No More Hoping and The Wenger Excuse of Financial Doping – This Summer is SERIOUS

Excuses running out

Excuses running out

For those who read my blog last week, this won’t come as a surprise: Leicester City fully deserved their imminent Premier League triumph and I congratulate them on their amazing achievement – although it really put the Arsenal and Arsène Wenger in a very difficult position. Leicester City are showing that winning against big-spenders without throwing money at other Clubs, players and agents is possible.

The cherry on the cake, Claudio Ranieri will get the guard of honour at Stamford Bridge, in front of the man who ruthlessly sacked him because “he will never win the league”. How right does it sound?

Guard of Honour at Stamford Bridge?

Guard of Honour at Stamford Bridge?

Anyway, back to the Arsenal and Arsène Wenger’s struggles.

For years, he tried to prove that a talented, solid and united team, built on less-known and young players, can defeat richer and better equipped rivals but failed and finally gave up – suggesting that competing with Clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City was perhaps not viable. His attacks on ‘Financial Doping‘ have been numerous and regular

He defended his position against everything and everyone and at the exact moment when he gives up, Claudio Ranieri and his humble, hungry and unknown players pull off what he called impossible and go on to win the league despite relatively minimal  investment and incomparable incomes.

That’s hard to take, really hard.

So, what is next for Arsène, now?

He’s not leaving, he said he will fulfil his current contract with the Arsenal and there is no way the board will sack him. Not even if we go through the worst possible spell and fail to qualify for the next Champions League; he will still be at the helm next season and tell us that we are competing on all fronts and “do well” in every competition, hopefully “going as far as possible” in each of them.

Truth is that we are currently in the race to finish in the top 4 despite the horrendous season the majority of our usual rivals are having – Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, notably, but also Manchester City, whose collapse after the rather awkward announcement about Pep Guardiola has been spectacular.

New threats

New threats

With barely no credible opponents at the top, we are still in danger of not playing the Champions League next year – what will happen when Antonio Conte takes the managerial role at Chelsea and Pep Guardiola will take over at Manchester City? How will the Arsenal prepare for the probable revival of Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp and Manchester United, assuming José Mourinho will replace Louis van Gaal?

As much as it hurts to say this, Tottenham Hotspur seem more dangerous and reliable than ever and surprise packages such as Leicester, West Ham, Everton and Southampton are to be taken seriously.

With up to SEVEN opponents competing for a place in the top 4, how will Arsenal deal with the pressure?

Logic suggests that the Club and the manager should already have a plan – which I’m adamant they do – to identify, scout and sign the players needed to take this team a couple of levels above; as per today, I can only think of a handful of reliable, consistent and good enough players which would help us competing for the league: Petr Čech, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez.

Other players like Hector Bellerín and Francis Coquelin need competition for their roles or they might sit on their laurels while the rest of the squad is made of players whose impact can be either great or irrelevant – depending on the day; as much as I like Danny Welbeck or Jack Wilshere or Olivier Giroud, we need to be better equipped to have a chance to stay in the mix.

True competition for Coq

True competition for Coq

It doesn’t mean we need the “overhaul” media are insisting on but we need more of the ready-made, top class signings Arsène Wenger has completed recently.

One per season is definitely not enough, at this point.

Next season is going to be a make or break for Arsène Wenger, both because he will be entering the last year of his contract with the Club and will possibly face the toughest race of the Premier League era, with competition piling pressure on him and his players and fans becoming increasingly frustrated about the results. I hope however for the remaining matches this season our fans stay with the team and cheer them through to a strong finish on the last day at home to Villa (where you can but tickets at this website.) Finishing 3rd is critical to ensure his ability to attract the class additions we need to compete in 16/17  and we all have our part to play whether we believe in the manager or not.

Can the difficulty of the task bring out the best of Arsène Wenger in terms of ambition and determination? Will he have the long-awaited bounce to either sign off his career with a last league title or even build on it?

Or will the last season remembered for being the worst of his tenure, with the team unable to keep the pace with the rivals and sink to mediocrity?

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8 Responses to No More Hoping and The Wenger Excuse of Financial Doping – This Summer is SERIOUS

  1. Rahul April 12, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    On one hand you say that Leicester are in a position to win the league with players that are unheard off and on the other you are saying that we need ready-made top class signings. I personally think we need players with heart, with the right work-rate and a manager who can adapt his game day strategy from time to time based on who we are playing. Once we were 2-0 up away at west ham in the first half, we conceded two simply because the players lost the ball while trying too hard to attack. That error can easily be corrected if the manager instills that into the players’ minds that we need to sit back and defend. A vieira might understand that on his own and rally his players to do the same but if you don’t have a vieira, the coach has gotta do it off the pitch.

    • AndreaR April 14, 2016 at 10:40 am #

      Hi Rahul,
      I say that Leicester will win the league despite small investments and unknown players but I consider it as real one-off, especially if I think about the plans already in place at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea to go back to the top.

      I can’t see Leicester still fighting for a place in the top 4 next season, even with the money from TVs and the Champions League: top players will always prefer traditional Clubs to Leicester and it is going to be hard for Ranieri to repeat the amazing achievement.

      About the lead we threw away at West Ham, in my opinion it is mainly due to the excessive trust AW seems to have in his players’ judgment – which has proved to be often poor.
      I wouldn’t like to see that team sit back and defend but I would prefer to see them controlling the ball and take advantage of counter attacks when opponents chase the result.
      Our players are perhaps naive or too confident and cannot retain the ball effectively – I think we miss someone like Cazorla, these days.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. A April 12, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    The issue is players like giroud, mertersacker, gibbs ramsey and walcott have all let us down in games we should have won

    I am really surprised at ramsey’s I’ll discipline in central midfield . It showed a few things one being selfish two he can’t be trusted , 3- is the central midfield role he craves ozil’s role?

    Look at rakitic at barca – he had a slow start last season because he went from attacking at Saville to curbing those instincts for the sake of the team. He learnt that and now knows he has 4 world class players to do the damage . He also joins in but what he sacrificed he has learnt to become and therefore was part of a treble wining team

    As for walcott I feel sorry for him as everytime he should get a run as a striker someone gets injured but … how he gave away the ball against Liverpool and United which led to goals is not acceptable

    With coquelin and el neny playing well in midfield it should be kept like this unless wilshere plays alongside one of them. Carzola should be used as a sub for ozil.

    People may say I am crazy but mertersacker, giroud, ramsey,walcott and gibbs do need to be moved on. With arteta, flamini and rosicky leaving also . It will open the space for 3 world class players.

    But these players have to be sort who will drag the club out of a poor performance not let the players get there heads down if they are a goal down. We need a real captain (Cech? )

    Any spaces left can be filled in by gnabry who should be in the first team next season.

    Chamberlain – we should give him an extension. Iwobi misses the first three games of the season.

    The players I say we need to leave are not going to help us win a title. A cup yes but not a league

    These are my thoughts and I am open to criticism and others views

  3. AndreaR April 12, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Top comment, thanks a lot.
    I agree with most of your thoughts, except what you say about Mertesacker: I wouldn’t put him in the same lot, he rarely let the team down, although he had some poor performances.

    I still have mixed feelings about Chamberlain, he frustrates me a lot and I fear he might never turn into a proper footballer. Winger, central midfielder or maybe striker? He doesn’t know and Wenger seems unsure.

    Santi Cazorla is one of the most important players in our setup and his absence was one of the reasons for our struggles, he has an unique profile in the team, he’s virtually irreplaceable. Elneny is the closest to him but lacks close control, although he’s showing great promises.

    We’ll see what next season brings along…

    • A April 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

      Mertersacker is one of the players that let us down this season . I am fan of his but against Chelsea and utd he just looked naive and that was the last thing I expected from him.

      As for chamberlain I agree – I think everyone is unsure including himself what to do. The talent is there . Do we give another contract and send him on loan – there is more money coming for clubs so maybe that would be a better option as in clubs could pay his wages

      That way he plays week in week outo makes his errors elsewhere . If he does well but we still don’t have a starting role maybe sell.

      We just need a cull we have too many midfielders . I would keep carzola and wilshere but I I think it’s time to cash in on ramsey . Obviously we need a strikereal.

      It makes you appreciate when we had viera,edu and silva. Viera and one of the other two would dominate the midfield win the ball protect the defence and allow Henry Bergkamp, Pires and freddie do their damage

      We just need a spine again

      If you look at bayern team now it reminds you of the invincible. Big tall players who can play beautiful football but can get stuck in when needs be

  4. Victor Thompson April 13, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    Just a small thing Andrea. Have you forgotten Elneny in your list of exceptional players? I think he has made a massive impression in a short time and will only get better.

    • AndreaR April 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Victor,

      I didn’t forget Elneny, he just played a few games so it’s a bit early to put him in the same bucket as experienced, reliable players like those mentioned above.

      I agree he looks promising and is showing great composure and maturity but he’s still a mystery pack to me, I prepfer to wait and see how he develops.

      Hopefully he will become an important member of the team, time will tell.
      I’d still pick Santi Cazorla over him, to partner Francis Coquelin, unless Elneny and the Spaniard could form a partnership that benefits the team.


      • Victor Thompson April 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

        Thanks for your reply Andrea.

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