The one by Timothy was predictive and was written pre the Liverpool match and that is the cue for my lead in. Just before the game with Viking, I tweeted that our full team when all players were available still did not fill me with confidence because at that time, we had still not signed a centre forward capable of replacing Giroud or partnering him. Such a player would also have the advantage of providing Giroud with competition so that he would know that he had to maintain a good level of performance.
At the time I wrote, the Euros were in full flow and Xhaka was making a big impression. Sanchez was dazzling for Chile and Elneny had already proved that he was a good addition to midfield and that he provided a consistent and speedy solution to the link between attack and midfield. The most glaringly obvious weakness we had however had not been addressed. Mertesecker is past it and despite the affection the fans have for him, he is perceived by the other Premier teams as a weak link. Gabriel has not been able to master the English language and his game has not progressed since he signed for us. In my opinion, it is clear that he is not going to stabilise the centre of our defence and he should go. Chambers has also failed to advance and indeed, I believe that it is Wenger`s fault because he came to us as being generally regarded as the best of Southampton`s transferees who left to join other clubs. He has been used in a number of positions i.e. fullback on both wings and Centre Back when he clearly had not mastered the role of any of the positions. That has led to a loss of confidence and it shows by inaccurate and hurried passes and poor positional play.
Clearly, when Koscelny is not available we do not have any capable replacement. We do have a wealth of clever midfield players and we have Adelaide, Iwobi and others on the fringe of breaking through. I said in my Tweet, that this team would just as easily win a game 4-0 or lose it 4-0. In this one game against Liverpool, that opinion has been vindicated. We scored 3 and it should have been 4 if we had scored our penalty, but Liverpool scored 4 as well.
We have signed young Holding who has played well to be fair as has young Beilik, but one would not say that they are ready to contest against the top 6 in the Premiership. Wenger has known for months, that our first game was on the 16th August and he had all that time to remedy the situation. The truth is that we appear to have come close to signing Mustafi but once again a few million quid separated Valencia and Wenger ( or Kronke ) and we are now chasing a 3 point deficit with our main rivals. We have not won a single first game of the season in 7 years. Who is that down to? If Wenger saw Mustafi as his first choice for Centre Back, then firstly, he should have paid the price that all the other top Premiership managers are paying and secondly, he should have done it in time to have him in the team against Liverpool. Now I hear he is after Tobrak of Bayern Munich or Kjaer ( I believe of Fenerbache ). I don`t know either of them so I cannot comment on their quality, but clearly their names are not at the top of most peoples Data bank.
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I saw Koscielny sitting in the stands at the match and we are not going to have a solid Centre Back for the Leicester game. Well I watched Andy Murray reach the point of exhaustion after playing for 4 hours in stifling heat to win his Gold medal and he will be playing tomorrow in Cincinatti. It is over 5 weeks since Koscelny played in the Euro cup final and in the circumstances we were in on Sunday, he should have played. Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough and Mourinho; any one of them would have played him. The club`s needs come first. Some of Liverpool`s players had played in the Euros and they were on the pitch on Sunday. Please explain Mr. Wenger?
Once again he had been outsmarted by another manager. Klopp kept his tactics simple and used his full backs to reinforce our midfield so that we were outgunned in that department. They simply overran them and knocked in 4 goals before Wenger introduced some steel into the team. I won`t go into the details as Alex and Timothy have but clearly, his team selection was wrong and his criminal neglect again to obtain a Centre Forward and a Centre Back has piled pressure on our existing players who are not experienced or good enough at this level.
Finally, I resolved not to criticise Wenger until the end of the transfer window, but the season has started. All the other clubs have made their purchases and have them ready for the first match but once again Cinderella is late for the ball thanks to the scrooge of a manager and owner of this once great club. I say “once great” because when I see the numbers of players who decline to come here, it is clear that many players do not regard us as top flight no matter what we might think. If Wenger, Gazidis, and Kronke really do that they are associated by a great club, then act like we are and spend the money.
That brings me to what might be the most important matter of all – the division of the fans. I walked away when the whistle went so I did not hear the boos that I have subsequently heard followed the result. Clearly Wenger has not learnt the lessons of last season as I thought he had and consequently we are in for a season of more revolt and more recriminations between people on both sides of the fans divide. I will concede that it is up to every individual how he behaves in this matter, but what is indisputable is that it is the repeated failure of the management to pay proper respect to the fans. Wenger is once more repeating the mistakes he has made for at least 7 years and the club still regurgitates the same turgid nonsense we hear every year.
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It looks like we are in for more of the same. I was appalled at the bitterness which manifested itself at the end of last season. Some of the abuse I read was vile and disgraceful but in my view the quantity of the criticism if not the quality was directed at the WOB side. I am in the front of the queue to condemn the personal abuse WOB people used. I disagree with many decent honourable scribes and fans of the club as they well know, but if I was to resort to such behaviour, I would consider that I had already lost the argument. I would argue however to those of you who value loyalty to “The Club” or to “Le professeur”, if you consent to endless years of meanness, when we are told the club is awash with money; If you accept the disgraceful statements of optimism released by the club without criticism then you perpetuate the mediocrity and self serving of the management. In those circumstances, is your loyalty being abused? Is the club respecting your loyalty or simply exploiting it? With the best of intentions, are you not simply participating in the fraud being perpetrated upon the fans who long go reached the stage where they felt that they were entitled to more. What has happened to David Dein`s Arsenal? This dissension did not exist when he was here. To my mind the seeds of this unrest were sowed when he was forced out.
Where do we go now?