This is a guest piece written by Andy Levy (@Remix_Design), a season ticket holder of 15 years, who follows Arsenal home and away.
‘Sacking’ is too harsh a word for a man who has single-handedly turned Arsenal Football Club into a world-famous, iconic brand, comfortably sat at a world class new stadium.
However, all good things come to an end and unfortunately this should have ended by now.
It does not matter how many times we qualify for the Champions League, Arsene will always be remembered for the ‘Invincibles’ season. He will never beat this unique achievement (will anyone?!), however, it is clear he intends to try (we can’t knock his ambition).
But his stubbornness in his transfer policy, wage structure, tactics and loyalty to sub-standard players will unfortunately be his downfall and be the reason that, under his helm, we will not win another title.
Tactically he is totally inept. He plays the same formation every game, with no Plan B. His substitutions this year especially are beyond bewildering.
His total reliance on the apparent ‘character and spirit’ of the squad is widely joked about and embarrassing. Many fans don’t bother to listen to his post match comments because they are just so predictable and lacking any tangible content.
To lose against QPR, Blackburn and Wigan, yet be able to put five past Chelsea and Tottenham (and beat City) points to a distinct lack of concentration, character and respect for the opposition.
This takes me back to the Carling Cup final of 2011. Arsenal’s best chance of a trophy for six years, against a Birmingham team bound for relegation.
We did not take the occasion or the opposition seriously. We turned up in tracksuits, not Cup Final suits (as we had one eye on our upcoming Barca game) and Wenger seemed to completely underestimate the fact that Birmingham would die for their shirt, and would want to win through blood, sweat and tears. That is what you call ‘spirit & character’. Wenger thought that if we played our pretty football then we would waltz it.
Fast forward 13 months and Arsenal play a relegation threatened QPR. Now, any football fan can tell you what to expect when your side faces a Mark Hughes managed team.
And so a football game is not won on paper. QPR are a poor team with many Championship standard players. But once again we turn up with ‘Plan A’ and look bewildered when we face a team who are up for it. The same goes for Wigan on Monday night.
We will never make a sustained challenge for the title whilst Wenger refuses to acknowledge a Plan B.
Note that Plan B does not mean sticking Chamakh up front for the last 5 minutes. I’m talking about tactics here. We never seem to have a solution to teams that pack the midfield and slow our game down. Yet United, Barca, Bayern etc all face this scenario every weekend.
I seriously believe that my Sunday football team could at least get a draw against Arsenal. I’ve seen enough teams do their homework against Arsenal and it looks pretty simple to stifle Plan A.
I’ve deliberately not compared our tactics, manager or situation to any other team. Mainly because I know that there are 89 other teams in the football league who are in a worse off situation than The Arsenal. But there can not be many fans as frustrated as Arsenal’s.
For 6 years we have been kidding ourselves that we are 1 or 2 top signings away from mounting a real challenge for silverware. And whilst Wenger has baffled everyone by not obliging, it is the mentality at the club that really needs to change.
From the shenanigans in the boardroom (initiated by the departure of David Dein) to the fact that our beloved, but ancient, assistant manager embarrassingly still takes the warm up (whilst forgetting the ‘spirit & character’ that got him his 1971 double winners’ medals).
The fact that Wenger has had to bring back Lehmann, Campbell & Henry in recent years (albeit good fun) has underlined his reluctance to address the real problems and paper over the cracks with a short term fix.
And don’t get me started on that goalkeeper shambles that embarrassingly rumbled on for seasons. And although it seems to have finally resolved itself in the form of Szczesny – we’ve seen Given and Hart both move during that period.
Other signings that have been made in this time for less than £10m include Parker, Cahill and Samba (to name a few). Say what you want about them- we could have purchased them and avoided utilising Squillaci & Djourou & Denilson in the past two or three seasons.
How can the players themselves believe we can challenge for the title next year when we’ve already lost 10 (yes TEN) games this season? It is completely insane.
So much has to change, and I believe it all starts with the man in charge. No one at the club questions him. Who is he accountable to?
Whenever the fans start questioning Wenger the pundits always respond to the calls for his head with the question: “Well if not Wenger, who else?”
I’m not going to roll off a list (although I do have one), but let me leave you with this: If we fail to qualify for the Champions League, that list will shorten dramatically. And is therefore why I believe now is the time for change, before it is too late and we tumble down the table, hanging on to the theory that we still have Championship winning required mentality and spirit.
We all saw Arsenal from 2001-2004 become one of the best sides in Europe. Comparing the talent and character of that team is chalk and cheese. So let’s not kid ourselves any further Mr Professor. Merci and Au Revoir.
Andy Levy can be found on Twitter here.