In Arsene We Rust: Arsenal Will Ditch Wenger At The End Of This Season
Pressure builds on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Matt Hughes tells Times readers that the Arsenal manger should go.
The time has come for Arsenal to take the kind of risk their manager seems so incapable of. It would definitely be a gamble, could prove divisive and may even be unfair, but Arsène Wenger should be thanked for his work and asked to leave the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season.
Anorak is less sure.
Wenger is guilty of making the same mistakes over and over again – refusing to strengthen his squad in key areas and sticking steadfastly to a gung-ho playing style that leaves his side exposed at the back. Arsenal’s vulnerability to counter-attacks and tendency to commit too many bodies forward is obvious for all to see, yet the manager is seemingly powerless to do anything about it. His stubbornness in the transfer market has also ceased to be a laughing matter, with the failure to strengthen in central midfield and at centre half last summer one of many recent errors of judgment.
One Arsenal shareholder agrees.
Alisher Usmanov owns around 30% of Arsenal. He says:
“Arsene Wenger is one of the greatest coaches not just of European but of world football. But we have a Russian proverb which goes: ‘Even an old lady can have a roof falling on her.’ Everybody makes mistakes. He can make mistakes and I know as you age that it is more difficult, more challenging to accept one’s mistakes. Maybe it’s a problem today.
“I like Arsene for his principles, but principles are a sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities. That’s why sometimes coaches even without principles became the coaches of great teams and some coaches with principles lose because some positions in team are vacant because of ethical, moral or personal views.
“Does he have money or not? There is officially money in the club. How does he spend [it]? This decision investors have left with him. I wish them victories, because their victories are the victories of investors, including myself, and of great Arsenal fans, which deserve these victories.
“My opinion — and I tell it openly — we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in [the] U.K. as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real [Madrid], Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, [Bayern Munich] and other clubs.”
No true Arsenal fans deserves victories. A fan who arrives at the ground only to see their side win is an idiot. Football is about being entertained. My reasons for thinking it time for Wenger to go are not because Arsenal fans are a unique breed who deserve to see their team win but because watching Arsenal is not as exciting as it once was. The new brings with it hope and uncertainty. And that’s fun.
Right now, Arsenal under Wenger look stale.
Wenger can restore Arsenal’s glory days by being bold and making changes. His success in making Arsenal bat above their weight for decades has seen a sensation. He should ignore Usmanov, the kind of football arriviste whose knowledge of Arsenal stretches no further than his bank account shows and for whom football is a vanity project. Usmanov adds:
“Nothing wrong, but we just repeat [the] same results year by year. Quite high to secure the place in the Champions League, but we regularly lose in the first circles of playoffs. As an investor I am not happy with that.”
There is something so obvious in the structure of Arsenal’s setup that is missing and, despite spending more last summer than he has in any previous transfer window, it was something Wenger chose not to address properly.
Back in May, Wenger told a nostalgic story about how he used to create teams at the age of 10 for the local pub side that used his parents’ pub as their HQ. “I assisted when the guys picked the team each Sunday,” he said. “I looked like a little boy trying to be the manager – I already had opinions. When you are a kid you are 100% convinced of them.”
At the age of 65 he is still convinced but the trouble is, only a few months into a three-year contract and with familiar problems rearing their ugly head, not everyone else is.
Wenger is a football mastermind. It’s now time to show his flair for the daring and new. If he fails, at season’s end the Arsenal board should be as forward-thinking and as creative as their manager has been. Wenger should be replaced…