The Curious Case of Arsene Wenger

By Imran Kardar

Well, well, well, where do I begin?! For those who are going to read this article please beware that I am a Manchester United fan and what all I’m going to say below is NOT going to go down well with the Arsenal fans. So you may want to stop reading just about now!

Oh so you want to read on?! Well don’t say I didn’t warn you. And by the way Arsenal’s win over Crystal Palace courtesy of an own goal doesn’t change anything.

When Arsene Wenger came to England people had their doubts about him but he took Arsenal to some great heights and achieved a lot with the Gunners , including the “Invincible” season. He brought with him a style of play that wasn’t used by many in the league, fast tempo, and quick passing football. Got to say that over the years some of Arsenal’s one touch passing and goals have been a delight to watch for the football fans. And my praise for Wenger ends right there!

The last time Arsenal won the English Premier League title was in 2004, a cool 11 years ago! A couple of seasons without a title are acceptable but how did a club the size and magnitude of Arsenal go 11 years without winning the league title?! There is something wrong there for sure! Arsenal fans give the justification that they were building a new stadium, the club was short on money to buy quality players but sorry I don’t’ buy that crap. What is arsenal’s primary goal as a football club? To have a shining balance sheet or trophies in the trophy cabinet?! Yes in the last two years Arsenal has won the FA Cup and yes it is a trophy but seriously, FA Cup?! Ask any Arsenal player today and they wouldn’t hesitate for one second to exchange the FA Cup winner medal for a league medal.

What should be worrying for Arsenal and its fans is that in this 11 year gap teams like Chelsea and Man City have come up from nothing, albeit with the help of their sugar daddy’s, and have won titles not only in England but also in Europe as is the case with Chelsea. Arsene Wenger is to blame for Arsenal falling down the pecking order. One can accept that we are not aware of Arsenal’s internal processes/strategies but it’s the manager’s job to get the team right, get money out of the owners for squad development, etc. And this is where Wenger has failed miserably in my view. However, we can see a change in the last few years with Arsenal going for big players and signing a marquee player each season starting with Mesut Ozil two years back, Alexis Sanchez last year (what a player he has been), and Petr Cech this season. Great buys but what does Arsenal have to show for it, two FA Cups?

People jump on the spending bandwagon and blast the daylights out of Manchester United but has anyone stopped for a minute and thought that Arsenal spent 96 odd million pounds last season?! They had a more settled squad than United and after that spending they went up from 4th to 3rd in the league, had an average head to head with the top four and won the FA Cup. Their fans say that they beat United on their way to the FA Cup and yes they did and it was a highlight of their season but let’s not get in to that game and the piss poor officiating. And the gooners slam United going from 7th to 4th with the limitations in the squad! News flash guys, you added quality to your “settled” squad and went up 1 position only! United had an inexperienced defense, new manager, new tactics, new coaches, misfiring strikers (RVP and Falcao) and Rooney in midfield but still managed to jump 3 places.

So what now this season? They have reinforced and brought in Petr Cech. Have the same quality squad of last season and lost 2-0 at the Emirates to West Ham in the season opener! Bravo Arsenal and bravo Arsene Wenger! If that had happened to United during the Fergie era he would have blasted every single squad member from Carrington to Katmandu! And ordered double training sessions too! Wenger seemed least bothered with the mediocre performance. At times it seem like he just doesn’t enjoy the job anymore and that he is there just because the club doesn’t have the guts to say goodbye to him and he himself is scared of retirement. For the betterment of the club they should say goodbye to him and start planning for the future. Klopp was a fantastic option this season but I guess the FA cup bought Wenger more time.

Saw a joke doing the rounds on Twitter last week which was basically called the Arsenal Cycle; 1) Buy Players; 2) We are going to win the title; 3) #WengerOut; 4) Finish 4th and Repeat! That had me and many in the world on the floor in fits of laughter! If Arsenal truly want to get back to the old glory days they need a stronger manager than Arsene Wenger, someone who would blast the players on their selfie obsessions and demand more on the pitch. Till then they are bound to fail again and again. And we deeply hope that they do! #WengerForLife

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