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Does Arsene Wenger Know What He's Doing?

As we played out an exceedingly dull 0-0 draw at Villa Park on Saturday the cry of "You don`t know what you`re doing" went up from the Arsenal fans as Arsene Wenger replaced Olivier Giroud, a striker, with Francis Coquelin, a "defensive midfielder".

It`s no secret that it`s not as rosy in the Arsenal camp as it once were, and that one of the most pivotal people in Gunners history currently has our fans opinion split straight down the middle. Some still believing he`s the right man for the job, others thinking it`s time for him to move on.

Of course, there`s that grey area for those of us (myself included) that are not so sure.

So this week`s Vital Arsenal poll asks that exact question to see just how many Gooners are in which camp.

So getting clicking in the poll on the right hand side of the page asking "Does Arsene Wenger know what he`s doing?"

Feel free does discuss the pros and cons in the comments section below.

Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!

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

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 26 2012

Time: 8:51AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Of course he knows what he's doing. Whether he's doing it well enough is the real question. In this case the chanting supporters were wrong. It might have seemed that he was replacing Giroud with Coquelin whereas in fact he was replacing Giroud with Gervinho, moving Arshavin over to his more usual left sided role and Cazorla playing more on the right. From Tim's match report it would seem that some supporters don't know what they're doing it for anymore.
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26/11/2012 09:43:00

If we go by the primary assumption that barring rare exceptions, the financial resources of a football club and wages in particular are highly correlated to its league position, AW has punched at or above his weight. Swiss Rambler has pointed out how over the last 3 years - 4 years property development and player trading has kept Arsenal in profit. The football business on a standalone basis was a loss making venture despite the high ticket prices. The Emirates deal and a future kit deal are game changers in that respect because it would make resources available to AW without him needing to balance his transfer budget through player sales. Over the next 18 months (the duration of AW's current contract) there could be changes in how we approach the transfer market and then one can take a final call on his tenure.
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26/11/2012 10:08:00

On it's own the sponsorship growth won't change things quickly all that much but in a climate where the authorities are introducing rules that should inhibit excessive spending it's coming at a good time. Sadly though it may still be too slow for Wenger. The squad has been gradually pirated by the big spenders and it will take 2 or 3 years to restore the competitive balance. I'm not sure the supporters will give him that long. Not so much the bulk of the support but fools like Piers Morgan and the odd former player paid to say something controversial will fuel the minority vocal anti-support. When it does so to the extent that away fans are getting on his back in a game we weren't in great danger of losing it's only a matter of time before the pressure gets to a point where it has to be released somewhere. The lottery might come up with a domestic cup win that would buy a bit more time for Arsene but the more likely prospect is that Wenger will look to do something else once his current contract expires - if not sooner. I've said before that Wenger's biggest personal mistake was to stay with Arsenal after 2006 but that getting him to stay as long as he has is one of the club's greatest achievements.
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26/11/2012 10:24:00

Of course, Wenger knows what he is doing and the fans who question his judgement just aren't being fair and have to get more perspective. The club getting him to stay on was great; the thing that doesn't fail to amaze me is how Wenger remains stoical, even in the face of pressure, taking all the flak for the board and refusing to shirk responsibility for the failure to "buy players" that can win things for the club when the board tells us he has control of the budget. Most Managers would let on all wasn't well and turn the fans against the board. Not Wenger. Amos has expressed the concern that the man may look for change at the expiration of his contract, should things carry on like this; that will be like 'building the home only for someone else to come live in it'. Wenger has done the hard work and so long as the board support him, he should look to "buy" himself some time by winning something this season so as to be in charge when the good times roll in; and I don't see why that can't be as soon as next season, contrary to Amos' projection of 2-3 years.
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26/11/2012 12:50:00

First step will be to identify the targets we need to plug the areas of weaknesses. Next step will be to boldly (we should have the resources to afford that) be rid of the average players in the squad, even at a 'Loss' to the club. The likes of Chamakh, Bendtner, Squillaci, Arshavin and even Djourou had received interests in the recent past. Let us cut deals to be rid of them (I name Djourou and Arshavin with regret) and look to pay the performing players wages commensurate with their output. Then go for the targets; 2 or 3 players (in the creative and DF roles) who have won things, would be enough to give this team an edge, soon enough.
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26/11/2012 12:58:00

First step will be to identify the targets we need to plug the areas of weaknesses. Next step will be to be rid of the average players in the squad, even at a financial 'Loss' to the club (we should have the resources to afford that). The likes of Chamakh, Bendtner, Squillaci, Arshavin and even Djourou had received interests in the recent past. Let us cut deals to be rid of them (I name Djourou and Arshavin with regret) and look to pay the performing players wages commensurate with their output. Then go for the targets; 2 or 3 players (in the creative and DF roles) who have won things, would be enough to give this team an edge, soon enough.
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26/11/2012 13:01:00

Sorry about the double posting. The site seemed to 'crash' for a while and I wasn't sure the message went. Park, Denilson, Santos, Fabianski, Bendtner.... Some other names that we should look to off-load as soon as the summer, at cut-price deals. I know this may not be the Wenger way, but things have reached a head and he needs to act before things get out of hand.
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26/11/2012 15:20:00

As we sit here in November already 10 pts off the top with a feather weight squad that look further than ever from challenging, having emerged from yet another summer where two of the best players have been sold, incapable of keeping any squad together for longer than a season, fielding only one natural striker with no striking replacement on a bench that contains only the infirm, the disinterested and the incompetetent, he presides over a squad that a) he is seemingly incapable of consistently motivating or that when all is said and done are b) not good enough to cut the required mustard any longer, neither option is a glowing endorsement and both are unfortunately true. It's a tricky one as the annual purge and ransacking of Wengers' squads are obviously not what he'd willingly choose yet he makes the sacrifice for the financial good of the club and he does still work minor miracles given he has to rip up the manual and start from scratch each year, despite a good few other faults few other managers would work such feats. Whilst this policy is an ongoing one for Arsenal it matters not who is at the helm as you cannot win feck all if you dismantle and asset strip your greatest strengths come the end of each season. Here's hoping this summer was the last but we'll likely start next season without walcott and sagna, that'll be our main challenge now that we've started and maintained this cycle of annual player sale even if we want to stop will we be able to do so?
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26/11/2012 15:47:00

I'm not concerned about Wenger leaving when his contract expires or sooner if he so wishes. I hope that he can go onto to more success elsewhere whether as a manager or some other philanthropic venture. I hope that he doesn't leave regretting his decision to stay on for as long as he did but could understand it if he did. Replacing Wenger will be easier now than it would have been 6 years ago. We can bring in another coach, though it'll always be one that the board (and most other boards in football) will want to work sensibly within a sustainable budget, but he won't be as dependent on generating his own income as Wenger has been. But whoever holds the reins now a genuinely competitive team (one that can viably compete for the EPL/CL) is at least 2 years away.
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26/11/2012 16:30:00

niko - I guess it depends on the impact of FFP, our own finances and how successful we are.
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26/11/2012 17:39:00

Amos, CL, maybe; but the EPL, we are not that far away, to be honest. Just 2 or 3 winners will turn this into a crack squad that can take the EPL title. I would prefer that Wenger is in charge of that transition.
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26/11/2012 17:48:00

Naija - yes, I agree that what seems to be winning is real know-how and if we had 2/3 players on the pitch with that we could take the next step. The problem Wenger has is that he has presided over a period where we've become the nearly men and there's almost an inevitability about the outcome we're going to have. Something has to be done to arrest this malaise and a new identity needs to be instilled at the Club. What Wenger did for AFC was amazing, but he's increasingly looking like a guy that isn't capable of turning things around and making us winners. Sadly, unless we make these significant additions, i don't see us winning anything under him. You only have to look at the Chavs and how the senior pros there were the key to their consistency (despite them being t-wats). Sometimes you need the senior pros as well as the manager, but losing not only your best players but those that are most experienced isn't the recipe for success.
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26/11/2012 17:55:00

No other manager would have been able to have kept us as consistently competitive as we have been. It has been a period of great change and could easily have been a much poorer period in the club's history than it has been. In the hands of another more self serving manager it would have been. Wenger is as equipped as any and more than most to make a success of the club in the changing circumstances of the future but for him to continue to take the crap that will be dumped on him over the next couple of years is too much to expect. The game is changing but too late and too slowly for Arsene. History will appreciate him more than the present.
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26/11/2012 18:23:00

Today I was on a course that I attended with the intention of doing my job better, but naturally ended up applying all of the concepts to Arsenal. The three main things it covered were "confirmation bias", "narrative fallacy" and "black swans." It made me think instantly of the coverage and interpretation of Arsenal's last five or six years.
Little Dutch
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26/11/2012 18:27:00

I'll leave you to google those phrases if you so wish :)
Little Dutch
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26/11/2012 18:28:00

Abramovich spent 10 years and upwards of £700m and won the EPL 3 times. If £700m+ and far more than 2 or 3 players can only bring a 30% success rate the idea that all we need to take the title is 2 or 3 players is just fanciful dreaming. The City and Chav squads will continue to be strong for at least 2 or 3 seasons before any spending constraints even begin to take effect. ManU's finances will continue to be strong. We'll be able to compete on a more level basis in future but only progressively. There's likely to be still more frustration immediately ahead for the present discontents whoever is at the helm.
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26/11/2012 18:37:00

Given his resources I think he is doing an OK job but the issue is that he keeps putting himself in this position every single season. Sick of it. Time to go Arsene
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26/11/2012 18:40:00

I'm very much looking forward to your article 'The Effect of Narrative Fallacy and Confirmation Bias on Popular Perceptions of Arsenal Football Club' LD! :)
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26/11/2012 18:46:00

What makes you think there'll be an article? Confirmation bias if ever I saw it......
Little Dutch
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26/11/2012 19:12:00

We've been here before (after last season's game at OT) and Wenger managed to turn it around. So, I do think he knows what he's doing, but he's not doing enough to rectify some of the familiar errors. Sometimes, I think 2 more players will see us challenge more effectively, but when I think that Arsenal make similar mistakes now as a very different squad of 2007 did, then the only common denominator is Wenger (even Rice is now gone). I do hope he can get us to 4th place this season, and we can look at things over the summer.
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26/11/2012 19:30:00

Was it? I won't be able to confirm it until I've read the article. :)
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26/11/2012 19:43:00

Sajit, no Manager would want to lose his best players but money talks - Nasri left to triple his salary from 60k to 180k/ week. RvP left to more than double his from 80 k to 200 k/ week and Cesc genuinely wanted to leave for home even if at a pay cut. Considering that 200k/ week salaries are beyond our reach for the moment (it may change in the future) some departures of players were unavoidable. Two departures which were avoidable were that of Clichy and Song, for his own reasons AW didn't seem to rate them highly enough or hold them critical to the team's success which is a very debatable point. So in summary, I disagree with your view that AW puts himself into this position every season out of his own choice.
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27/11/2012 04:55:00

deltaforce, no offence but i believe our wage structure is so wrong that it renders the argument of us not being able to pay top wages invalid. if nasri can do a better job than denilson, arshavin, gervinho, diaby & walcott and rvp can do a better job than giroud, podolski, bendtner, chamakh and park, then it is better to consolidate the salaries of those players to pay the two quality players what they want. paying 10 chamakhs / bendtners / squillacis in a team will not win you anything but paying 1 messi may probably will
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27/11/2012 09:59:00

Agree on the broad principle of what you are saying Joe and its been a common refrain about the club's policy. Hypothetically lets say we pay two top players in the squad 200k/ week - lets assume those were RvP (who was persuaded to stay) and Nasri (persuaded again), what that does is benchmark salaries and when senior new players are signed - Podolski and Cazorla for eg, their agents demand parity with the highest salary at the club. The same thing happened at Chelsea and then City when Lampard and Terry were paid 150 k/ week and Torres, Drogba and Ballack wanted parity with that or when Toure and Tevez were paid 200k/ week and Aguero, Nasri and Kompany wanted parity. If a club can afford to pay those wages they should and Arsenal was not in a position to do so at the time. I am not saying our wage policy does not need revision - it does ofcourse and i'm sure we will see deadwood leave the club soon and leave spaces for new players to come in.
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27/11/2012 10:22:00

ld did noted that our current wage budget is only about 12% lesser than that of man u. if man u can maintain the balance while paying rvp, rooney, ferdinand etc. in the excess of 200k, then your hypothesis must be rejected :)
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27/11/2012 13:19:00

we are the only club that adds the salaries of the reserve team players, the manager, the support staff, coaching staff and everyone in Arsene's team to the players wage bill, no other club does that, which explains why our wage bill is so close to teams at the top..
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27/11/2012 13:35:00

Our wage bill in 2010-2011 was £124m. ManU's for the same period was £153m (the latest period in which full figures and direct comparisons can be made) - a difference of almost £30m. Chelsea were £191m and City £174m for the same period.
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27/11/2012 14:23:00

Joe, you dont need an excuse to have your own opinion or justify them to me :)
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27/11/2012 19:07:00

the figures furnished by amos were published by deloitte which are reliable. correction, our wage budget is 23% lesser than man u, not 12%. nevertheless, the difference between our top earner (podolski - 100k) and their top earners (rooney & rvp - 220-250k) is between 100%-150%. the current tier 1 players in the league are in that range. arguing if they deserve such wages is akin to arguing if our season ticket worth that much or gazidis deserves to be the highest paid chief executive. maybe we should have a policy to allow 2-3 players to be paid at that range because player like rvp makes a different
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28/11/2012 02:57:00

My view on wages is that we don't need to match the Tier 1 rates ($ for $, don't have GBP symbool on my Aussie keyboard) but we do need to raise the top and lengthen the whole structure, plus as so many have said, rid us of dead wood (not me! haha). On the subject of Wenger, of course he knows what he is doing. I believe he has achieved very well given constraints but, linked back to the wages point, as Niko said, we can't win if we keep churning players, esp in the case of Fab and RVP two very good players who could win games almost by force of will alone. Caz is Fab's equal technically but not from a dominant personality perspective. Wenger needs to stop the churn. If the new deal allows us to do that starting Jan and continuing in (your) summer) great. If we repeat the churn, I may just move of the fence and be more certain that, when his contract is up, he should go.
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28/11/2012 05:27:00

When it comes to individual player wages we don't really know who earns what - we have largely tabloid speculation to rely on. But that being said an extra £100,000 a week for just one player is an extra £5m a year on the player budget. In the year 2010-2011 ManU spent 46% of their revenues on wages while Arsenal spent 55% of theirs.
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28/11/2012 07:08:00

DeadwoodGooner (Lol, saw what you did there), Cazorla may be like Cesc, perhaps even better, on the technical side with a better ability to dribble his way out of trouble, he still lacks Cesc's innate eye for the intricate pass. Many times I see our forward men running into positions and just can't help but think Cesc would see those runs and thread a pass through a sea of legs; or loft the ball at just the right weight to do damage. We need such a player in the side. Such passes don't have to be precise all the time but someone has to keep trying them.
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28/11/2012 09:30:00

Oh, and I am looking at you, Ramsey....
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28/11/2012 09:32:00

Watch the West Ham game again, Santi set up Giroud for a brilliant chance at 2-1 whereby no one saw it in the stadium, it was the pass of an absolute pass master. He is up there with Cesc when it comes to picking out players, don't forget he doesn't have players of the guile of Van Persie to pick out, Giroud, Podolski and Walcott have other strengths. re Wenger, in his interview yesterday he's already pretty much said that it's impossible for anyone to do any better than he is at Arsenal
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28/11/2012 10:01:00

if it was about mon£y then how did Chavski manage only 6th in the league last yr ?.....most of the Utd team were brought in for relative pittances: Henandes (8m) Welbeck (0m), Rafael 1m, Evans (0m), Evra 10m, Vidic 6m, Giggs, Scholes, Cleverley 0m.... Ronaldo paid for Valencia, Berbatov, A.Young and still left plenty of change, etc.... they also spent for likes of RvP, Nani but overall their NET SPEND over the last few yrs have been v.low... Utd are doing it on much less money than the Media (thus the Masses) have given them credit for...
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28/11/2012 12:05:00

One season finishing 6th doesn't disprove the rule. There's plenty of other evidence to support the argument. Undeniably so for any serious observer. As for ManU's present squad: Phil Jones £17m, De Gea £19m, Young £17m, Kagawa £12m, Ferdinand £28m, Rooney £27m, Carrick £19m, RvP £24m, Anderson £15m, Nani £13.5m, Smalling £10m.Their net spend hasn't been 'v.low' at all. Even distorted as it is by the Ronaldo deal their net spend since 2003 puts them 4th behind Liverpool but naturally someway behind Chelsea and City. It isn't just a matter of how much you can spend on transfers in one season though. It's the size of your player budgets (wages plus transfers), and how consistently you can sustain the level of spending, that (for the most part) determines the quality of your squad and competitive capability.
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28/11/2012 13:31:00

Amos, wasn't Rio £30.5m? Not that it makes much of a difference. It must be said that the United side has retained its best players over the years, barring the departure of Ronaldo and those at the manager's instance. The team spirit built from having your core intact counts for something and pretty much comes to play when you have to fight back from the brink.
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28/11/2012 17:13:00

*departures* . Shewore, I hear you. I just think he has to be spraying those passes as often as the front men give him the opportunity. Alex Song would keep playing those lofted balls, failing a few times, till one of the passes comes off. If the forward men know you are capable of threading those passes, they will instinctively, make those runs. My views anyway and it takes nothing away from Cazorla's influence as a key midfield player for us.
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28/11/2012 17:21:00

Rio was bought by Utd over 10yrs ago!!.... and hewre are alot of players at Utd on smallish wages: Lindegaard, Rafael, Evans, Cleverley, even Scholes and Giggs now, Hernandes, Welbeck, Fletcher, etc..... yes they've spent big money but the net-spend has been easily commensurate with their revenues.... its about the balance of youth, experience, bignames, athleticism, pace, belief the manager instills that make Utd the best in the EPL... money is not the defining factor
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29/11/2012 11:40:00

The fact that Rio was bought some time ago just shows that they've been able to spend bigger for longer. You've no real way of knowing what wages any of the ManU players are on or whether they're small or not relative to the average pay for players in the PL. What you can say is ManU's total wage bill is the 3rd highest in the league and that their player budget (wages plus transfer spend) is also the 3rd highest by some distance. The fact that their revenues are also significantly higher than others doesn't remove the obvious conclusion that it's their financial power, their money, that is a defining factor in their ability to acquire and retain a competitive squad.
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29/11/2012 12:05:00

but Utd always have a strong local homegrown contingent that may make for a happier more engaged-with team-culture and atmosphere... this in turn may be the secret of their never-say-die mindset when in non-winning scenarios
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29/11/2012 15:26:00


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