Gooners rightfully upset, but have they crossed the line?

ARSENAL CIRCULAR 136
GRAHAM PERRY 1 MARCH 2016

Wenger under fire. As usual.

Wenger under fire. As usual.

The knives are out – not just for Wenger but also for me. Wenger’s critics – haters is a more appropriate word for some – are in full flow and those of us who have been prepared to put their heads above the parapet and support Wenger are now the focus for attack – not to say abuse and humiliation. Some people – long term anti-Wengerites – are having a field day. Gloating in abundance many – but not all – take delight in the latest setback. They want Arsene out come hell or high water and they express themselves in vulgar and abusive terms. I will have something to say about that later in this Circular. But there are also honest and well intentioned critics who are understandably frustrated at what could turn out to be another setback in the League. I have no problem with this large but less vociferous group

For the present the focus is on the team and the lack of success and there is no question we are in trouble. This was to be our season. We had the squad. We had the funds to improve the squad. We were settled and experienced and talented. Yes, we had injuries but we came through that. We approached the New Year being most pundits favourite to win the Title. Liverpool and Man U had dropped out of contention and we were in a group of four, Leicester, THFC, City and ourselves. Redknapp talked us up and so did Souness. We looked strong and with a bundle of players returning from injury we were justifiably up there. We knew it would be competitive and none of us took anything for granted but the phrase “It is ours to lose” was on our lips.

Cech reckons we have to beat Swansea and Spurs. We reckon he is right

Cech reckons we have to beat Swansea and Spurs. We reckon he is right

But things faltered. Every time we had a chance to go top we stumbled. No matter, we would come again but again we faltered and instead of striding out ahead it is Leicester and THFC who are winning and leading the pack. We have stuttered, the goals have dried up, the momentum has been lost and the initiative has gone. Now, as Cech says, we have to win the next two matches – we have to beat Swansea and we have to beat THFC. A tough assignment.

The focus is on the team and the manager. Have we choked? Have players come back too soon from injuries or are they individually and collectively incapable of facing the ultimate challenge – the burden of expectation. This issue is not about fight. We are competitive. We make tackles. We hassle and hustle and chase. The commitment is not the issue. We want it. Two questions therefore arise – are we good enough? – do we have bottle?

Has Sanchez been “found out” by opposition coaches who watch the videos of past Arsenal matches. He likes to go right when he has the ball – is he being shepherded left? Ozil sees passes quicker than anyone else but does our close passing game make openings more difficult to create. Theo is off the boil, the Ox too. When we have chances and need composure we snatch. When the Ox was one on one with the Barcelona keeper how could he expect to score by hitting the ball straight and low – didn’t it cry out for a chip?

Has Alexis been found out by opposition?

Has Alexis been found out by opposition?

I always say that the more I watch the less I know. I am a supporter not a coach so I hesitate to weigh in with detailed tactical comment. Others on social media, without coaching badges, are not so modest. But there again football is a game of opinion.

Let me finish with two comments – first the damage done to the quality of our exchanges by the freedom of social media. Too much abuse, Too much vulgarity. Too much carefree insult and cursing. By all means let’s disagree but we should not heap harm upon injury upon smear upon slander. We cheapen ourselves if we cannot handle the differences with more restraint.

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

There are still 33 points at stake. The omens are not good but the fat lady still has a distance to travel before she leaves the stage. We do need to bounce back against Swansea and then go to WHL and cause an upset. They are in the in form team. Pottechini has done a great job but football is football. Never has a season thrown up more ups and downs. We are coming to squeaky bum time. Who would have thought back in 1989 that we would lose to Derby and draw with Wimbledon and then win at Anfield. Now is not the time to write the definitive judgment. We still have a way to go.

And now to Wenger. What is the judgment? Has he fulfilled all the negatives predicted by his critics? Or will he be able to spring a surprise? We have to wait and see. I say again. I like the man. I do not think, as Piers Morgan has stated in a tweet, that he is a “con-man”. I wish Arsene was a little more gracious to opponents and not such a bad loser but I have to face up to the fact this was his title to win. This was to be his valedictory season. Cech was the final piece of the jigsaw. He had the money. He knew he could buy. He made a call and stuck with what he has and if it falls short he will need to explain. The burden will be on him. He knows that. There is no hiding place. I hope he succeeds but I am prepared if he fails. We will need to make changes.

Arsenal desperately need a leader.

Arsenal desperately need a leader.

Final point – and I chance my inexperience here – but we do need an Adams don’t we?. A leader on the pitch who has charisma and status and decision making capacity. Someone who in the crucial moment of decision can rally the dressing room and the squad. A team needs to have character but it also has to have personality and personalities. Bertie and George knew that.

, , , , , , ,

9 Responses to Gooners rightfully upset, but have they crossed the line?

  1. Latim George March 1, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    My God! it is like a good music to read the work based on calm and cold reasoning and not emotional outbursts.

  2. Lee March 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    I agree with you in regards to the vulgar comments that have surfaced the past few days, so disrespectful. Also I have always supported Wenger and been a Gooner for over 20 years now…Im 30, I have always appreciated the values and traditions that Wenger and the club have tried to uphold.

    However surely now enough is enough !!! Although there is still lots to play for this season , I would rather us not win anything, so Wenger must stand accountable and a shitty cup cant paper over the cracks like previous years. Even if we beat Swansea and spuds and win the league we will still be facing the same scenarios next season.

    He expects to beat everyone with his own game plan and is too stubborn to evolve is approach like all other major teams

    People say its the players fault they have no bottle or fight, I think the manager should instill this. Others say players are played out of position. The fact is the over valuing of players and belief Wenger has in them is laughable, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Walcott are not good enough yet he constatnly triess to accomadate them . Ramsey never get substituted, even though he cannot play center midfield correctly and would rather try and score goals. Campbell should be ahead of Walcott in every way. He takes Coquelin off versus Man U and Barcelone, leaving Ramsey on , what the f%&k ??

    His transfer policies are a joke (remember we have the money now) , his tactics and man management skills are a joke and recent teams have constantly capitulated, yet all we ever hear is great team spirit ?? Seriously !!

    The man has done wonders for the club no doubt, and I hear many people say, who could come in and done what he has done ??? The answer is noone, but numerous people in the football world would come to Arsenal and relish the opportunity and instill new belief and life into the team. I think its time. Many others do also. Wenger always said he will step down if he feels he cant bring the club forward, well it looks like it now.

    P.S. People will always go back to we can still win the league etc. But the fact is all the other big teams have handed it to us on a big silver platter and we still fecked it up, it wont happen like this next year and probbly ever again.

  3. Victor Thompson March 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    Hi Graham, I share your views on the abusive attacks on Wenger. I have made my position clear but I give reasons for my views and I do expect people such as you to support your own opinion. Alex ( The Czar ) has similar views and even he is coming round to thinking that perhaps it`s time that Wenger moved on. I notice in your final two paragraphs you hint at the same opinion.

    Incidentally. I watched Arsene on Sky Sports News this morning. He was asked for his opinion of the mounting complaints on social media and he was totally unmoved and quite dismissive of them. He was actually smirking. He said that he enjoyed reading other peoples concerns about his future and his answer was “I have always looked after myself and I will continue to look after my own future”.

  4. DEW March 1, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    I personally want Arsene to be a success here. But he has to start winning teams like Barcelona in their Arena. I agree that there is too much negativity in the media and in the fan base. Some of it is good and some of it is very dangerous. I don’t really think this negativity will go away even if Arsenal buys top talents and bring in top new managers. It is just a disease. Recently, I come to conclusion that I should not be part of these directed negative statements against any player or the manager. I am relatively young supporter, during the period my understanding of the game has evolved that I now know the game can be played in so many different ways, and what most fans (including me) think right is not necessary right. So let the manager make decisions, but lets us expect fair results, enjoy the game and the competition. Lets see the positive sides of everything.

  5. Nick Birch March 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    In response to the first part of your article, I do feel that you should have perhaps mentioned that the abuse comes from both sides of the Wenger debate. I have always expressed my views in a calm and well-articulated manner, be it on here or on social media, yet have frequently been called a c*nt or been told that I’m a plastic supporter who should go down the lane, simply because I dare to criticise Arsene.

    To be honest in a lot of ways I prefer being called a c*nt than having my support for the club questioned by people who know nothing about the sacrifices I have made and continue to make in order to follow my club. I never resort to insulting someone because they disagree with my opinions, I just quietly think to myself that if I agreed with them then we would both be wrong. I say that tongue in cheek by the way and do consider myself someone who tries to be balanced and objective in my views.

    I completely agree that supporters are far too eager to throw out the insults these days but I guess that football is such a passionate and emotional game that it would seem that some people simply can’t restrain themselves. At the same time, if somebody attempts to belittle your support of the club then why shouldn’t you tell them to f*ck off as it is a comment that is like a red flag to a bull?

    You mention that there’s thirty three points left to play for but the anger that came after Sunday’s debacle wasn’t purely down to one defeat or even one season, it’s been boiling for years as I’m sure you are probably aware. If some of our supporters put as much effort into getting behind the team vocally during games as they do trying to prove others wrong on social media, we would probably have the best atmosphere in the league!

    • Victor Thompson March 1, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

      Very well put Nick.

  6. Deabsway March 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Graham

    the abuse is a sad part of our world we hear every day.

    Top players and coaches will not have a high regard for a club with an absent owner. In American football and baseball they can appoint a coach and the system works. But the owner is active.

    You cannot run a premier league club this way. Compare mourinho s problems at Chelsea. Avramovich dealt with it. At Liverpool the owners dealt with Rogers.

    Top coaches will not take we gets job if the owner is not present in some real form.

    We gets lack of proper accountability lines is a key reason for his failings.

    The core of the problem goes back to a mistaken sake of a controlling interest.

    This ended up in the current hands. Arsenal needs more than a new manager. In fact if that is resolved we might not need a new manager.

  7. Deansway March 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    the most important match ahead is hull arsenal – far from being a burden it is now vital to our season.

    they will be strong and motivated. he needs the right team.

    the abuse is a sad part of our world we hear every day.

    Top players and coaches will not have a high regard for a club with an absent owner. In American football and baseball they can appoint a coach and the system works. But the owner is active.

    You cannot run a premier league club this way. Compare mourinho s problems at Chelsea. Abramovich dealt with it. At Liverpool the owners dealt with Rogers.

    Top coaches will not take wenger’s job if the owner is not present in some real form.

    Wenger has a lack of proper accountability lines. This is a key reason for his failings. who is he accountable to for playing a centre back who lacked experience and had just come back from injury and a 16 hour flight?

    The core of the problem goes back to a mistaken sale of a controlling interest.

    This ended up in the current hands. Arsenal needs more than a new manager. In fact if the absent owner is resolved we might not need a new manager.

    • Dave Seager March 1, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

      It also buys us a week without Premier League to get Santi back

Leave a Reply