Sunday, 26 September 2010

Will it get worse before it gets better?

Arsenal 2 WBA 3
459 words. Estimated reading time 1 minute 45 seconds

By my estimation that is the worst display by Arsenal in the albeit short history of Ashburton Grove. How many more of these performances before Wenger’s position gets questioned?

The club’s / group’s financial results posted on Friday showed we are in a very healthy position. We are, essentially, where we wanted to be as a club when we moved from Highbury – apartments sold for a profit, still in the Champions League and manageable debt that gives us a pot of money to spend on players. Good players; ‘big’ players.

All the ingredients are there and yet we haven’t really progressed from last year, or the year before, or the year before that. In fact, compared to the 07/08 side I would say this team is weaker. As I wrote at the start of the season, we haven’t addressed the obvious weaknesses in the team, ie the goalkeeper and the defending (both the individuals who would do the defending and the tactical aspect).

The question is why. The Gooner editorial today suggests that the club’s raison d’etre now is to make money not win trophies. It’s as good a theory as any but I would argue that it is more to do with Wenger being revered far too much within the club and his own inability to acknowledge his plan has gone wrong. As I have said before, things have gone too far for too long for him to now admit it is his fault without looking like a fool.

Insulated Wenger

Would anyone on our board seriously challenge Wenger and put him under pressure? They see how far he has brought the club and feel they owe him more loyalty than to even consider replacing him. I thought the same at the start of this close season but expected money to be spent and our weaknesses to be addressed. Now we have a situation where Wenger is essentially unsackable, our players aren’t good enough and the manager won’t replace them as doing so is a huge admission of guilt.

Things are stale. Anyone who has at or has watched Wenger’s recent Q&A with shareholders will see that where once our boss offered unique insights into the game and his thought process, we are now given the same old reasoning – dare I say it, the same old excuses. It must be felt by the players too and maybe they are becoming immune to his messages.

So what would need to happen before Wenger’s position gets seriously questioned? In short, the board would only get concerned if they saw Ashburton Grove regularly half-full after fans lost hope completely. Another flaccid display against a team we are meant to consider as serious rivals won’t help either.

It’s seven days to Chelsea.

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