Writer: Professor Calculus
Date:Tuesday November 4 2008
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.
Date:Tuesday November 4 2008
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