Arsenal - Wenger Era Isn't Over, But His Vision Could Be
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Wenger Era Isn't Over, But His Vision Could Be

So Wenger walks...then what? Do people calling for Wenger's head think that all the great work he has done will remain and some other manager will simply pick up from where Wenger left? A lot of players are at Arsenal because of Wenger, not only great players of today but Arsenal's future stars are linked with Wenger.

I've been thinking about this for some time now and ironically clubs like Chelsea who have entirely adopted the continental management policy are less likely to go through painful transitions, clubs like Man Utd and Arsenal are joined at the hip with their current managers, Chelsea aren't Scolari or Mourinho but Man Utd and Arsenal are Ferguson and Wenger, when those guys leave it will hit hard, so it's painfully ironic that a club such as Chelsea which paid any amount of money for immediate, short term success are perhaps better equipped to deal with any long term problems such as managerial change.

I do think that Wenger has reached a Plateau though, his policy of using real league games worth real points to work out how well his youngsters are developing is not working, the EPL is more competitive than it has ever been, playing the best football used to win you the league. Not any more. Abromovich changed all that, to win the EPL you need to have players who consistently perform at the highest level, because at Chelsea if you don't then you get replaced, this ruthless approach has meant that other teams have had to respond. Wenger however, never responds, he always plays his own game, which is admirable. But the best managers can diversify when needed and admit they've cocked up when needed. Ferguson looked totally spent a few years ago, four years ago Arsenal were so much better than Man Utd but in those four years Ferguson has diversified, responded and reacted to the reality of the EPL.

Wenger doesn't have the financial luxury of Chelsea or United but he doesn't need it, he built a really competitive side last season with a fraction of the budget and then in the summer he bafflingly let it crumble before his eyes, he didn't respond and was yet again fixated on his vision. So I would say Wenger's current vision of an Arsenal time has come to a close but that doesn't mean his era is coming to an end, he needs to admit to himself the self inflicted damage on his current team and then do something about it and respond to the reality of the EPL. He is a clever bastard so I know he can diversify his vision and approach.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Professor Calculus Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 4 2008

Time: 2:17PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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All I can say is my sentiments exactly. We need a slight cultural change, but there is no better manager to instigate it than the one we have.
Little Dutch
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04/11/2008 14:25:00

I honestly can't convey enough how awesome and astute this article is. Wenger's departure would be a disaster of epic proportions.
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04/11/2008 14:28:00

I think we need to do a combination of adding two or three, possibly even four older players into the side, and bring in Martin Keown as a defensive coach and i think the improvement will be dramatic. I believe that Wenger can still have his youngster policy, but with those more experienced heads in their still realistically challenge on all 4 fronts again
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04/11/2008 14:34:00

If Wenger left I would agree with you Rocky and Prof, it would be a disaster for us at this moment in time. The reason Ramsey signed for us over MU was because of Wenger and there is no better manager to get us out of this mess IMHO.
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04/11/2008 14:38:00

Wenger has always diversified his approach and adapted to changes in his policy whether enforced or by design. He wouldn't have survived as long as he has if he couldn't. Arguably this current policy is in itself a reflection of that ability to adapt and build a team able to compete over a longer period while simultaneously meeting the challenges of restricted finances in building the stadium. Maybe he is looking too far into the future but that phase is passing and so the policy will inevitably adapt and change but there is little point in wanting to keep the man if we only wish to do so if he adopts our vision of what is right rather than his own.
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04/11/2008 15:08:00

'bring in 4 older players to the side blah blah blah...' what a load of old b0llox. Been saying for ages now if Arsene turned it in we'd all be ****ting ourselves.. good article, but for 'but in those four years Ferguson has diversified, responded and reacted to the reality of the EPL.' read 'Ferguson has spent spent spent, whilst Arsenal have been constricted financially with the new stadium'
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04/11/2008 15:32:00

although I respect LD and Prof opinion I totally agree as always with what Amos says. If we added four older players(what age? at what price), what happens to the upcoming players,i.e. 19/20 year olds? I just wonder as a thought if after a win mid week and several good wins at home will this still be the same opinion? If we start to include four older players in who do we dump. Flam was only suddenly stared last season, the season before everyone was (well lots) calling for him to be dumped. The one area I would like to see more improvement in is between the sticks. Every team it seems that does well has a real good GK, look at the past GK's we've had.
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04/11/2008 15:35:00,17033,8652_4454777,00.html Prepare for the storm people, forecasts call for heavy spells of "Arsenal don't like it up 'em" followed by sustained periods of "it's the Eng-er-lish game innit?" Attune all bull*****-o-meters to highest setting, repeat, all bull*****-o-meters to the highest setting.
Little Dutch
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04/11/2008 15:49:00

Alwaysgunner, as we said with Bentley, Harper and Sidwell, if the younger players are good enough to come through, they will do. If they aren't, tough luck to them, we don't have an obligation to them.
Little Dutch
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04/11/2008 15:53:00

Arsene has never failed us before .... im sick of hearing arsenal fans giving there views and saying how what is currently happening can be fixed! we are playing well in europe and currently sat 4th in the league ... we are experiencing a mear hick-up ... we must be patient and wait for this young batch of players to grow into superstars ... as arsene has done before ... we have had young players but never ... had a full squad of them ... i still believe the current crop are champions in the making and if it means waiting a few more season and keeping us a finincial success the im all for it ... ok we may have to make afew experience signings just to get us by ... but we will become a major force again sooner or later ...
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04/11/2008 15:58:00

LD your are correct however will the likes of Theo,Ramsey etc be so willing to join us. I do however feel Bentley would have been good enough but could not wait, thus the investment (by contract clause's)through Arsene management has shown profit for us. I'm sorry to harp on but I still think the main worry is the man between the sticks.Almunia has improved, and can be considered a fair GK but not a top four GK IMO; (clear that problem up which we have failed to do, and a change will occur IMO).
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04/11/2008 16:04:00

We all have different ideas about what should and shouldn't be done. We always have had and we always will do. The question is has Wenger's curent vision failed? Given that he envisaged bringing in an experienced midfielder in the summer it clearly isn't a failure of vision as he wouldn't then have envisaged it. It could be considered a failure of execution. But if so is it then an understandable failure? There were something like 107 players linked to Arsenal in the summer of which in all probability not much more than half a dozen or so would have met his standards proably 3 or 4 of those were not attainable. Of the 2 or 3 possibly attainable there is no doubt that he tried to sign at least one of them. Why did he then fail? Any numbers of reasons that we can't yet know personal, financial, political who can say? That he failed to sign whoever he targetted is clear. But there were more than 100 others on that list. Couldn't he have signed one or two of them? Yes of course. He could have signed Appiah and De Guzman for example. If he had done so then I would guess probably 90% of fans would have been happy that he had signed players. But he has since said that he has no interest in them. Therein lies the difference between the two visions. Wenger is focussed on a vision that he believes delivers genuine improvement while the vision of many fans is only that we APPEAR to be doing something to improve the team. One is easier to deliver than the other.
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04/11/2008 16:20:00

Excellent article and excellent post, Amos. Also liked AW's combative comments in his press conference, it makes for a siege mentality, which is what the players need. I've been avoiding the media like the plague after these last results. Good thing I've had our presidential election to focus on. I could go on about all the problems with the team and AW's mistakes, but it's all been said ad infinitum here and on a several other blogs. I'm neither an AW-hater nor an AW-worshipper. The one thing I know is that only idiots are demanding his head. He's the one who created this team, he's the one to fix it. Let's take out our frustrations on the blogs but cheer the team on with passion and gusto at the games, unreservedly. The manager and the team need us now more than ever. I'll be in England early next year and plan on coming back home hoarse after screaming my head off for the 4 games I've planned see live. And I'll be telling any gooners who come my way and are demanding Wenger's head to go f--k off!
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04/11/2008 16:36:00

Agree with Prof on the sentiments, every word actually. Nice to see his thoughts put up front too. But honestly, as to what adjustments Arsene needs to make to his vision, I'm still thinking. We all talk about winning ugly, etc. But one thing I'm sure of is that a man of his intelligence must have something up his sleeves.
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04/11/2008 16:56:00

Agree entirely with the article and the comments above. Arsene is still the man... he just needs to accept that maybe placing all his faith with the youngsters hasn't been the best move. If we DO have the money - and if we don't then the ferking Board should stop saying that we do - then he should get out there and BUY.
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04/11/2008 17:19:00

Excellent piece. In Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea, we've got three pretty awesome teams to compete with for the PL and the Champions League for that matter, I just don't know how Arsene's analysis of the situation added up to a conclusion that our squad is as equally equipped to compete for the major titles. One thing I had noted is that all three of those teams have at least one centre-back who is English. Maybe that has an impact on being able to deal with aspects of the English game during the course of the season. And of course we did OK when we had Campbell didn't we. Micah Richards anyone? :-)
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04/11/2008 17:28:00

I'm only going to put forth this one comment. Wenger does not try to rely on youth, he was forced to. Lets look at what our lineup would have been this year if Wenger had his way with injuries and greedy players... Almunia 31 -- Sagna 25 -- Gallas 31 -- Toure 27 -- Clichy 23 -- Rosicky 28 -- Cesc 21 -- Flamini 24 -- Hleb 27 -- RVP 25 -- Ade 24. In this lineup, Cesc is our yougest (and best) player
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04/11/2008 18:13:00

To be honest i agree with Wengers comments on players trying to hurt us. That foul on Eduardo, Carew & the west ham guy on Hleb, Smith on Diaby, the tackles on Adebayor & walcott against stoke. No intent on getting the ball.
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04/11/2008 18:33:00

The only aspect that Wenger has failed in is assessing the leadership capabilities of personnel in this squad. Ade, Toure, Silvestre, RvP should all be taking on more of these responsibilities, which would help the team. I refuse to believe that this team was not talented or good enough to beat Hull, Stoke & Fulham. So its not the lack of a central mid fielder or a central defender thats the biggest cause of our problems (although they do contribute).
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04/11/2008 20:27:00

i think in january, spending for another experienced centre back is called for, one that has proven quality, and would make gallas or toure a run for their money. and secondly, i think a defensive midfielder whos more uncompromising rather than skillfully gifted is also called for, because i believe that a good DM can accomodate walcott, seeing as he never tracks back, a DM can cover instead, also, i believe wenger is the perfect man to blend experience with his youngsters.
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04/11/2008 21:44:00

The manu game on saturday will tell us alot i think. I believe we will get a good result.
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04/11/2008 22:09:00

awww are arsenal being picked on again? poor arsene, and his wittle bwave baby boys
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04/11/2008 22:42:00

alright yiddo ... calm down .... muppet
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04/11/2008 23:45:00

His players let him down.
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05/11/2008 00:55:00

obama won, that proves something, change can happen, and lets change the stereotypical view of kids cant win anything, because yes, change can happen, come on you gunners, lets make a change
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05/11/2008 04:50:00

I am a bit confused with how football is policed today(refereed). If someone comes out and says I'm going to mug batter another person and does such a thing then he (should) feel the full force of the law. However if so called footballers say we are going to kick them off the field etc the ref's do nothing and in fact in RVP case send them off. We now have the Turks coming here saying we will do the same as Stoke; (and you can bet they will try) what a strange football (so called, should be called mugball) world.
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05/11/2008 06:13:00

HY, thanks for being the first, media fat, predictable idiot.
Little Dutch
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05/11/2008 06:29:00

prof, i dont think AW's vision or era is over. it is just suffering a minor setback, due to players leaving and unfortunate long term injuries. imagine if we had kept the players who started to hit their form like flamini & hleb, and players like rosicky & eduardo were still in the lineup today. we would be awesome indeed! the question now is "how is wenger RESPONDING to this situation?" well he brought in nasri and got vela back finally. besides that, i think he is still finding ways to fix the problem whilst still maintaining the course of his vision (recruiting ramsey, and other youngsters etc). the criticisms i would direct at wenger are: a) perhaps not rotating enough! we cant hope to last the entire season of FA cup, champs lge, prem lge with a team of 12 or so players. i believe we have the players necessary to win the league, but they include our reserves. b) i cannot understand why certain players are given automatic selection in the squad when they are clearly out of form. such as gallas ahead of djourou, adebayor ahead of bendtner. c) also i dont understand loaning out senderos but buying silvestre, when phillipe is surely further advanced in our style of game compared to mikael. i think if AW wants to develop his youngsters throughout the season and gamble "real premiership points" then gamble all the way, and include our backups, at least they will get more experience and exposure. but at least there will be competition for places and players will develop quicker IMO. get traore back to push clichy for his place, perhaps play ramsey vs walcott to push both players along for the right wing role, get phillipe and djourou in ahead of kolo and billy, dump ade and play bendtner for a few straight games, drop RVP and play vela if rvp gets too cocky etc etc. this is something the likes of liv, utd, chelski are doing which we are not. the result? they have a deeper reserve of players to call upon when they are hit by injuries or suspensions.
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05/11/2008 08:54:00

Just been getting royally pi**ed off with the prats who say "arsenal don't like it up em!" Thats because when we get it "up us" we lose playersa for 12 months with broken ****ing legs and ankles! What a bunch of tossers who think that is a way to play football! That idiot coach at Stoke (against whom we thoroughly deserved to lose) came out defending his players after those two shocking tackles on our players and said "only player who was sent off is RVP"! What answer is that you 6 fingered berk? Just coz the ref didn't see fit to rightly red card them, idiot! This guy is a prat! We had 3 players injured due to reckless tackles, 3 accidents in one game, surely not! Add that to Diaby, Eduardo, Clichy (Bolton) and Rosicky last season and we have had numerous players taken out buy accidental tackles, how many other teams have suffered this same fate? By the by, only one out of all those players that injured our team received a red card, how’s that for justice? ****Rant over**** Anyone care to disagree!
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05/11/2008 09:29:00

I shared some of the sentiments articulated in this article. Just a few points though - 1. "Ferguson has diversified, responded and reacted to the reality of the EPL." True, but that has got very much to do with the "financial luxury" Man U could afford (or should I say "dare to splurge" even if it meant raking up huge debts). AW might have chosen to be oblivious to the club's financial reality and whine publicly the need for Arsenal to match the $$$ available to spend on players by the chelseas/ Man Us. But AW is too economically sensible and righteous to do that. 2. "...let it crumble before his eyes, he didn't respond and was yet again fixated on his vision." This is true if we are talking about the lack of adequately filling the void left by the likes of Flamini, Gilberto etc. AW might have pursued his target(s) till the end of Aug but failed probably becos he could not get them at the right price, and perhaps he honestly thought the young players could step up and be counted for. He made these decisions so if things don't turn up well the responsibility is all his. But I can't concur if the observation is made in reference to AW's failure to keep Flamini/Hleb. I feel the issue is not simply yielding to the wage demand of Flamini (and who is to confirm it really was a case of 5K diff?) cos if that had happened AW would likely see the rest of the players knocking at his door demanding higher wages as well. Had he been given a limitless wage budget to allow that to happen?
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05/11/2008 09:46:00 Then you have complete and total c**** like Tony Cascarino who believe Wenger is getting a taste of his own medicine?? WTF is this retarded mug on about? AMybe he should stick to Chelsea articles and continue to fondle himself whislte writing about how great the chavs are!
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05/11/2008 10:12:00

the headline is a bit misleading. but anyway i trust wenger to fix the current state of affairs, there is no one better than him to takeover and do this job. hell i want him to stay here forever. and whatever happens, we will see at the end of the season. it's better that we had such a blip and a kick up the backside so early in the season when we are not really too far away from the leaders, unlike last season where we started well only to fade away later. maybe this is what the team needed, the title winning sides of 98, 02 & 04 all had a moment where they changed their mentality, attitude & approach to the game, cuz there is no doubt this bunch is very talented to go all the way. i know arsene will fix it, like he always has, cuz this is our season folks, we will win the league or the champions league n i'll bet my life on that..
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05/11/2008 11:42:00

Wenger is slowly losing it as all managers do, As a few probally notice i am a yid and what?? I will always state to anyone that i think Wenger WAS one of the greatest managers of all time in the prem except for fergursen but belive it's tight up there, Your gooner's support of Wenger is 2nd to none some thing us yid's could truely learn from? BUT I think a mans time has come?. Due to no one else's mistakes but his own your club has slipped from the invincibles to the pussy's! you play lovely to watch football but in a little tackle your team could not beat a bunch of tooth fariey's! Blatent PUSSY'S! no muscle no balls and no leadership! and Wenger does not know what to do? I think he should leave while his name is still good before he cracks propper, Wenger's comments on it's the whole world's fault just make me and the rest of the world laugh!! We messed up BIG TIME!! Levy admitted it.... Maybe it's time Wenger admit's you have messed up and admits it to save Arsenal?? Or is Wenger that much of a stubborn fool that he will let his club fall down when he could save it if he admits his wrongs and repair's them???? But thats just my opinion.
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06/11/2008 11:46:00


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