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In Defence Of Wenger

In Defence Of Wenger

We love to compare in England., compare the market, gocompare, The French can take their food, the Danish their health care, high average wage, overall contentment with life. Can they compare?

Just look at TV - channel 4 run whole nights devoted to comparison. 100 best magicians, 100 best flavours of crisps, 100 best 100 best shows. The whole nation loves to look at other people. I came home once to find my house mate, pants round his ankles, watching naked girls on his laptop and grunting "oh yeah, compare those coffee filters you dirty b*tch, tell me which makes the best espresso, mmmmm, you love it."

Henry Winter wrote a whole column of comparison in The Telegraph last week. He stated Alex Ferguson "takes action in private," without making a single reference to masturbation, yet claimed that Wenger "loses friends and credibility by defending the indefensible." The Man United, Liverpool loss when players were ordered by "the arch realist" (Henry`s quote, not mine) not to speak to the media must have passed Mr Winter by. Likewise I missed the interview when Wenger claimed child pornography is 'nothing major in France, the kids love it, we give them bananas,` but I`m assured by The Telegraph that Wenger lost 200 facebook chums overnight.

The BBC is great isn`t it? They love to compare, compare two sides of an argument. Present everybody`s views? After the Spurs game they had 6 callers, 4 tweets and 4 texts. Each of the senders expressed disappointment with Wenger. I rang 606, tweeted them twice and sent a text. Each time it was to defend Wenger. Each time I was ignored. When I rang I was told verbatim "Hmmm, We`ll ring you back if that fits with our message." They didn`t ring me back.

It`s OK though, Robbie Savage has the answer; Chris Samba. Wonder why the double winning, Invincible creating manager didn`t think of him before? (Author`s note: some writers may have chosen to have added a punch line here, but I realise you`re smart enough to know that the centre half and captain of a defence with a worse defensive record than Wigan is clearly not good enough for a top side.)

It makes it difficult for the BBC to speak of Wenger being "stubborn" and "bias" when they refuse to entertain anybody who might suggest Wenger`s record isn`t too shabby really.

One of the texts that was printed by the impartial, all representing BBC was sent by 'Jack`. He said "Is it too much for Arsene to hold his hands up and say both teams gave everything? Just a thought." Arsene spoke, to the impartial, never judgemental, always taking our money, BBC, after the game: "We both played and attacked... No complaints ." Maybe listen to the interviews before judging post match quotes eh tw*t? ... sorry Jack. See, easy done this misquoting lark.

According to the BBC "Arsenal fans are getting impatient with Wenger." Just a thought, just a comparison, but in 2004 Newcastle fired Bobby Robson. The awful seasons under Robson saw United finish 4th (having been bottom of the league), 3rd and 5th. That dreadful performance saw him fired due to Freddie Shepherd getting "impatient." Turned out to be a shrewd move, they would have never won the Championship title without it.

At the start of this season Arsenal were predicted to finish, by various all knowing, all impartial BBC pundits, 5th, 4th, 5th, 4th. Strange that a side that will finish 1st to 3rd would be described by the same all knowing, all impartial BBC pundits as 'chokers,` and 'not mentally strong enough.`

Club captain Fabregas even weighed into this debate saying (although badly translated, so he may well have been ordering take out) "If you went to Spain and said to ... Unai Emery they would have 3 years without a trophy, it would be obvious they would not continue." Emery has been at Valencia since August, since then he`s won ... zero trophies. 2011 - 2008 is 3. 3 years without a trophy. P45 on its way to Mr Emery; it would be obvious.

In late 1989 fans at Old Trafford hung a banner that read "3 years without a trophy a still crap, Ta ra Fergie." Later that season United won the FA cup to win Ferguson a cup after 4 years. It took until 1993 for them to win the league. Just a thought, just a 7 year comparison.

When the BBC open their shows with supporting fans and the headlines 'Wenger is past it,` 'Wenger is too stubborn,` 'Wenger didn`t tip well in a restaurant` they may do well to remember what the point of professional football is. The doubles were good, the Invincibles were better, but it`s about being entertained. Arsenal have entertained, and continue to entertain, and no matter what ignorant pundits may say, people do remember being wowed.

I`d love to hear Alan Shearer recite any of the starting XI of the Germany and Argentina World Cup winning teams of 1974 and 1978, yet everybody knows total football, the Cruyff turn, Bergkamp trapping a 5km long pass to scored against Argentina. Beautiful football sticks in the memory like Dennis taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in goal of the month from 1 hat trick against Leicester.

A last comparison: Imagine the country, financially speaking, being run in the same vein as United, Chelsea or City; a debt equal to total value, a single man propping everything up. Now imagine a country run for the last 15 years like Arsenal. Not spending money that doesn`t exist, saving for major investments, letting young people show what they can do before replacing them instantly.

Yes Birmingham, Tottenham and Portsmouth have won more trophies over the last 5 years, but have they sat on the edge of their seats, mouths wide and hands clapping involuntarily at the majesty of the art before them? Do they have a structure that is the financial envy of all those around them? Can they all honestly expect to be challenging for more trophies over the next 10 years?

Only when the answer is yes; only then should we compare Wenger to other managers.

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

Writer:Lewis Wright
Date:Wednesday April 27 2011
Time: 12:04PM


Financially, we're incredibly successful, we generate massive income. We were just unfortunate enough to have to business men buy the club with money they never had. A debt free United is a cash cow, the Glazers know this. I see the point you're getting at but unfortunately there is no defence for Wenger. He has failed, yet again, to fix the issues presented to the club season after season. Fancy football is great on the eyes but seeing your team pick up a trophy is even better. I also feel there's massive flaws with your arguments. Cesc wasn't wrong, if a Barca or Madrid manager went 3 years without a trophy would they still be there? It took Fergie 7 years to win his first title the difference is, Fergie had no foundations laid down in the way Wenger currently has. As for Samba, he's a marvelous defender and Blackburns defensive record can't be blamed on one man, there's so many variables to take into consideration that it's naive to suggest that he's not a good defender based on goals conceded. As for the pundits saying you 'choke' and don't have enough 'mental strength', has the Arsenal squad done anything to prove them wrong?
27/04/2011 13:02:00
Comparisons are part and parcel of any process of judgement but in football management rarely valid. What's the point of comparing Fergie and Wenger? They've both done different jobs with different resources! Would Wenger have achieved as much as Fergie over the same period of time with the same resources? There has to be a good chance that he would. Could Fergie have generated the revenues while using the more limited resources available to Wenger over the last 15 years? There has to be at least some doubt about that. Robbie Savage says we need Chris Samba and Lee Dixon says Clarence Seedorf we should be peeing ourselves with laughter not seeing comments like those as serious criticism or advice for Wenger.
27/04/2011 13:02:00
Sorry Lewis, what is this article about! Every man and his dog know that we lack the ability to kill a game off, is this due to "a young squad" or "inexperience" or have we just got too many average players. Wenger is a fantastic manager, and personally I would not want him to go, but he is very stubborn and needs to swallow some self pride, admit that certain players are not good enough and replace them!
27/04/2011 13:03:00
Agree with your point about entertaining football. What annoys me is the fact that Sky et al have succeeded in making so many Arsenal fans believe otherwise. I'm frustrated we haven't lifted a trophy, but its not the be all and end all.
27/04/2011 13:11:00
Ultimately, I want Arsenal to play beautiful football AND win trophies. I’m sure Wenger’s vision is the same but we are falling short for a number of reasons and he needs to fix that. There is no shame in reaching for the stars but a little restraint and contemplation is needed when deciding the best way to get there.
Sir Henry
27/04/2011 14:25:00
Am i the only one that actually thinks this is actually quite a good thought provoking article? There are a lot of points i agree with you on this and a lot that will raise much debate. I like your analogy to fergie waiting 7 yrs for a trophy etc... but as thefamousnumber7 says wenger inherited the best back 5 ever to play as a unit in this country...without those foundations would we have won what we won under him.....Amos makes a great point about samba you cannot judge one man on a team’s performance...ukgooner is also right that there is a lot of dead wood happy to collect 50k a week or more then bugger off and not care....Meetthegunners is right as well, sky drum it in to us day in day out, its propaganda and i do not care what anyone says the majority fall for it to a certain degree, look what can be achieved by it, how did Hitler get away with what he did PROPOGANDER. And every arsenal fan will agree with Sir Henry, we ALL want to be playing the football we play but we all also want to have a trophy at the end of the season so we can give some stick to guys at the office and know it was all done with the right brand of football. England in my opinion has now become a breeding ground for people that want it all so quickly and for very little effort, the Jade goodys of this world prove that. What do girls want to grow up to be nowadays, not vets or doctors but Jordan and page 3 girls, Its easy money and a fast buck. this is transcending into football fans across the country!! This country has the media to thank ( and Gordon Brown ) for the ***** we are now in!
27/04/2011 15:08:00
"people do remember being wowed." - "but have they sat on the edge of their seats, mouths wide and hands clapping involuntarily at the majesty of the art before them?" - Arsenal haven't "wowed" or made anyone sit on the edge of their seats with mouths wide and hands clapping at any magisterial art for most of 2011 - certainly not in the last several games. To the contrary. Most of what we see is lots of boring, slow, ponderous possession and failure to take chances. What we see is that Arsenal need more than 3 SOG to score one goal while our opponents need much less. I used to go on and on about how the media trashes our club, our players & Arsene but I'm pretty bored with that now - this article is just one among a ZILLION Arsenal blog posts and comments that go on about how bad the media punditry about our club is. Big whoop, what else is new. Boring. It's a convenient diversion from focusing on real issues confronting Wenger and this team. Like the fact that--unlike AW's earlier teams--this team is totally CONSISTENT now in every end-of-season run-in -- consistent in drawing & losing games, dropping points. Wenger's teams used to finish strong--now every season they finish like consistent losers, scraping to finish 3rd or 4th, looking over our shoulders, worried about finishing out of the top 4. Maybe we should compare real issues facing this team & not the convenient, boring and stereotypical trashing of the media. Arsene always talks about CONSISTENCY as the defining factor of any team and he's absolutely right. So let's focus on things we're consistent in over the last 4-6 yrs -- good and bad. That's an article of comparisons I'd like to see.
27/04/2011 15:15:00
I understand the affection we have for the 'famous five' but they 'only' helped win us the first double - even then only Winterburn and Seaman were almost ever present - Adams, Bould and Dixon missed up to a third of the season. They didn't play any meaningful role in the second double, or any role at all in the invincible season or subsequent FA Cup win - so I think it's fair to nail the myth that Wenger achieved what he did because of the veteran back line. It would be much closer to the truth to say that they only achieved what they did under Wenger because of Wenger.
27/04/2011 15:26:00
Fair point Amos....i was not saying they were my opinions just those that have been thrown out there by many arsenal fans on blogs like this. I think the signing of Sol was HUGE at a time we needed a defender like that. It is very much the same situation now, we need someone now as we did when we signed him. these are my opinions; We as fans in general are so frustrated as we always get so close and bomb out at the very end, it has been that way for the past 6 yrs. We always get more injuries than any other team in the EPL and usually for a longer period of time at more important periods in the season to our most important players. This makes it vital to have a very strong and deep squad, this is def lacking. Denilson has given his development up and settled for 50k+ a week as a backup for song rather than fighting for his position, diaby is exceptionally talented but way to inconsistent and sometimes appears not to actually have a brain, eboue for back up at right back is a joke as all he wants to do is go forward. Bendtner gets a hard time in my opinion as he ALWAYS gives 100% but he don’t help his own cause by stating he should be playing, but he may have a point as the 451 formation clearly does not work. AW is only sticking with 451 as he don’t know who to play in midfield as we can’t leave out song or fabregas and then he wants to play wilshere nasri as well and that unbalances the side, so the only way to have them all playing is 451 with Walcott thrown in to that formation as well or arshavin. But it is leaving RVP isolated upfront. It is a headache most managers would welcome wilshere or fabregas humm.... which to play today but Wenger insists on playing them both and it does not work!! What is going to happen when Ramsey is totally back and fit??? Where is he going to fit in??For these reasons i am convinced that fabregas will be on his way this summer and we will have ramsey and wilshere as the creative midfield duo. We need to have more pace in the side, Walcott is the only one attacking wise that has pace that scares players, if we could pick someone up like neymer who is quick, skill full and can shoot that would be great. But as I already stated we have an abundance of midfielders to choice from and some of those would have to go. I like arshavin but I think his age has already caught up with him, he has bulked up too much for the EPL costing him extra pace, and the self confessed bad trainer needs to start training harder to keep at this level, ie Ryan Gigs. So maybe i would welcome arshavin out and neymer in. I also think we need a viera style player in our side coz diaby certainly is not him. Felani of everton will sound like a controversial call but if you can have a look at the way he played against us at home this year, the man was everywhere. After this I paid particular attention to actually focusing my attentions on him in the next games everton played and in my opinion he was man of the match in the everyone! He is strong, tall, skilful and would be great against teams like stoke. Song and Felani could share that role keeping it fresh and change it to suit the teams we are playing. We also need a striker that is tall, quick, skilful and strong. An even more controversial comment.....Adebayor woulda been perfect for us this year!! Who can we get that is like him? 12M is being splashed around as the price that real would have to pay City for him....could arsenal fans and RVP welcome him back for the greater good of the team??? Or would a return for him be a disturbance in the dressing room? let me know what you think. This is not criticism of Wenger, but these are my thoughts on how Arsenal could be strengthened. I love Wenger and what he has done for this club but I do think he needs to look at a few issues.
27/04/2011 15:35:00
"What we see is that Arsenal need more than 3 SOG to score one goal while our opponents need much less." Not according to the opta stats they don't. Arsenal currently have the highest shots on target of any club in the PL (209) and the second highest overall (428). Only Chelsea have more overall (472) but Arsenal have the highest accuracy 49%. Most of the top teams have a similar conversion rate of goals to SOG - just not true to claim there is any great defect there. "Most of what we see is lots of boring, slow, ponderous possession" Again just not true - nobody in the PL passes the ball as accurately or as quickly as Arsenal. Whether you find the possession boring or not is subjective but slow and ponderous it most certainly isn't.
27/04/2011 15:39:00
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