I completely agree with The Tzar Alex Baguzin in his article “On all the things Wenger got wrong yesterday” Please read the article if you have not already done so.
I find it incomprehensible how the media can make light of the protest by calling it a waste of time and then go on to pillory Wenger anyway for the performance on the day. The fact is the protest was not a waste of time. There were hundreds of A4 notices rather than thousands, but there were thousands of empty seats and many tweets afterwards from fans who admitted that they supported the aim of the protest but did not hold up notices. Empty seats cannot chant, sing or boo. Clearly there are a sizeable proportion of fans who want Wenger to go.
Wenger`s attitude in post- match interviews was more conciliatory than previously. Some of the arrogance had gone and he said sorry that he had not pleased all the fans. It is clear that for the first time in living history, Arsenal fans are divided and the focal point of the division is Wenger.
Ironically some of the newspapers said that his brilliant substitution of Danny Welbeck for Iwobi was the key to our win. Absolute nonsense as Welbeck should have been on from the start. Had he been so I believe the performance might have been much more decisive and as a result the players would have taken confidence from it. As it is, they will know that they scraped a win against the second worst team in the Premiership.
We do Iwobi no favours by overstating his contribution. In his last two appearances he was clearly less effective than he was in his first two. Before he had been substituted, he had run out of steam and ideas and he was giving away a lot of possession. It was right to substitute him but in reality Coquelin should have been on from the start as well. Iwobi is one for the future and will clearly have a place next season but he needs to be gradually introduced to the cut and thrust of the Premiership.
On the substitution of Sanchez; consider his situation for a moment: had it not been for his contributions latterly, we would not now be in a position to qualify in the top four. When the rest of the team were jaded and tired he added spark to our attack and scored and made goals which saved our blushes. He wasn`t in the same form in this match but he was still making a nuisance of himself and unsettling the Norwich defence.
The original selection of forwards had not drawn a save out of the Norwich keeper and Giroud had done absolutely nothing to worry them. Probably 90% of the viewers expected Giroud to come off and to be replaced by Wilshire with Danny up the middle. Instead he brought Coquelin on for Sanchez, a holding midfielder, for the most dangerous of our attack? I bet that stroke of genius bamboozled everybody. It shouldn`t have. It is a tactic Wenger has used all season and it has cost us dearly. We have lost or drawn matches which we were in control of by doing exactly that. Sanchez knows that even if Wenger does not accept it so it is understandable that he was not best pleased when he was coming off.
Fortunately for Wenger he was bailed out by Danny Welbeck`s goal which, in fairness was set up by Giroud. It is likely however that had Wilshire or Cazorla who are much more successful suppliers than Giroud, been on from the start, he would have had more than one chance.
Now, because of good results for us at the weekend, particularly those of both Manchester clubs, we only have to beat Man City or draw and win our last match against Villa, to qualify in third place. This was too close for comfort. It was on a knife edge that we might have finished 5th and that is not acceptable when we were top on the same points as Leicester at the start of the year.
There are some encouraging matters. Wenger obviously knows now that matters have gone too far to continue as they have been. I know he is going to see out his contract, but I believe that he knows now that he has to spend to compete. I also believe that having accepted that, he will make whatever arrangements he considers best to obtain a manager who will carry on the brand of football he introduced to Arsenal. He has many talents and a desire to help Arsenal and he has said that when he goes he will be Arsenal`s biggest fan. I. for one would be delighted if that was to be the case. I have never doubted his integrity but neither do I let myself be blinded to the machinations of Mr. Kroenke.
The fans that I know who share my desire for a new manager do not want to see Wenger sacked or hounded out of The Emirates but neither do we want to be fed platitudes that we have a group of players who can win us the Premiership when clearly they cannot. In regard to the Company Arsenal PLC, I think that for everyone`s sake the Directors need to realise that this is not a baseball or American football franchise. We have a proud football club with a history and tradition as good as can be found anywhere and a fan base who have prepared to pay the dearest prices in the world to support their team. The Board need to give proper respect and recognition to those fans and to provide greater transparency in what goes on within the club and to how decisions affect the status of it.
Mr. Kroenke, you are the biggest shareholder in Arsenal PLC but as far as the fans are concerned WE ARE ARSENAL and we have been since 1886. The fans will never hold back the development of the club nor block any measures which are in the interest of Arsenal FC. You will have the full support of those fans if you strive to be the best. If you are not interested as you say, in winning trophies or titles, then we are at cross purposes. It is better for all concerned that we know where we stand. The present mediocrity is not acceptable.
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