Date:Sunday November 9 2008
As the journo`s are forced to postpone their obituaries following our win against ManU which confounded claims that the Wenger era had run it`s course the man himself had been quite open about in his pre-match conference about the current state of the team and it`s prospects.
He admits that the departure of Flamini has changed the team but rather than simply replacing him things are played differently now.
"I don`t deny the quality of Flamini but he wanted to go. I didn`t want him to go" he said prior to the game. "Today, we do it in a different way and we have to show we can be just as efficient.
"I think Denilson had an outstanding start to the season, he is going from strength to strength and Alex Song can play that role too."
Some see that process of change, of doing things differently, as affecting Fabregas` game but Arsene doesn`t see it that way.
"Personally I don't see any drop in his performance,' he said. "At the moment that's what people say, but I don't believe so.
"I believe he is trying even harder but once you become a leader like him and the team doesn't win, you are the first in the spotlight. Before, it was Patrick Vieira. When the team didn't win, it was Vieira... and you forget about Fabregas. Now he has a lot of responsibility and as soon as you don't win, it's 'Oh, it's Fabregas. He's not as good as before.' I don't think so.
"He will get a few more [goals], don't worry. That is as well linked to the success of the team, and to confidence."
The departure of Flamini and Hleb has left us short on experience. In some games more than others that inexperience has led to a few too many poor decisions. You could see that yesterday in some of the decisions made at times by all the younger players but Cesc, Denilson, Bendtner and Walcott in particular. That process of making the correct decision is down to experience as the more you face similar situations the more automatic your responses become. With that experience you are likely to take the right choice more often than not. But Wenger argues that success isn`t wholly dependent on experience and that if other qualities didn`t play a more determining role we`d be relegated.
'You are right that if the result at the end of the season will be based on experience, we will go down, because every single team has more experience than we have.
"But I don't believe that success is linked with experience. It is linked with desire, with talent, with intelligence. You can be intelligent at 18 or 20 and you can be stupid at 30."
The experience that does matter he tells us is held within himself. "I rely on my experience, I know what is important for the team to do. I stick to what I believe is right and I am quite relaxed about that.
"In any career you have moments that go well and moments that go less well. You are not God when everyone says you are and you are not miserable when everyone says you are. The truth is somewhere in between.
"Of course any opinion about football can be right. That is something you have to accept even if you are 30 years in football. Someone of 20 can have an opinion that can be right.
"I accept that but I also have some principles I know are right because they work and I will keep even if for example someone says in November 'you should buy him`. Even if he`s right what does it help you? You are in November and you cannot buy before January."
No doubt to the consternation of many supporters he says that he won`t necessarily buy in the January window. That we should judge the team in May but that even then his yardstick for success may not be one that satisfies all fans of the club.
In responding to a question that the current squad is not good enough he answers "At the moment I am always answering questions like this, But I tell you come back in May and we speak about it.
"I believe in this team and I believe in the strength of this team and I have always to answer questions that the team has 'failed'. We make a balance in May." He said as he continued to explain " I believe that this team personally is very strong and recently they don't get any credit. But it's a good moment for this young team to grow together, show resilience, show strengths and an opportunity to be a strong team in the future.
"Good players can always help you but I believe at the moment I have good players here. I do not want to focus on January and I am not sure at all that I will buy.
"The solution is not always to buy players. The solution for me at the moment is to trust the players I have because I trust their strengths and I trust their intelligence, so let's show it."
Much of the pressure on Arsene`s management over the last week or so has been founded on the failure to win a trophy in the last three seasons but that isn`t the only measure that he will apply when assessing his own and the teams performance come the end of the season.
"A trophy is important because you want people who care about the Club to be happy. I do not say it is not important but what does a Carling Cup trophy weigh compared to the fact that you play in the Champions League again next year? Nothing.
"There are always two decisions at the end of the season that you make. One, what you achieve and what other people see as success and failure and two, your own examination.
"Did I do the maximum points with this team, did I achieve the maximum with this team? Sometimes I think I could have done better because I made some wrong decisions, sometimes no."
That philosophical attitude might not sit too well with some but is perhaps reassuring to others in that it doesn`t indicate any immediate end to the Wenger era either.
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Date:Sunday November 9 2008
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