On October 1st, 1996, Arsene Wenger became manager of Arsenal Football Club. Many fans were saying “Arsene Who”, yet he has gone on to become Arsenal’s longest serving, most successful and greatest manager of all time.
Yet on February 27 of this year, I believe Arsenal collapsed. It was the day of the Carling Cup Final, a game which many of us expected us to win, yet a last minute mix up between Szczesny and Koscielny led Birmingham to its first trophy for over 40 years. It was a game that mentally destroyed us.
Arsenal went on to win two more games that season, against Leyton Orient and Blackpool. Somehow, Arsenal went from being comfortably in second place to being in fourth behind Manchester City and Chelsea.
Since the start of the new season, Wenger has been under constant pressure from fans and the media to splash the cash in the transfer market. He managed to sign 5 decent players, yet they have not solved Arsenal’s problems at all.
Arteta has been good for us, probably our best signing, yet he seems to lack the magic that Cesc Fabregas possessed in the midfield. Mertesacker has been average, some games he has done well while during other games he has had trouble coping to the physicality of the game. Yossi Benayoun has also been average. He has tried hard yet he doesn’t seem to have the spark that possessed during his time with Liverpool. Andre Santos has hardly played. He was a player I was very excited about, yet he seems to be losing out on a place to young Kieran Gibbs. Lastly, Chu-Young Park has been non existent. His only game came against League 2 side Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup.
Most Arsenal fans have already jumped to the conclusion that it is time to move away from Arsene Wenger, yet I believe that Arsenal fans need to think a bit harder.
Yes, Arsenal have been poor this season, and that is partially due to Arsene Wenger, but lately in his post match interviews, you can see something very different.
Last season, whenever we lost a match, Wenger would always talk about how we were unlucky and we didn’t deserve to lose. This season, particularly after the Tottenham match, Wenger said something I have never heard him say before. He actually talked about how bad our defence was during the game. He has always tried to protect his players in the past, but now he seems more annoyed with the way we have been playing.
A huge mistake Arsene has made in the past has always been selling his best players to quickly. From the transition of Highbury to Ashburton Grove, we lost some of our most influential players, including Pires and Bergkamp, which affected the squad the next season. This season we let go of Fabregas and Nasri , which has had a huge affect on the way we are playing this season.
I’m not sure of what to make of Arsene Wenger. He is a great man, a great manager and a living legend, who can never be replaced. He changed the game for Arsenal and all over the world, and his charity acts have been second to none. Yet is it time let go of him and find a new, more ambitious manager? I believe the answer to that question will be resolved within the coming months.
In Arsene We Trust