One Day every Gooner Will Realise that Arsene Wenger is a Saint

So we gained a point in hard battle against the Foxes and also got our first clean sheet of the season. After a false start against Pool, I reckon an away point against the Champions is not a bad return. We all wanted more as we needed to bounce back straightaway, but we will have to wait for it. I can live with that – many fellow supporters, it seems, cannot.

It is a natural law that when Arsenal are not performing to expectations the fans will get out their personal theories, pet hates and simple solutions to solve all our problems once and for all. Furthermore, speak to any supporter of any club and they usually tell you that their team are two players short to become a super team, especially if they are not top of the league.

I have some of these theories, pet hates and simple solutions myself, but never do I believe that I actually know more than Wenger. Yet when you read the blogs and comments there are thousands of key board heroes who reckon Arsene is a fool and they could do much better.

Making suggestions on how to do things different and better for the purpose  of discussion is of course absolutely fine: where would blogs be without it? But the lack of humility and delusions of grandeur by so many fellow supporters is at best frustrating and at worst depressing…. especially if the comments and posts are full of derogatory terms about Wenger’s age, intentions, capabilities etc.

I can tell everyone that a manager who won the FA Cup twice and finished second last season in the last three years, deserves respect and support on its own. But for some reason, this does not seem enough for so many fellow supporters. With or without Wenger we may not win the league again for the next twenty years or so: this is a strong possibility as the PL has become so much more competitive over the last ten years – a period in which the BoD and Arsene invested in the long term future of the club  through building a big, modern stadium that will bring in the necessary revenue to compete with the national and European elite clubs for decades to come – and this is likely to become more challenging rather than easier. It makes the PL such an exciting league compared to the monopolies of Germany (Bayern), Italy (Juventus) and duopolies of Spain and the Netherlands.

I can live with the knowledge that it will be tough to win the league again, let alone regularly in the next ten to twenty years. The only thing I can hope for is that the club can fight for the title with a realistic chance of winning it, every season. And that we do/ will do without any doubt.

I hope that we will keep doing this through building the team with a long term philosophy and strategy, rather than trying to buy and let go lots of players every season. I like us to be great through a set of values and principles the Club, and all its 599 employees, will treat as holy.

I want us to continue to develop our own from the youth teams and from those bought around 16-20 years old from other clubs, home and abroad. I also like us to add experienced players to fill first team or back-up gaps, and I like us to add real, top-gem quality when possible. And that is exactly what the club is doing.

I have no doubt that we will bounce back soon and that Wenger will get the team to compete for the title once more this season, with or without adding the magic ‘two players’. This does not mean that I am convinced we will win the title, but we will have a decent chance to do so.

But what I also feel really, really good about is that the club is now well positioned to compete at the top year in year out, and as soon as Wenger decides enough is enough there is a good structure in place to continue our philosophy and strategy for years to come, which will be very attractive to whoever will succeed the great Arsene.

One day there will not be a single mentally well-functioning Gooner left who does not believe that Wenger was the best thing that ever happened to the club, and that him dedicating such a large part of his football management career to the club is why we are now always fighting for the top prizes. One day every Gooner will realise that Arsene was, and is, a Saint.

By TotalArsenal 

This post was inspired by Terry Mancini’s Hair Transplant’s superb post on ArsenalArsenal:

Transfers? Leave it to Arsene

49 thoughts on “One Day every Gooner Will Realise that Arsene Wenger is a Saint

  • A refreshingly sane article after all the rubbish spewing forth from the internet, radio and TV. However, the fact remains that in order to complete this season with sides that have upgraded in terms of players and management we DO need (as a minimum) a quality striker and central defender.

  • What a wonderfully refreshing Post, Totes, like coming across a blue water oasis in the middle of the desert.

    Years ago I used to take exception to some of the comments made by people who really should have known better and I sailed in with all guns blazing.
    Eventually I realised that fans and blogs are just a microcosm of life in general, where there are some people you are happy to know and call friends, even if you do not always agree with them, perhaps especially when you do not agree, but discuss matters with respect. And at the other end of the spectrum there are people you would be happy never to see or hear their drivel again.

    The blogs are alive with vitriolic and unbalanced personal attacks on AW with pea-brains hurling idiotic abuse at one of the most intelligent and decent men who has ever managed a top professional football team.

    Let’s get it straight. I have no problem with people being upset, or disappointed or let down and expressing those views. But why the vindictive personal attacks on a man who does care about the club, the team and, in my opinion, also the fans.

    Still, some things will never change — and perhaps the demanding fan is simply a consequence of this modern era?

    Anyway, TA, thank you, again, for your delightful Post. 😀

  • Good god help me.
    What drugs are you on?
    Has the last twelve years taught you anything about our chances of challenging for the title?
    The same mistakes made every year, the same excuses every year, the same under performing players given chance after chance, the lack of quality squad strengthening, the lack of pressure to succeed and the club run by a tyrant who should have left years ago.
    Its no wonder fans get so irate and depressed when garbage like this is written…

  • We are seeing the benefits of how Wenger runs the club all the time. A lot of the anger is down to price tag. We currently have a number of players in the youth team who I would suggest look ‘ready’. We also have a number of payers that we still have on the books who look hungry and ready for games. How much would a slimfast silver medalist Gnabry go for? there is quality throughout the club thanks to Wenger.

  • One of he best posts I’ve read this summer, where almost everything seems to be written by moaning “supporters”. With some luck a few people wake up from it, although I’m fine with knowing there are at least some others out there who aren’t simpleminded..

  • A perfect example would be – Klopp and liv – If he doesn’t have liv challenging for the title this season, when he was apparently the best man for our job, well then fans need to take a step back and stop spouting off every second sentence. .

  • Cheers Hassocks

    I reckon we need a CB but I can see that in three months time when Per and Gabriel return Arsene could have a problem in terms of keeping key defenders happy whilst also developing the likes of Holding and Bielik. I guess Arsene’s plan was to make Gabriel and Koz gradually his preferred CB pairing, with the BFG, Holding, Chambers and Bielik providing the back up/ competition. Mertesacker’s absence is leaving Arsenal with a hole to fill, especially now that Gabriel is out too…. I guess we will get a good stop gap option, through a loan or a permanent player. Wenger could also go for a quality CB, as is reported, but that would mean that somebody will have to go once everybody is fit. I reckon this would be Gabriel. Let’s see what Wenger will do in the next seven days.

    I am one of the few who does not want another CF. A quality winger would be great, but I would love to see how Akpom, Gnabry and Iwobi do this season – and there is also the Ox…. I have full confidence in Giroud, Alexis and Welbeck scoring the necessary goals for us and if the youngsters could break through, what a season it will be. 🙂

  • I don’t like the whole WOB vs. AKB thing. I feel it divides fans when we should all be supporting the club we love. People tend to take extreme positions when the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Wenger isn’t perfect but he doesn’t deserve to be burned at the stake either.

    I personally feel he doesn’t always get the most out of the players he has. I feel that theo hasn’t done enough to justify the amount of playing time he’s got in the first two games and I don’t understand why he waits so long to make substitutions. I don’t understand why a man who believes the transfer window should close sooner doesn’t get his business done earlier. I don’t buy this idea that there are good deals to be had at the end when a selling team has no time to find replacements. Basically what I’m getting at is I don’t understand or agree with some of the decisions he makes or his comments to justify them. Thats just my opinion and part of my frustration with him.

    There are still positives as well. I believe he’s still respected and able to convince players to join (indicated most recently by xhaka’s comments). I appreciate the stability he brings as well. Although we should aim for the title I think consistently being near the top still says something, especially when teams like Chelsea and Man Utd fail to reach champions league.

    At the end of the day I just want what’s best for the club and for us to do as much as possible to be successful.

  • ‘Let’s get it straight. I have no problem with people being upset, or disappointed or let down and expressing those views. But why the vindictive personal attacks on a man who does care about the club, the team and, in my opinion, also the fans.’

    That is exactly how I feel about it, Redders. Very well put.

  • Niles Maitland looks ready to go at the moment as well, though will have to have some sort of nickname.

  • SilverT,

    Klopp is a fine manager but he also faces tremendous competition, and even if he does really well with Pool it may still not get him the title. But if the Pool’s BoD are clever they keep him at least five years to set something up for the long term.

  • ArsenalN, that is a fine and balanced comment. I share some of those frustrations even though I like to add that we do not really know the exact ins and out of doing transfers and which challenges the club are facing at the moment. But yes I wish we would add players earlier.

    Re timing of substitutions, although it can frustrate me too at times, I reckon Arsenal often end a game really strongly, often scoring vital goals in the last ten minutes of the game. Maybe subs are most effective in the first twenty minutes rather than thirty?

  • TotalArsenal Even your responses and the comments of your readers make sense. Whats going on?. A Blogger who actually knows his stuff. Good to see a constructive adult debate about for once

  • Hassock 😀

    We have had a few insulting comments as well but they do not get published as per the rules of the blog i.e. the lack content and good manners…

  • Liam, I have not seen much of Niles M but have heard good things about him. I love it that each season one or two youngsters are now bursting through to the top. That’s what happens at a proper club.

  • An absolutely refreshing and truthful article. We all are frustrated for not winning big honours for over a decade now. But the man has been a stable rock for us in seas where other managers and teams have barely managed to stay afloat. I am proud to have Arsene as our manager. In Arsene I Trust.

  • The problem is I think the naysayers have already won.

    I still trawl through the newsnow nightmare in the hope of a glimmer of positivity. Thanks for this post by the way! But I don’t need to tell any of you it’s a struggle to find it amidst the blog vitriol.

    And going to the stadium is just not fun anymore. It’s so sad. Surrounded by w*nkers who are out of their seats, or vociferously groaning if there’s even a misplaced pass in the first 2 minutes.

    It’s horrible. The atmosphere around the club is the worst I’ve ever seen it. And most of it is targeted at the manager. It’s affecting our team, who obviously hear it day in day out, not just at games. The whole mood stinks and I fear there’s only one way I can see that going at this point. It’s too late for him now. A team with this stink around them is never going to win the league. You need solidarity, belief, confidence, cohesion. That doesn’t build when you’re booed off after the first game of the season, after any blip.

    Regardless of the realities, of his achievements, of his flaws, of whatever the latest thing he’s getting accused of, I think all that matters at this point is that he’s lost too much of the support. He’s playing with one leg and his arms tied behind his back and it’s painful to watch it as an Arsenal fan. More painful than watching Theo control a pass.

    I long for the day I can enjoy watching the arsenal again. It’s gone for me. I love the man but I just can’t see anything changing till he’s gone.

    Sorry to be so depressing. It’s just so depressing to see.

  • MAJ, well said. We had about eight years in which the club could not hold on to their best players and could only add the sort of players the other top clubs did not want/ we had to take a punt on. Then the finances started to look a lot better and we were able to hold on to our quality players (unfortunately not that many left at that moment in time) and add both super quality (Santi, Alexis, Mesut) and safe pair of hands quality (Monreal, Debuchy, Welbeck). We started to improve since then with two FA cups in the cupboards of THOF and now finishing second, well ahead of the Chavs and MU, who both did not even manage to qualify for the CL. The improvement might not be enough for many but it is a lot better than scraping towards fourth place every season, as it was before, which of course, given the circumstances, was also pretty good.

    I am hopeful that we can make one more step upwards this year, if not next year, but the competition is very strong and it will need Wenger’s full attention to make it.

  • Keownbitmeref – love the blog name 🙂

    Thanks for a heartfelt and touching comment on how you are experiencing supporting our team at the moment. You are not alone in this, many feel the same. The good thing is that Wenger has been here before and he is a tough cookie. He would rather die next to the pitch then give up the fight, I reckon. We have a good team and once we get going we will become a real force this season. And once the results are starting to look up it will win over many doubters again.

    Let’s hope Wenger and Bould can stabilise the defence as soon as possible (and Saturday’s game offers some good hope) and we can get the Euros’ stars fully back into the team in September. It is a long season with still 108 points to play for. All to play for.

  • Great comment TA, like a user above said, I search through newsnow looking for some positivity and while avoiding the utter bull spouted about transfers by some sites I stumble across this site every now and then! I totally agree with everything you said above and believe that we are a team with the quality to challenge, it just seems in some games the application isn’t quite right. I’ll happily have a defender and a striker but there is talent in the youth and reserve teams that may surprise a few gooners you never know!

    In regards to wenger the sheer amount of disrespect shown to this man is utterly ridiculous and symbolic of the society we now live in. Media outlets such as the Internet and blogs can attract this type of people, the main guilty party being arsenal fan tv letting a few who shall not be named get to spout there utter drivel to YouTube and the likes! I’m afraid like a previous comment said, it might be far too late for wenger as more and more fans have fallen fowl to the mass media’s portrayal of arsenal and these extreme supporters. Don’t get me wrong everyone is entitled to there opinion but at times its disrespectful and damn right stupid.

    In closing great article and please keep posting positive stuff! I’m sick and tired of filtering through the drivel of discontent and would like something sane to read every once in a while! Wenger has built a great foundation that can be built on and he should be applauded for that, not abused and shown disrespectful signs at every away game and abuse shouted at him.

    Anyway keep it up and enjoy the season!

  • Good article stH. I guess we can say we have moved on a bit from mainly attracting risk safe youngsters nowadays, Holding being the exception. But Wenger is definitely adding players to the team who will add value both short and long term, as to make us stronger and stronger gradually.

  • Wow T A you have certainly driven up some positive vibes, well done … I too have sat at the Emirates surrounded by miserable sods, who quickly forget what a wonderful ride Wenger has given us. However to put my glass half full hat on, let me ask a question

    What is our preferred centre back pairing and is it good enough to win the prem or the champions league? One is obviously Kos who is either there or approaching world class. But he lacks a real quality partner. Per , Gabriel and even Holding have some very good attributes,. But they are not good enough yet or in Pers case he is past his best.

    We have known that from last season and despite lots of rumours etc … Nothing., but we ain’t going to win anything until the situation is resolved. I can live with the centre forward , midfield wingers, full backs etc, but something is fundamentally wrong with our transfer process/manager/board for not doing something about this sooner

    Sending Chambers and Holding out against Liverpool was nothing short of criminal in my mind

    So lots of positives and I applaud the positivity, but please get this sorted PDQ

  • Retsub1 – a question for your question! 🙂 In the liverpool game, why is all the blame being placed at the Holding-Chambers doorstep? We had opportunities to cut off the buildup for all the goals (except the Coutinho free kick) well before – but we didn’t and paid the price. Not saying that H-C are the best in the league or anything close to that. But not sure if I would categorize their selection, especially given the circumstances, as “criminal”.

    I am cautiously optimistic about Holding emerging as a solid partner for Kos, perhaps even this year. Bellerin was pilloried after his game against Bayern and only went on from strength to strength after that. Not that he is perfect, but..hope springs eternal, right? 😉 More than who is Kos’ best partner, I am increasingly looking to see who would be the best fit for the “back 6”. The days of a single rock at the back appear to have long gone. Per, at the end of the day, did form the best partnership with Kos and the backline since Kos has been here, I think. Not sure if he is truly past the sell-by date or if he has been carrying injuries for a longer time. What do you think?

  • Hi St Henry

    As much as I want him to succeed, Chambers just looks like an accident waiting to happen to me. I to have been impressed by Holding, but I think it is asking a lot for him to play well on a regular basis, given his age/experience. If you take the Leicester game, I thought Kos played out of his skin and that must have helped Holding a lot. Had H and C started against Leicester I believe we would have lost. But going back to your question I don’t necessarily blame H and C individually for the loss, but believe the lack of stability at the back affected the whole teams confidence as well as the supporters.

    As T A pointed out Wenger knows far more about football than most of us will ever know, but more so of late he seems to be taking chances. I will give some examples below. Maybe Wenger knew things that I didn’t, but they seem obvious to me.

    A few years back , can’t remember the season we were very well placed to win the league, but were having problems with the goalkeeping position where Almunia was having a bad time. Wenger was urged by everyone to bring in an experienced keeper, such as Schwarzer, Given, but for whatever reason he didn’t and in my (and most supporters cost us the title). None of the goalkeepers we could have got were particularly expensive.

    Last year we were desperate for a defensive midfielder. Coquelin had been outstanding after returning from Charlton on loan, but Flamini and Arteta were to old and injury prone to provide support. Once Le Coq got injured, the wheels came off our challenge. Yet to most people it was obvious that had we signed an Elneny or similar prior to the start of the season thingsmight have been very different.

    Individual examples. I remember the away game ar Swansea, when Swansea brought on their right winger sub, who tore Chambers to Shreds. Everyone could see what was going to happen, but nobody did a thing to support Chambers and guess what we lost.

    At Leicester, Coquelin was booked early on and even the commentators were saying what we all knew. Get him off and bring Elneny on. But no Coquelin stayed on and was lucky to do so. In my opinion a needless risk.

    In the second half , both Theo and the Ox were worn out, it was pretty obvious to everyone. But as usual Wenger waited far to long to replace them. When Ozil came on the game changed completely.

    As I said before maybe Wenger knows things that .i don’t. Maybe Gabriel will come good he certainly has the potential. But in my opinion even before Per and Gabriel were injured, the centre back position was our Achilles heal. I may be wrong (I hope I am) but if anything happens to Kos I think we are in deep do do. A loss at the weekend could put us eight points behind the leaders, which may prove a bridge to far.

    It seems like everytime a transfer window comes along, we always threaten to bring in much needed players, but in reality it very rarely happens. United for instance are looking at Southamptons Jose Fonte. I get the impression that if they really want him they will get him. If that means they have to pay a premium to do so, they will do it. We however would rather have our cash in the Bank and wait for the right bargain to come along. Not saying we should pay silly money, but at times like this it may be necessary to pay over the odds.

    In my opinion we should have signed a top class centre back months ago, meaning we wouldn’t have had to pay the premium clubs like Valencia are holding out for.

    Do I know more than Wenger…? No chance, but some things seem blatantly obvious to me

  • It would be great to bring in a super-quality centre back Retsub, and we still might. There’s quite a few good young ones around too, like Mustafi, Laporte, Gimenez, Tah, Süle, and maybe even Marquinhos and Varane. All the big clubs are slowly picking off the best ones; Umtiti went to Barcelona, Zouma to Chelsea and Bailly to Man Utd, but they are available if we need them. In Chambers and Holding we already have two quality young CBs of our own, to go with the experience of Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gabriel. If we choose to spend money to bring in another CB, can we then accommodate that sixth centre back in the squad and give them decent game time? It’s hard because CBs aren’t rotated as much as the rest of the team. But if we do decide to go ahead, we don’t need to be held to ransom, because we can let it be known that we have good players and are prepared to wait for the mid-season transfer window if necessary.

    I think AW is smart enough to know how to strike this balance well – Mourinho for example will always bring in high-priced star players and undermine the progress of young talent. What do you think will happen to Martial and Rashford at Man Utd this season? Honestly, if I were a young talent like them I’d stay well clear of Man Utd right now. OK Arsene’s not perfect, like with the subs but even there he’s improving I think But never forget that he is deeply sincere in his love for the club and for the kids that work their socks off for our team, and I can have nothing but the utmost respect for him.

    I think the biggest improvement we need to make is in our 12th player, which is our fan base. Having strong home and away support makes every bit as much difference on match day as having a good manager or a dodgy referee, and somehow the home fans need to be do their part to propel their team forward. I don’t know how, but somehow we need to create a culture not of entitlement (like Man Utd or Real Madrid) but of appreciation for the fine football that we are so lucky to watch and to show our willingness to go through good times and bad with this team. That’s why I really appreciate this site and it’s contributors so much!

  • Long term thinking. Exactly TA. And that is what puts Arsenal in the crosshairs of the media and many fans, who are short termist by nature. It is seen as a crime to stand apart and stand out.

    It amuses me that people choose to preach to Arsene and Arsenal on every topic. Business practices (winning will boost club’s value), transfer market (buying early saves money, lets players settle in – latter is true, but who do they think they are educating about that), how to manage wages (our ‘socialist’ wage model was blamed for ‘only’ top 4) and of course tactics and substitutions. As you say, discussing these things is the life blood of blogs, but surely there must be a certain ‘doubt’ that accompanies one’s own convictions, especially because it is undoubtedly true that our knowledge and experience is very limited compared to professionals. Especially someone who’s been at the top of his profession for so long.

    I have my disagreements with Wenger’s tactics, subs, comments, transfers (Ben Yedder 😦 ) and everything else too. But how do we balance these frustrations against what is good?

    I believe one of the differences is that some people view the ’12 years’ as a constant (now that the x years without a trophy count is back down to 1, we must persist with another negative narrative of course), while some others view Arsenal not pursuing the same strategies as other big clubs, especially after the austerity of the stadium move, as some sort of betrayal. We were promised we would be among the biggest clubs in the world, competing for the best players and biggest prizes.

    What I see, and what somehow, they seem not to, is that the rise of Chelsea, ManCity, housing crisis, increased sponsorships for others while ours were locked in, and the lower significance of increased stadium revenue has meant that our plan has had many setbacks, and as such is reasonable that the timelines would be delayed. Even so, since 2014, which for me was the start of a new era, (with gratitude to Wenger and the board for getting us through) we haven’t lost a single player against our wishes, we’ve bought a great player every summer, and we’ve won successive FA Cups. Our squad is getting better, and even the academy revamp is progressing well, with a group of youngsters looking near ready to step up, while a few have already done so.

    And all this while, Arsenal have actually been getting bigger as a brand. We are on the cusp of greatness. This hasn’t happened by accident nor overnight, and I don’t see us abandoning our strategy for the benefit of any naysayers. Even if they manage to get rid of Wenger. (they’ve FAILED for so long, one wonders when they just resign because it’s the right thing to do. You know, no double standards and all that)

    I would say though, that at this point, our strategy should have enough room for some flexibility. In the sense that if we need to or want to spend big, we should be able to, at least as a one off if not a constant policy. We should be a team looking to go into win now mode, based on how our squad is placed (very well)

  • Great comments between Retsub, StH and Davyx2 re the CB cover situation – all with good points.

    Talking a little bit with my Human Resources background, I reckon Wenger will have looked short term, mid-term and long term at his CB options. He will have realised that he had no good youngsters available who can get into the first team within 6-12 months (if need be). So he bought Holding and transformed Bielik from a DM to a CB – both meant for the future. All good stuff I am sure most of us agree.

    He then had to look at his ageing CBs Per and Kos. The latter is still very fit and has at least two years at top level left. The former showed signs of deterioration last season, especially in the big games (Barca and Chavs come to mind). So what to do? Ah there is Chambers who should be ready to take over from Per gradually, or should it be Gabriel who seems to be further ahead of Calum….? So easing out an experienced defender and easing in an up and coming one, is a good approach for such a key role.

    Our defence did reasonably well in the last PL campaign, we should not forget that. However, I also felt we had to add a quality CB to be more solid. As such I figured we would let one of Gabriel or Chambers go (on loan?) but there was not that much urgency.

    Then the injuries happened to Per and Gabriel in quick succession and Wenger had to rethink his approach. This was made harder by Holdings fine performances and the lack of quality CB available at the moment – they would have to be better than Gabriel. And Gab and Per will also return sooner or later and what is Wenger going to do with them then?

    I reckon that Wenger does not believe that Chambers will make it as CB anytime soon and that he should recruit a player who is ahead of Holding and ready to take over from Per in 12-18 months or so. But as I said before, he will also be tempted to promote Holding straightaway as the one who will replace Per eventually. In that case, he will be looking for a temporary solution, which I reckon will be really, really hard to do.

    I think what the above shows it is not easy for Wenger to make the right decision.

  • Retsub, yes absolutely, Wenger knows things you and I do not know. He lives and breathes the job day in day out, knows his players and has a lot research done of the game which he will apply when he sees fit. I think we as fans see things that we do not like, and get frustrated if Wenger does not act on what seems obvious to us, but we must not take ourselves too seriously with those views, as he really does know a lot more than us.

    We should also realise that Wenger gets the best out of players by supporting and trusting them and creating a positive and constructive environment in which they can thrive. He does not quickly give up on a player and that is how Rambo is what he is today and Giroud has remained a steady CF around whom he can build his attacking play. Sometimes, it does not work out and Wenger will then let these players go – like Almunia, Denilson and a few others. Fans tend to be far more here and now focussed and would dump a player after just a few bad performances but that is not what Wenger is about – it would also create a lot of distrust among the other players.

    Let’s remember that we are engaged but Wenger is committed – just like the chicken and the pig who are considering to serve the sick farmer a portion of eggs and bacon… 🙂

  • Good comments Shard.

    What I must say is that we have to stay with the times or we get eaten up like Kodak, just to put an example.

    However, we do not need to spend massive amounts of money. Just play what is most effective nowadays. Somehow we play the same gameplay week in and week out, but it doesn’t reap rewards as we were 10 points off top spot last season.

    We are lacking depth and fit players, thus we have to dig deep and play the same players for most of the season. When we have everyone back, the manager has a huge headache about who to choose and we got caught out.

    But as TA says, who am I to comment about who to choose. If the team loses it is not down to one person, but a few leaders on the pitch can make it better.

    Yes, we are almost there, but it is still not there yet internally.

    We need leaders from external to make us better.


  • 🙂 Ha! Retsub – I had exactly the same thoughts as you for all the incidents you mention! Would love to know the specifics discussed in the dressing room and the trade-offs considered (and I am sure that there were trade-offs in play that we are not aware of). I agree with TA’s perspective on this.

    I do feel that many of the examples cited for “Wenger does not know what he’s doing” are lazy analysis by the various commentators. Case in point – The story goes that we have been terrible in defense over the last few years! Well, here are the numbers for the last three years:
    2013/14 – Goals against = 41 (league best = 27; Chavs) [this was a bad and atypical year for us in defense]
    2014/15 – Goals against = 36 (league best = 32)
    2015/2016 – GA = 36 (league best = 35)
    The worst period for us in the Wenger era was from 2009-2012 when we were conceding ~44 goals per season! ~35 is the average number of goals conceded by Arsenal over the Wenger era and this places Arsenal in the top 5 when it comes to defensive stability (similar to ManU). The two times when we conceded less than 30 goals are 2003-2004 (wonder what happened! :-)) and 1998-1999.

    My impression after looking at these numbers is hardly “Its obvious that Arsenal need a good CB. If they got one they would be champions. Wenger is so naive”! The one interpretation I increasingly favor is that the narrative from the talking heads is totally out of context. I guess they repeat it enough times to themselves that they start to believe it, even if the data do not support their case…and many times we too buy that narrative.

  • Great stuff, TA…But put me with Keownbitmeref…The atmosphere is so hostile that Arsenal have no home stadium and the haters have already won. I’d love to see it turn around but some in my house (my wife) already believe this will be the season it all implodes and the haters finally win (and win big). We needed a perfect start and what we’ve gotten is far from it.

    The thing is, while it’s “obvious” we need a world class striker and a world class defender, even if we buy them the negativity will still overwhelm. Should we have bought Higuain for 80 million (no, of course not, we should have bought him for 30 million 3 years ago…) Should we buy Mustafi for 50 million? (No, because Holding is just as good…) It just goes on and on and for each and every criticism there is just one answer: winning. As you point out, even that isn’t good enough. Back to back FA Cups mean nothing just as a league title wouldn’t either. Maybe three consecutive quadruples would do the trick but that’s still only one trophy per “barren” year… :shakes head

    People have lost touch with (what I call) the process and only want results…and when you do that even results don’t satisfy. It’s a culture of entitlement. We should all be born wealthy and just buy what we want, discard it when it no longer pleases us (tomorrow…) and then keep buying the newest and shiniest bling. The only thing left to argue about is what shines the brightest…

    This is why I wonder why people are so angry when I suggest that they keep Arsenal as their “local” or “of the heart” or “low spending” or “doing it the right way” team and choose one of the massive silly spenders as their fantasy club for winning the trophies. The Mancs and Chelsea are clearly willing to burn money just to keep warm while Kroenke and his manager(s) see things differently with their long(er) term plan. Anyhow, I’ll refrain from making such statements but people should note that finishing above those clubs (last season!!!) was a bit of a miracle. That all three are perfect after these first two matches (6 pts from 6) means it’s an even tougher climb in these final 36…

    The rides the thing, however, so wouldn’t be even sweeter to come from behind and haul them in? I think so, but the haters would still blame Wenger’s ineptitude that we blew our chance at an(other) invicible season…

    Etc., etc., etc…

    Again, great post and some very fine comments in there too…

  • I take my hat off to you TA, you have generated the best responses I have read for a long time.
    Top marks.
    I have to admit when I read the post shortly after it was published, and only PE had made a comment, my first thought was ….’What the feck is he, (i.e you), doing reading all these garbage posts?’
    I simply don’t give them air time! I can honestly say I have never read a blog that has been abusive to AW. Except of course the odd ‘one liner’s’ that occasionally make it on to here. No surprise then that I haven’t intentionally opened a blog from ‘Le Grove’, and it must be all of 4 years since I looked into ‘Arsenal Truth’ out of curiosity. As for ‘Arsenal Fan’, well you have to be an idiot to know he is going to have a rant at some point?
    Same with the transfer blogs, with their misleading titles, and rehashed quotes from elsewhere, or worse, repeated post of their own from 6 months ago! Just don’t give them ‘click time’.

    However, some of the above posters may, or may not, be pleased with the latest TW stuff, but it may be best to wait until the news is announced on What may be of bigger interest will be where will the big wad of cash go that AW has said he is willing to spend go???

    But there I go straying into territory that you detest. So the short answer to your hopes in this post;
    Saint? No.
    Dedicated? Most definitely!

  • Gerry, I know you’ve quoted info from “Pain in the Arsenal” one of the worst of all the idiot-hater blogs out there (emphasis on idiot, but plenty of hater in there too)… Just look at the title–it was set up to discuss the “pain” of our club…

    I actually read Arsenal Truth because that guy came from a place where I started out–the old Arsenal America supporters group. He is one of the most hateful, but to his credit, he’s also more or less quit watching the team and English football more generally. A lot of the hater-blogs keep hanging around, you know, just in case things perk up and Arsenal win something. If you BELIEVE that AW is such a fool you shouldn’t have trouble abandoning the club until his tenure is over. So, I gotta give props to Danny T for doing just that…

    What truly bums me out is just how fickle folks are and how they allow themselves to live so deeply in the moment. If the moment is good then rah, rah, rah and hah ha ha (at our opponents), if not Wenger is an idiot. It just seems to me that if you’re gonna play at manager you need to take that long-term perspective and not get too high (after a win) nor too low after a defeat (or draw).

    Things like subs seem just about the worst. The manager has regular subbing times because he also has to worry about the confidence of his players and yanking someone early shows a lack thereof… Overall, results are one thing, performance another and everything else (behind the scenes issues) probably loom as large as what (we think) we see on the pitch…

    Nothing personal here Gerry–and I agree with your main point–ignore the haters. Really, I’m just using your comment to continue on with my ideas before I pull that (killer) 2nd espresso of the morning…

  • No surprise to see your comment, 17HT, as it is well documented by now that you do not approve about the home support for the mighty red and white. Let’s hope things will change for the better soon. 🙂

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