And most of the managers of his era have retired, very few remain. And those that remain, have moved with the times, much like putting a V8 engine in the bonnet of a Gatsby.
Wenger however hasn’t evolved, he hasn’t. Not exactly.
He instructs his team to play the tap-tap football that kicked Spain out of the World Cup despite their plethora of midfield talent.
Arsenal like midfield talents as well.
Wenger’s game doesn’t look ruthless, direct, purposeful. My dad played some professional football in his day, he played for a long time and he knows football; he says the same thing.
When you look at Bayern, Atletico Madrid and even the now sinking Borussia Dortmund that beat us in the CL stages, they seem to have a plan. It’s like they say to themselves – “This is what what we’re going to do if A happens and this is what we’re going to do if B or C happens…”
I know we watch the opposition, Per says we do, but do we tweak our tactics to counter the opposition? We seem to play the same way, no? :/
And while I know that we lack the requisite manpower out back, have we done anything to our tactics to stop our getting caught high up the pitch?
Look, let’s face this, we have a good but slow CB in Per Mertesacker, slow DMs in Arteta and Flamini, an inexperienced but pretty good CB in Chambers and a ‘misplaced’ LB in the center. If I was in Wenger’s shoes, I’d do these 3 things:
Considering that I don’t possess fast defenders…
I’d drill into my players heads to drop deeper and not get so high up the pitch because they’re slow. Slow defenders = slow reaction to counters attacks = creation of space = leaking goals.
Considering that I have injured experienced defenders…
I’d drill into my players heads to track back. My players would have to be trained to become defensive minded; we have faster forwards now so getting on the counter would be reasonably easy. Let Steve Bould mold them into rock solid walls.
Make sure passes have purpose and the team improve finishing in the final 3rd…
If this is done, our counter attacks would yield better results because when our blazing fast forwards kick in, we can be sure they’ll covert 6 out of 10 opportunities.
Maybe Wenger’s doing everything I’ve said he should, maybe he’s not, but it’s the job of the manager to fix things. We can’t keep shifting the blame on the players and absolve the management. The players do what the management tells them to.
And if Wenger knew what we know Alex Ferguson knew – that he might find it difficult to compete with the new breed of managers in the game, that he might not just have it him to bring the goods anymore, that it might just be time to move on – then Wenger should have left when the ovation was highest.
Some Gunners argue that we should be happy with the glory days Arsenal has had and be content with what we’re getting. Well, tell a former straight A student that it’s okay for him to get D’s now as long as he’s not a drop-out. That’s what complacency is called. And that’s why people don’t go very far in life.
I say this because of comments from fans and the fact that I watch our games now with much trepidation; I don’t want us to become another Liverpool – a has been.
“Until a man decides that where he is isn’t good enough, he’ll never move forward. You must always, ALWAYS strive for better.” – Anonymous