If you believe Wenger is a Failure, you’re Deluded. Here’s why.

DOPE - Arséne Wenger | ©2016 @invinciblog | www.GunnersTown.com

Introduction

I don’t know how to break this to you gently – so I’m just going to come out and say it…

If you have been clamouring for Arséne Wenger’s departure based on any reason other than you’re throwing an emotional hissy-fit of entitlement and frustration – then you are, at best, seriously misguided, and at worst, clinically deluded.

The good news is that it’s not entirely your fault. The nature of the media these days, both mainstream and social, means that your ability to reason has been severely impaired by the rise of ‘alt-facts’ (or WTFacts, as I like to call them) – and the noises in your head have been amplified by your own cognitive distortions – drowning out that small, clear voice of reason. The sad truth of the matter is that you have discarded the cool, calm world of fact-based science and embraced the turbulent universe of faith-based gut-think.

This would explain why your levels of frustration and anger have been steadily rising, to the point where you no longer enjoy your ‘favourite’ past-time. The well has been poisoned. The water is toxic. It can no longer soothe your thirst.

It’s killing you. Slowly.

You probably think I’m just a deluded AKB sheepling. (I’m sure you’ll let me know in the Comments section). You may not even get past this introduction before you spring into action, hurling a litany of logical fallacies at me. These tried-and-tested arguments will make you feel good. Why? Because they are illogical, and I therefore cannot argue against them. It’s impossible to lose when there are no rules. You win. And you like winning. Rinse and repeat.

Premise

If at all possible, I’d like you to imagine that you are the Owner of our esteemed Football Club, and that you are assessing the performance of your long-serving Manager. Remember – you aren’t emotionally invested in this entity. (Which is a good thing for a businessman not to be: it means that you aren’t prone to making irrational decisions while under the influence of rage, grief, elation or other temporary reality-distorters.)

So you do the entirely logical thing, which is analyse the performance of your Club while said Manager has been in charge. You realize that football doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so you compare your Club’s results to those of the other top-performers in your league. Apples to apples, oranges to oranges… You do this, not only for the Premier League, but for the Cup Competitions as well.

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Your stats guy tabulates all of these results and kindly assembles them in tables – showing you at a glance how the Club has fared in relation to its main competitors.

Results

Premier League Trophy

PREMIER LEAGUE

Top 6 Average League Position

Wenger Years
1998-2017
Famine Years
2006-2014
Feast Years
1998-2005 · 2015-2017
Man Utd [2.40]Man Utd [2.00]Arsenal [2.09]
Arsenal [2.80]Chelsea [2.56]Man Utd [2.73]
Chelsea [3.30]Arsenal [3.67]Chelsea [3.91]
Liverpool [4.65]Liverpool [4.67]Liverpool [4.64]
Spurs [7.65]Spurs [5.89]Spurs [9.09]
Man City [11.40]Man City [6.67]Man City [15.27]
Average league position of the Top 6 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur).

 

Analysis

As Owner, you note the following:

  • During the 20 full seasons that Arséne Wenger has managed Arsenal Football Club – Arsenal have maintained the second-highest average position, fractions of a point behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
  • During the period (2006-2014) that your club was financially hampered whilst building and paying off a new stadium, you note that your manager still managed to achieve the third-best league position (consistently within the Top 4 and lucrative Champions League qualification) – behind afore-mentioned Manchester United and the newly cash-rich Chelsea.
  • It would be unfair to only chart his performance during the ‘Famine Years’ – so you analyse his performance during the ‘Feast Years’ – those years when the club was more pro-active with its finances (1998-2005, 2015-2017). Surprise, surprise… Wenger’s Arsenal shoves United out of the top spot as the best-performing club in the Premier League.
  • Conclusion: on a shoestring budget, Wenger still competes. However: give him money, and he outperforms the rest. The proof is in the pudding.

The FA Cup

F.A. CUP

Top 6 Average FA Cup Position

Wenger Years
1998-2017
Famine Years
2006-2014
Feast Years
1998-2005 · 2015-2017
Arsenal [7.80]Chelsea [6.06]Arsenal [4.18]
Chelsea [9.48]Arsenal [12.22]Man Utd [9.20]
Man Utd [13.05]Man Utd [17.33]Chelsea [12.27]
Spurs [20.75]
Man City [17.39]Spurs [18.77]
Man City [21.45]Spurs [23.17]Liverpool [23.73]
Liverpool [24.18]
Liverpool [24.72]Man City [24.77]
Average FA Cup position of the Top 6 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur)

Points awarded on the following basis:
Win = 1; Runner-Up = 2; Losing Semi-finalist = 3.5; Losing Quarter-Finalist = 6.5; Round of 16 Loser = 12.5; Round of 32 Loser = 24.5; Round of 64 Loser = 48.5; Round of 128 Loser = 96.5

In other words, the average position x of the n losers in the group, where x=(3n+1)/2

 

Analysis

  • Arsenal has won the FA Cup more than any other club – a record 13 times. And Arséne Wenger is its most successful manager, having won the Competition a record 7 times – a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten. Most managers don’t last 8 years. And if they did, they’d have to win the FA Cup 8 times in a row to surpass Wenger’s record before they exited through the perpetually revolving Manager Fired Door.
  • During the ‘Famine Years’ Arsenal was out-performed only by Chelsea, who were riding high on the pre-FFP billions of new owner, Roman Abramovich.
  • Those of you that pooh-pooh Football’s oldest and most competitive knockout competition need not acknowledge this outstanding achievement.

The League Cup

LEAGUE CUP

Top 6 Average League Cup Position

Wenger Years
1998-2017
Famine Years
2006-2014
Feast Years
1998-2005 · 2015-2017
Arsenal [9.95]Arsenal [5.50]Liverpool [8.23]
Chelsea [9.98]Man Utd [7.67]
Chelsea [10.18]
Liverpool [10.78]Chelsea [9.72]Spurs [12.82]
Man Utd [12.08]
Liverpool [13.89]Arsenal [13.59]
Spurs [13.53]Spurs [14.39]Man Utd [15.68]
Man City [26.05]
Man City [23.22]Man City [28.36]
Average League Cup position of the Top 6 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur)

Points awarded on same basis as FA Cup Table (above)

 

Analysis

  • I’d be lying if I didn’t say these results didn’t come as a shock to me. Wenger has never won the League Cup – he’s been runner-up twice (in 2007 and 2011) – and it is regarded as common knowledge that he uses the Competition as an opportunity to ‘blood’ younger players, and squad players who are overlooked for the other ‘bigger’ competitions. Wow.
  • Curious anomaly – that Arsenal performed incredibly during the years of austerity, when performance in League and FA Cup showed a marked drop in performance during the same period.
  • The fact that the other ‘big’ clubs (particularly Liverpool, Spurs and United) have focussed more attention on the League Cup in recent years – in a desperate attempt to add silverware to their cabinets – may have skewed the results in their favour somewhat during the ‘Feast Years’.

Champions League Trophy

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

This is where things get difficult. Wenger’s critics often point to Arsenal’s ‘poor performance’ in Europe’s top competition. The argument, in and of itself, is absurd. The fact that Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League in all but the last year of Wenger’s reign places it streets ahead of the other English teams in terms of consistency. It may come as a surprise to some – but you can’t win it if you aren’t in it.

Of course – there is the argument to be made that since we don’t have the Champions League trophy in our cabinet, we have ‘failed’ in Europe. However – as the owner of a club paying off a stadium debt – I would have to say that delivering the extra millions of Pounds in revenue year upon year would have to count as a success in my books, as my books are ledgers.

[Side note: I started writing this article in March, when the ‘debate’ surrounding Wenger’s contract renewal was at its peak, and the vitriol and venom displayed by Arsenal ‘fans’ was palpable and peaking. I wish I had posted this article then – if only for the simple fact that our final League Position (5th) tarnished Wenger’s otherwise fantastic record of perpetually qualifying for the Champions League (and finishing above Spurs).

I am of the opinion that the negativity and toxicity exhibited by Arsenal ‘fans’ in the 2016/17 season played a massive part in the team’s poor performance. It is hard, however to quantify its effect – and so, until I can find a way to justify my view using actual data, I am just going to have to bite my lip.]

Statistical Observation: I have used UEFA’s Champions League Ranking points system in the following table.

Top 6 Champions League Points

Wenger Years
1998-2017
Famine Years
2006-2014
Feast Years
1998-2005 · 2015-2017
Arsenal [16.58]Chelsea [18.44]Arsenal [16.22]
Man Utd [15.32]Man Utd [17.78]Man Utd [12.44]
Chelsea [13.74]Arsenal [17.67]Chelsea [8.56]
Liverpool [7.47]Liverpool [9.56]Liverpool [6.22]
Man City [4.58]Man City [4.11]Man City [5.56]
Spurs [1.42]Spurs [2.00]Spurs [1.00]
Points earned in the UEFA Champions League competition by Top 6 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur)

UEFA Champions League Points System:
Group stage participation — 4 points; Group stage win — 2 points; Group stage draw —1 point; Round of 16 participation — 4 points. Clubs awarded an additional point if they reach the round of 16,
quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

Analysis

  • As I mentioned in the preamble to the Champions League section – consistency is key here. Arséne’s Arsenal has outperformed the other top clubs in Europe during his reign.
  • As expected, results dropped off during the lean years – although the margins between the clubs occupying the top 3 positions are extremely small.
  • Arsenal’s average points earned during the prosperous years leave them head and shoulders above the rest.
  • Please note: the logic behind UEFA’s Champions League Points System (the system UEFA uses when determining the club coefficient for its ranking system) is their own, and not up for debate here.

Conclusion

Football fans are a passionate bunch. They invest a lot of energy and emotion into their hobby (and let’s face it: it is a hobby: something we enjoy doing in our spare time). Sure – we spend money on our hobby – but that shouldn’t be confused with ‘investing’ in it. We have no claim on the Club we support, no power over it… in effect we are entitled to nothing but our opinion.

We may be fans of Harry Potter – but we don’t picket JK Rowling’s house when she kills off our favourite character. We don’t demand that she write shorter books, with happier endings. We may own all of the books, DVDs, and even have our very own wand. And a pet owl.

So what..?!

JK Rowling is in the business of writing books. And you are in the business of reading them. As long as you enjoy her books, you will keep buying them. You may be her most ardent fan, but this entitles you to nothing but your opinion.

But remember this:

Opinions are like arseholes. Everybody has one.

And – as Douglas Adams pointed out:

“All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.”

That said, be wary of someone who relies on statistics alone to support an opinion. As the Scottish poet Andrew Lang pointed out – statistics are used

“…as a drunken man uses a lamp-post: for support rather than illumination.”

The statistics presented above are not cherry-picked. They haven’t been massaged. If you want to look through the spreadsheet I used to create these tables, you are free to peruse it here. This data doesn’t seem to exist anywhere – I have had to compile it, myself, painstakingly, season by season. If you’d like to use it in any posts – please credit me (@invinciblog).

Anyone who can look at Wenger’s achievements over the past 20 years and still call him a specialist in failure needs to have their head examined. And if you don’t understand why Stan Kroenke (and the majority of his board) renewed Arséne’s contract – then I’m afraid you don’t have the elementary grasp on logic required. It’s as simple as that.

There is plenty of meat left on this bone of contention, I know – and I have a follow-up article that will explore some of the more controversial elements of the AKB-WOB debate: the huge losses to our closest rivals, our performance anxiety in the big games, our apparent inability to ‘compete with the top clubs in Europe’, Wenger’s tactical ineptitude… all the minutiae that distract us from the overall picture.

Just remember – these are separate issues, and not logical arguments to the facts (stats) presented here.

If you want to argue against the contents of this post – stay on the playing field.

And if you can’t (or won’t) admit that perhaps you may need to reassess your opinion of Wenger based on the findings above – then that is your loss.

Continue thinking with your gut, and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that comes with it. But please – keep your screams to yourself.

Peace.

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49 Responses to If you believe Wenger is a Failure, you’re Deluded. Here’s why.

  1. bergkampisgod July 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    This is all based on Averages and we have been average, we finish just behind Fergie in the league yet haven’t won it for 11 years, but hey we are 2nd best on averages. We are top on the League cup ON AVERAGE but we have never won it, We are top on champions league BUT HAVE NEVER WON IT.
    Its not emotional it analysis we dont win things we are AVERAGE.

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      Perhaps you don’t understand the meaning of “average” – being at the top of those tables is not average, by definition.

      You also seem unable to grasp the concept of relative performance, which is the entire purpose of the post. Luckily for both of us, I don’t feel the need (or desire) to educate you.

      Feel free to leap to the unsupported conclusion that we are “AVERAGE”… That is almost certainly the ONE thing that we are NOT. Thanks for the comment.

      • Kesa July 14, 2017 at 7:51 am #

        We’ve been average in the champions league during Wenger’s tenure. You can choose to disagree, that’s your opinion.

  2. jw1 July 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

    A brilliant compilation.

    jw1

  3. Marble Halls TV July 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    I think he should still go, but then the historical analysis is not the point, it’s about always progressing. any club or organisation needs to look forward, and not backwards. from 2006-2014, it’s not as if we had bad players. Cesc, Henry, van Persie,, Hleb, Flamini, Gallas, Theo, Clichy, Sagna, Adebayor were/are all players who played for other top clubs with great success. So top four was assured, given our competition. City were emerging, Spurs were not a threat, and Liverpool were poor under Benitez and Dalglish. As for Champions League qualification, Man United have won it twice, Liverpool once, and chelsea once by being in it less times.

    Wenger is a legend, but for me it’s about the good of the club, not history or legacy. The club endures, and anybody who doesn’t cut it to an acceptable level should be questioned. it seems harsh, or ruthless, but the club exists for the benefit of any one person.

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

      None of the other clubs has gone undefeated in a season or has a Gold Premier League trophy in their cabinet. Wenger has won the FA Cup more than any other manager – including Fergie, who was at United for 26 years. We built and paid for our stadium (which in itself is a massive achievement) by selling our best players. This isn’t conjecture. And by the way – those fabulous players that you mention in your comment: all bought by Wenger, for cheap, and sold as stars to the world’s top clubs…

      “City were emerging” – that’s a bit of an understatement. Chelsea were emerging too. And with regards those other clubs winning the CL – games like that are won and lost on slender margins. Stop treating those facts as if those clubs were dominant in the competition. They weren’t. Often it was the luck of the draw, bad refereeing… And the managers that won the trophies for those British clubs were pretty average (SAF aside). Try not to bolster your facts with emotional judgments, my friend. It would be useful for all of us as we try and figure how to unite our club again.

      I’ll see your cherry-picked facts and add some of my own. We could do this forever. 🙂

      By the way – I am not an AKB, by any means.

  4. thenry July 11, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    excellent article and factually based as opposed to the anti wenger blogs that provide no facts as to why they think he’s a failure.
    currently we have section of our fan base that is destabilising our club, i have been a season ticket holder since 1976 and the hate they show towards our own players at the emirates is unbelievable, they are the reason sometimes we under perform at home, instead of supporting the team they boo their own team.

    they will all realise what wenger has achieved when he’s gone as without a top manager and there are not many of those around we may be out of the top for a long time let alone win trophies.
    COYG

  5. Tim July 11, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    This is nothing more than you saying 2.80th place is a trophy. I’d rather Arsenal swap average finishing places with Chelsea any day if it meant I got to be part of six Premier League titles, and a Champions League and Europa League title.

    What I don’t get is why your article has to be so belligerent against people you disagree with. The problem in the fan base is exactly this: two sets of fans screaming obscenities at each other. This article’s tone and substance just added another screaming voice to the crowd.

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      I’m not saying that anything of the sort. The premise of my article (and it’s in the title) is that Wenger’s consistency in achieving the positions outlined means that he is NOT a failure.

      My primitive analysis of the stats may very well be offensive to someone who has a more sophisticated grasp of numbers (and statistics) – such as yourself. But please feel free to correct me if the conclusions I have drawn are incorrect. At the end of the day, it may very well come down to semantics – what one means by ‘failure’.

      Regarding the tone of my article – guilty as accused. The substance..? Hmmm – that seems overly-dismissive.

      Regarding those Chelsea trophies – I’d love to have them too. But I’d still like to keep Arsenal’s 3 Premier League titles, (one gold) and the 7 FA Cups.

      Do YOU honestly believe Wenger is a failure?

  6. dtj July 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    You are a complete moron who knows very little about statistics. Your choice of analysing the data also seems very biased towards your conclusion when in actual reality the stats do not support that.

    1. Why would you lump together 98-05 era and the post-sell to buy era? You do realise that there are many more meaningful differences between Wenger’s tenure than just money right? The 98-05 era massively skews the data of the “feast era” to support your conclusion that Wenger is amazing. If you honestly believe your conclusions then you should break down the “feast era” into their two separate timestamps.

    2. Your coding for performance in the CL shows no rationale for why these numbers were chosen. Under your system you are able to accumulate large series of points for just participating in the competition and/or getting out of the group stage, but very little reward is reflected for going deep into the competition. This is why you have teams winning the CL getting only a few additional points over Arsenal. Chelsea who won the competition in ’12 get 20 points, but Arsenal (who got knocked out in the round of 16) get 17. Do you think that’s really reflective of success?

    3. You also include non-participation in your averages of success which again greatly inflates the performance of Wenger because he was participated in every season. Of course qualifying *should* count for something, I’m not arguing that it doesn’t, but at the same time including non-participation as zero greatly impacts upon the figures presented in a very biased manner. Take a look at Chelsea for example who only became a big team around ’04 but you count their performances (largely zero) prior to that. Arguably, the best way to judge a team is to see how they have performed when they HAVE qualified. And yes, even under your very dubious coding scheme for performance, it demonstrates that Man Utd and Chelsea far outstrip Arsenal in terms of success.

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

      1. The stats are all available in the spreadsheet linked to in the article. I am not a statistician – I know very little about statistics and may be – as you so kindly point out – a complete moron as well. How wonderful of you to take the time out to offer me your professional opinion.

      Please feel free to use the data to support any counter-argument you have to offer. I would sincerely welcome a discussion around facts, and not emotions. I’ll even host the blog where you prove that Wenger is, after all, a failure. And I am the deluded one.

      2. As I pointed out in the article – you may have missed it – the points system I used for the CL table is not my own. It is the one UEFA designed. I was trying to formulate a table whereby teams were given rankings similar to the ones I used in the FA and League Cups – but I was faced with the problem of how to give rankings to teams that didn’t even qualify. If you have a better way to analyse and present the performance of these 6 clubs in the Champions League over the past 20 years, by all means… Go ahead.

      Here is the link to the UEFA points system – it is in the side bar. Don’t shoot me – I didn’t invent the system. It’s the one THEY use. http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/uefarankings/club/

      3. Once again – your comment presumes that I presented this article with a pro-Wenger agenda. I didn’t. These are the ‘facts’. I didn’t make them up. Enlighten me. Educate me. Show me another way to scientifically analyse the data that reaches another conclusion (ie That Wenger is a failure, and Kroenke was wrong to renew his contract…) and I will willingly post it.

      Like I said – these are not MY opinions. I didn’t make up the numbers. I’m not attached to the outcome, one way or another.

      I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to comment so thoughtfully. I may not enjoy being called a moron (or even a complete moron) – but hey… Opinions are like arseholes, right?

      • dtj July 11, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

        1. Yes, I have looked at your spreadsheet, and as I said, you simply have complied statistics that conform to a certain agenda. I mean it doesn’t take a statistician to understand that by lumping together 98-05 with 15-17 that you are massively bringing down the average of our “recent” performances in the league. Second, some would argue that your data should be 14-17 given that we signed Ozil in the 2013/14 season and that was the first season we actually didn’t “sell to buy”. Let’s take a look at the PL performances that way:

        -98-05: 1.63
        -06-13: 3.63
        -14-17: 3.5

        From looking at that analysis, the data would clearly suggest that between ’98-’05 we were excellent, suffered from the stadium move, and have not improved since the purse strings have been loosened.

        2. Fair enough if the points system is not your own, but do you not see how the current way of devising the points very much over-emphasises two things: (1) qualifying for the CL; (2) reaching the knockout stages?. As I mentioned in my previous post, the fact that Arsenal can attain 17 points for getting the final 16, but Chelsea receive 20 for winning the thing is very illustrative of that point. The current system overly rewards qualification and mediocrity in the CL and undervalues going far into the cup. Second, including all 20 seasons for all clubs ignores the fact that the likes of Chelsea were not successful until about 7/8 years into Wenger’s tenure. These two points conclusively lead to two things happening in your data: (1) it greatly rewards qualification for the cup; (2) it underrewards success for reaching the latter stages of the cup. As every Arsenal fan knows, Wenger has an astonishing record of attaining CL qualification every year (except this one), hence why the data suggests that Arsenal under Wenger has by and large been the most successful club in the CL. Whilst I don’t have time to devise a new points system or retrospectively go through each clubs history in the CL, let me just post some clear facts of the performance of English clubs in the CL:

        Arsenal: Runners up (1), Semi Finalists (1)
        Man Utd: Champions (2), Runners up (2), Semi-Finalists (2)
        Chelsea: Champions (1), Runners up (1), Semi-Finalists (4)
        Liverpool: Champions (1), Runners up (1), Semi Finalists (1)
        Man City: Semi Finalists (1)
        Spurs: None!

        Based on those performances above, who would you say hosts the best success in the CL? Based on that, we have outshone Spurs and Man City, but not been as successful as Utd, Liverpool or Chelsea. Sure okay, I appreciate the point that Wenger has been successful in achieving qualification year in/out (aside from this year), but it misses the point that our performances have been underwhelming and mostly outstripped by our peers. Can you not see how your data is somewhat a) misleading and b) not consistent with the above related facts?

        3. I apologise if your intention wasn’t to give a pro-Wenger agenda, but in some ways the way you have handled your data does indicate a sense of bias. I mean as I said before, why otherwise put together two separate eras that obviously reduce the meaningful differences between the two? Perhaps this is just a lack of knowledge on data handling and statistics, but if you really want to lay validity to your claims you need to try and assess your data from every possible angle. Quality data analysis not only explores the ideas you *expect* to find, but other possible explanations of the findings. The fact that you didn’t for example, question neither of the above points does to me at the worst suggest a desire to support a conclusion from the data, or at least a not well thought through piece of analysis.

        Now, I shouldn’t have called you a moron, that was uncalled for and unnecessary so I apologise, but I think you should be wary of conflating the idea between data and “facts”. Just because you compiled data does not make them factual. As I have outlined quite clearly, the way in which we handle, compute and analyse the data can leading to very different conclusions. So yes these data are not “facts”, they are pieces of evidence that are there to support an opinion or an assertion, which in this case was the idea that some people need “reassess their opinion of Wenger”.

        • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

          I will reply as soon as I’m able. Out with family right now. Thanks again for the thoughtful debate. Will address your points in depth tomorrow.

        • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

          1.Here are the statistics for the “Feast” years with the years changed as you suggest:

          1998-2005 Position 2014-2017 Position Combined
          Premier League
          Arsenal 1.63 1 3.5 2 1
          Chelsea 3.88 3 3.75 3 3
          Liverpool 4.13 4 5 5 4
          Man City 19.88 6 2.5 1 6
          Man Utd 1.88 2 5.5 6 2
          Spurs 11.25 5 4 4 5
          FA Cup
          Arsenal 4.69 1 2.375 1 1
          Chelsea 12.75 3 11.375 2 3
          Liverpool 26.06 5 16.25 5 5
          Man City 29.00 6 11.75 3 6
          Man Utd 11.14 2 15.625 4 2
          Spurs 20.75 4 22.25 6 4
          League Cup
          Arsenal 8.50 3 12 6 4
          Chelsea 6.75 1 8 3 2
          Liverpool 7.38 2 6.25 1 1
          Man City 23.50 6 7 2 6
          Man Utd 9.88 5 11.5 5 5
          Spurs 9.13 4 8.25 4 3
          CL (Points)
          Arsenal 14.86 2 16 2 1
          Chelsea 8.29 3 14 3 3
          Liverpool 6.86 4 2 6 4
          Man City 0.00 5 17.25 1 5
          Man Utd 17.29 1 7.5 4 2
          Spurs 0.00 5 2.25 5 6

          Not much difference, really – except perhaps in the League Cup – which, as I pointed out, was never Wenger’s priority.
          PL: 1 –> 1 + 2
          FA: 1 –> 1 + 1
          LC: 4 –> 3 + 6
          CL: 1 –> 2 + 2

          Adjusting the Famine Years from 2006-2014 to 2006-2013 we get:

          2006-2013 Position 2005-2013
          Premier League
          Arsenal 3.63 3 3
          Chelsea 2.50 2 2
          Liverpool 5.00 4 4
          Man City 7.38 6 6
          Man Utd 1.38 1 1
          Spurs 5.88 5 5
          FA Cup
          Arsenal 13.63 3 2
          Chelsea 5.25 1 1
          Liverpool 26.25 6 6
          Man City 18.75 4 3
          Man Utd 13.44 2 3
          Spurs 20.00 5 5
          League Cup
          Arsenal 3.75 1 1
          Chelsea 7.38 3 3
          Liverpool 9.00 4 4
          Man City 18.00 6 6
          Man Utd 6.00 2 2
          Spurs 10.88 5 5
          CL (Points)
          Arsenal 18.38 1 3
          Chelsea 18.38 1 1
          Liverpool 10.75 4 4
          Man City 2.25 5 5
          Man Utd 17.50 3 2
          Spurs 2.25 5 6

          Obviously – the necessary adjustment to the “Famine Years” has some knock-on effects.
          PL: 3 = 3
          FA: 2 –> 3
          LC: 1 = 1
          CL: 3 –> 1

          I know you think that I cherry-picked those years to massage the data – as I said, this was never my intention. Even with the adjustments that you suggest, my conclusion wouldn’t be that different.

          2. I agree with you completely about how skewed UEFA’s Champions League points system is. I have a theory that it is designed as such to give more weight to the Spanish Clubs, who always seem to dominate their Group Stages – thereby giving them better seedings for the draw. (Never mind the warm balls theory…)

          We may never agree on the importance of CL qualification, and whether that qualifies as a success. I can’t imagine that the owner of a club would pooh-pooh the extra money generated… Sure – winning the trophy would be a massive honour, but winning the competition often comes down to luck of the draw, refereeing errors, and slender margins. None of the English clubs really dominated the competition in the years that they won. And some won by playing anti-football.

          In all instances, it was really the strength of the squad, a group of players who had played together for a long time, than sheer managerial genius. (In fact there is an argument to be made that the stability in squad plays a more important role than that of the managers who come and go. Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern, United, Chelsea all benefitted from the stability of having the same players play together for years. The new manager could come in and win the title with the squad inherited.

          Arsenal missed out on a period of great achievement by moving when they did, and selling off their top players instead of milking them for trophies.

          But I digress.

          3. Apology accepted. Don’t think I didn’t question the points. I spent many days trying to devise a points system (along the lines of the other Cup competitions) for the CL table. It was just impossible for me to calculate a meaningful position for teams that didn’t compete. I have my attempts in a spreadsheet if you are interested. At the end of the day – Arsenal’s consistency meant that it rode out the flash-in-the-pan successes of the other clubs over the long haul.

          If you’d like to contribute to the debate with a guest post – let me know.

          Thanks again.

      • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

        Will reply tomorrow. Thanks for the well-formulated and respectful comment. I really appreciate your insights and opinion. Am unfortunately unable to respond tonight.

  7. graham perry July 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    Well done Paul.
    I do believe that all around us we see more vocal and unattractive expression of views.
    The Referendum was a good example – many people on both sides were “mouthing off”.
    Re Arsenal too many fans have become too intemperate.
    They feel entitled to mouth off in an aggressive and intolerant way – they are not alone and some of the Wenger supporters also act in this way.
    Like you I am sure it got into the heads of the players – who lost their nerve.
    But Wenger’s response was masterful and three at the back took us to nine wins out of ten and a champagne performance in the Cup Final.
    Wenger has to accept some responsibility but critics have magnified his mistakes and undervalued his achievements.
    In this important way they have distorted reality.
    I hope right is vindicated and wrong is humiliated and that Wenger enjoys a successful season
    Graham of Arsenal Circular

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

      Thanks Graham. Debate is healthy. Sometimes.

  8. Nige - Kiwi Gooner since '77 July 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Well written piece. Arsenal have been competing against some of richest clubs in the world over the past 20 years and have still been winning trophies – despite paying off a stadium that is the envy of 99% of clubs in the world. Our Champions League record during this time is remarkable, in context, too.

  9. DM July 11, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    This is a really interesting post and, whilst I don’t agree with your conclusions – I’m certainly in the camp that thinks Wenger should leave – I appreciate that you’re trying to have a civilised debate about the issue, and commend the thought and process that’s gone into it.

    My arguments are as follows:

    1. The way you’ve conflated 2015-17 with 1998-2005 into our “feast” years is using our old data to artificially raise our recent data. No-one is arguing that from 98-05 we were pretty much the bees knees. But the 15-17 data should be a separate issue, as, even with our FA Cup wins, our PL form cannot be compared to when we were winning, and PL is the most important data when it comes to consistency over a season.

    2. As someone else in the comments has pointed out, although possibly in a not-quite-so-well-mannered way, there is, at least in my mind, a serious problem with being perennial nearly-boys. The fact that we are so often right up there, but never quite achieve our goal of winning the league, is a problem.

    You mention imagining that we are the owners of the club and are trying to assess our manager’s performance. Averaging out performances may go some way to get a glimpse, but they really can’t tell the whole story – in the same way that looking at stats of a football match can tell you a lot, but all that really matters is the score line. Whether the team that won only had a single shot on goal and 25% possession really doesn’t matter when they got the three points. It might matter to the team that lost, as it could show that it was an anomaly, but not if this same scoreline is repeated, along with the same stats, again and again.

    Let’s imagine that we are the owner of a different business – a major supermarket chain, for example. Our performance data shows that for 75% of the year, we have the highest volume of sales, the most customers, etc. In other words, we’re doing great. But come the end of the year, time and time again, we are behind to a rival when it comes to profit, making us the second, third, or lower-ranked supermarket in the country. Are we continuously satisfied that our data shows we are doing well for such a long time? Our average is above our competitors – does this help?

    As a business owner, I’d want to see that the manager is learning from any mistakes, putting a plan in place to stop the same errors and pitfalls from occurring. The data shows that there is a solid base to work from, everything should be in place to thrive, but something is holding it back. When it happens time and time again, I would ultimately find the manager responsible for this.

    3. If you’ll allow me my own minor thought-experiment… let’s just imagine that back in 2007, for example, Arsene Wenger had left Arsenal. A new manager was brought in. Between 2007 and now, we then performed EXACTLY the same as we actually have done in the last 10 years.

    So in 2007, Wenger leaves, having got us to the CL final in 05/06, winning FA Cups in 04/05, 02/03, 01/02, etc., invincibles in 03/04 and PL winners in 01/02, etc. etc.

    Since then, new manager comes in. We don’t win the PL again. We don’t make it very far in the CL again, often suffering quite humiliating defeats. We do, eventually, start winning FA Cups again.

    Would you be supporting this new manager as vehemently as you are Wenger? Or would you be saying, Sure, we have some FA Cups, but we’re nothing compared to where we were under Wenger?

    Now there’s two issues: loyalty, and new stadium. So let’s say instead of Wenger leaving in 2007, he leaves in 2012/13, when it’s commonly accepted that we were financially able to compete again with the world’s biggest clubs. Many of us, myself included, were happy enough to give Wenger the benefit of the doubt until this time, being impressed enough with our staying in the CL year on year, if somewhat disappointed that – as impressive as it was – we only really needed a tiny bit more to really challenge. By 2012/13, we should definitely have got our new challenge on, and be ushering in a new period of success. It’s been 5 years since then, and we seem to be not only stagnating, but in decline. The so-called 4th place trophy, which Wenger himself made such a huge deal about, has now evaded us too. Our one world-class player doesn’t really want to stick around, just as RvP didn’t, Nasri, Cesc… So my point is, I accept that the new stadium was an issue, but it’s been 5 years since that should have been sorted, and we’re not getting any better.

    Loyalty. I’m all for loyalty, which is another reason that I was happy enough for Wenger to stick around until 2012 and show us that he could still hack it. Simply, it hasn’t really happened.

    Sorry for the length – got a bit carried away! But I’ve tried to respond in a respectful manner and I hope you can do the same.

    • DM July 12, 2017 at 10:53 am #

      Everyone got a reply except me 🙁 lol

      • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 11:22 am #

        Hi DM – have been at the hospital with my mother and unable to reply. I actually did reply to you yesterday but somehow on my phone it ended up being a reply to myself!

        “Will reply tomorrow. Thanks for the well-formulated and respectful comment. I really appreciate your insights and opinion. Am unfortunately unable to respond tonight.”

        Will try and reply later this afternoon. Apologies.

        • DM July 12, 2017 at 11:30 am #

          No problem, Batmandela. I did see that response and wonder if it was directed at me lol. I wish your mother well.

          • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 11:39 am #

            Thanks, mate.

            Would you consider submitting your views as a guest post? I’d be happy to publish it.

            I will respond in more depth to your comment – but I do feel that it would be good to have it reach a wider audience.

            Please also read my reply to Kev, as some of what I have to say to you has been addressed there…

            Thanks again.

    • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi DM.. I have responded to DTJ above – some of the points are pertinent. Please have a quick look at my response. Apart from that:

      1. See DTJ response.
      2. A supermarket business owner who isn’t inspired to be the best in the country might value the stability a manager might bring. Notwithstanding the negative side-effects of hiring a new manager, and the dearth of new managers as qualified… 🙂 But yes – I get your point. Remember, too – that this manager seems to have brought you added bonuses year-after-year, that helped you build a new supermarket that is the envy of all your competitiors.
      3. I appreciate your thought-experiment – but it is the way you dismiss 3 out of the last 4 FA Cups that makes me wonder how attached you are to your paradigm. The Premier League and the FA Cup are the 2 biggest trophies in English football.

      In the last 4 years, Wenger (Arsenal) has won 3/8 of the major trophies on offer. Chelsea has won 2. United, City and Leicester have won 1… Is that a failure?

      Please remember that I am playing Devils Advocate here. It is stated quite clearly in the Premise of my article.

      Whether I displayed a remarkable naivety by using League Averages and UEFA’s point system in my post – I still feel that the results prove that Wenger is not a failure. Perhaps it all comes down to semantics… I don’t honestly know.

      I was at all 3 FA Cup Finals (’14,’15 and ’17) and I can honestly say that they were some of the best days of my life. Nothing can take that away from me, and I will always be indebted to Wenger for his part in those experiences.

      • DM July 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

        Batmandela,

        Thanks for your response. I’ve written about 3 different replies to you, each one of them became incredibly long and off-topic and ended up deleted. The truth is there is too much to say on here – I don’t want to bore you with an essay (I have a habit of writing way too much lol). I really think what it boils down to is priorities. For me, the PL is THE yardstick by which we measure success and progress. Everything else, with the exception of the CL – because that is the absolute pinnacle of club football anywhere in the world – is a bonus. So it’s awesome to have won 3 FA Cups, it genuinely is, but 3 bonuses do not add up to genuine title challenges, let alone wins.

        I have to stress here, I don’t think we are *entitled* in some way, that we have an inherent right to win the league. What I do think is that we, as fans of one of the richest clubs on the planet, paying the highest ticket prices in the league, have a right to see our side mount a serious title challenge on a regular basis. Last year was our worst under Wenger in the PL. The year before that we may have come second, but it was a second place finish when every big club in the league completely fell apart. That season was ours for the taking and we couldn’t do it – I genuinely believe it was a sackable offence.

        Your article is entitled “If you believe Wenger is a failure, you’re deluded…”.
        A failure to who? In whose eyes are we looking at this from? Much of your article talks about looking at it as if we are the business owner, so are we saying that Wenger is not a failure to Kroenke? I don’t think anyone argues with that – he keeps the bank balance nice, the money rolling in, and offers relative stability on the pitch.

        But when we say that Wenger has failed, we are not talking about him failing Kroenke. He’s failed us, the fans. He’s failed the club, the very club he helped to mould and make so great. That Kroenke is happy only goes to show that Kroenke is also a major issue in our club – although, with all the problems I have with him, he HAS insisted that plenty of funds are available to use, which Wenger has often been reluctant to do.

        So in response to your point 2 – “this manager seems to have brought you added bonuses year-after-year…” – The bonuses are for who? Kroenke, or us? They should be helping us to do better business in the market. “…that helped you build a new supermarket that is the envy of all your competitiors.” – The very stadium that was built so that we could be a powerhouse of a club, not just in the PL but Europe… has that happened?

        I also strongly disagree with your implication that there are not many quality managers out there who could replace Wenger.

        To your point 3:

        The thought-experiment stands. I didn’t answer it myself, I put it to you. So I’m not dismissing the 3 FA Cups – that’s for you to decide. My point is, if you imagine that it was a different manager, not Wenger, over the last 10 years, would you still think he’s been successful, when you compare him to what we achieved under Wenger? Your answer might well be yes, that’s fine, but I reckon an awful lot of people, even those who support Wenger, deep-down would not think so. At the very least, it’s not such a simple question. My point being that so much credit is given to Wenger purely because he is Wenger, and for the extraordinary history he’s given us, but not because of the manager he is today.

        (Apologies if this was a bit of a jumbled response, I’m at work trying to do stuff and I’d re-written this like 5 times until it got to the point that I had to just write something and be done with it 😀 )

  10. Huzefa July 11, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    While I respect your article and the lengths to which you have gone to support it I still am a Wenger Out person. While you may celebrate the fact that we accumulate lots of points if it is not converted into the trophies that those points represent then it is totally worthless. The aim of the game is to win the Title or Champions League not to have the average best points. Sorry but you gain nothing for that. His in game management is terrible and the list of bad decisions that he makes or has made across the board are unforgivable for a manager of Arsenal football club.

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

      I believe that the person who achieved these results cannot be labeled a failure. Most objective observers would agree. I’m not going to try and convert you. You disagree. That’s fine. It’s your right. It’s your opinion.

      Thanks for the comment.

  11. Andre July 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

    This is a joke. Average means absolutely nothing. Football is about history, it’s about glory and trophies. Having the best average and no trophies won’t get you nowhere. The last 10 years of Arsenal and Wenger will only be remembered by the humiliating defeats we collected against our rivals or champions league clubs. We became a third tier club in Europe and second tier at home. A club where players who can’t play for the sharks go, we have been playing dead while our rivals grow in size, fans, trophies and money. As long as we don’t wake up and retire our good old manager, getting back to the top will become harder and harder.

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

      Great sentiment. Factually incorrect. But you don’t need to hear that from me.

  12. Mr D.Simone Madrid July 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks DM perfect

    I’m sorry Batmandela but you are a moron how did you even get this gig

    For the last 13years we havent been anywhere close come on take your tongue out of his arse

    • Batmandela July 11, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

      With all due respect, go fuck yourself. 🙂

    • mupsie July 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

      does the D stand for Dickhead or Dunce – how easy and uneducated it is to call people names

  13. Kev July 12, 2017 at 1:06 am #

    I feel the fundamental flaw in this is that you completely misjudge what being a football fan is all about – it’s not about logic, really, or stats of facts, three words that crop up over and over again in your argument.

    Football is the best sport the world has ever seen because it is at root chaotic; anything can happen in any area of the pitch at any time, involving any of the players and only very few of those actions are quantifiable. What’s more the officiating system is objective in a way that you cannot find in another globally popular team sports.

    Football is a game for the head, of course – lord* knows that in a cumulative sense I’ve spent far too many years of my life thinking, theorising and obsessing over football and for the vast majority of that time, my mind has been consumed by Arsenal. But the key word there is “obsessing” – this is something that isn’t done solely with the brain but also the soul and the heart and other invisible parts of us that we as a species haven’t really figured out the provenance of just yet.

    I think what for me and many others has been missing most recently – and last season was the pinnacle / nadir of that – has been hope. Hope that the same faults that have been there for the last 10+ years nights be addressed and ironed out, hope that we might be able to change and if not win the Champions or Premier League then at least find a new and more noble / interesting / commendable way to fail.

    Again, this is something that I don’t believe you can measure with numbers, although ironically perhaps yours do come close to doing that – consistently lurking in and around the upper echelons of those datasets without pushing on to actually win either speaks to me of an utterly modern and rarified kind of hopelessness, one sustained by relative success but ultimate failure. I can’t think of any elite level competition that has been tougher to win since the Serie A of the 90s.

    All of which is probably blather that I could have done away with if I’d just come out and said this at the top: sport** for me is nothing like as much about logic and consistency*** as it is emotion and glory, or at least the hope of the latter to the provocation of the former. In the last few years, it’s this equation that has been lacking for me, though I adore Wenger – he has been the manager of Arsenal since before I passed through puberty.

    I’d never dream of publicising my feelings that it is time for him to go beyond the pub, I find the high profile protests of him revolting and entitled. I have quietly believed that the last few years though, even if I am once again being sucked back in by the summer’s activity and the switch to the 3 at the back.

    Arsenal till I die,

    KK

    *im not religious
    **i mean football, I couldn’t give much of a fuck about any other sport
    ***logic and consistency have always seemed to me to be desirable traits in running a business – handy in football too, but ultimately the game is (at the risk of repeating myself) glory and the hope that it will arrive

    • Kev July 12, 2017 at 1:12 am #

      *Subjective not objective – it’s late

    • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 11:35 am #

      Kev – I appreciate all the time and energy you spent on that great comment, but with all respect, it is in the Premise of my article that I asked the reader to imagine being an impassioned, unemotional businessman (a la Kroenke) and see Wenger’s performances through his eyes.

      Your arguments, your reasoning, your sentiment: they’re all absolutely sound, however I feel no need to defend a position that is not mine. In some ways I was playing Devil’s Advocate in my post. I have been insulted, debated, accused of all sorts of things by people – which only really serves to bolster my argument that a number of fans are irrational in their ability to address the simplest of concepts. (In this case, that averaging in the Top 3 – at worst – and delivering the bonus £ for CL QL – whilst still delivering 3 out of the last 4 FA Cups does not make a club manager a failure, at least in the eyes of an un-emotionally-attached owner.)

      I honestly believe I could have presented the table with no analysis and still been dragged over the coals.

      What I am not going to do is defend Wenger against the things you (plural) accuse him of. Most of which I agree with, anyway! There are rules to a debate, using logic being one of them. Logic isn’t some vague thing. I have linked to a previous post about logical fallacies and how frustrating they are.

      So I won’t debate them here. I don’t have the time or energy.

      I am happy to post your thoughts in a guest blog – my post seems to have touched some nerves. You write very well, and Gunners Town likes to represent everyone, on all sides of the Arsenal spectrum.

      I’m just pleased that my post – however incendiary it may have been – has at least inspired quite a few people to advance their passionate views in a respectable and thought-provoking manner. Thanks for your comment.

      • Kev July 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

        I appreciate your response and your generous words, I do feel it’s a bit cheeky to try to renounce all ownership of the tone and argument of the post though 😉

        Maybe it’s more the headline – it doesn’t really make clear that you’re writing from Kroenke’s POV. I suppose it depends how you measure success and failure. I have my own methods, stated above, though obviously the logical and statistical side of things feeds into that.

        I think for the people who are most vehemently “Wenger Out” the failure is more an atmospheric one than something tangible. The loss of the rituals and familiarity of Highbury magnified over the years since by the feeling of decay in new environs, all while the hype surrounding club football in this country hits profound new heights and the competition increases.

        Anyway, if you wanted to provoke thoughts, then the post has certainly done its job.

        All the best

        KK

        • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

          I own the tone. Completely. (For my sins!) In retrospect, I went TOO over the top. Ah well.

          I also sincerely wonder if people truly know the meaning of’deluded’.

          Thanks for engaging. If ever you want to air your views outside of the pub, let us know. 🙂

  14. Thomas July 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    This garbage is just based on a bunch of averages. Awful scale of measure. Very disingenuous article.

  15. EN1AFC July 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Perhaps the reason why you’ve had insults thrown at you is because the title to your article is actually insulting. “Your deluded” right okay, great start. So anyone who doesn’t agree with what you say based on the stats you’ve gathered is deluded according to the title. Then you have the cheek to ask for debate and counter arguments when you’ve already labelled those who disagree as “deluded”. How bizarre.

    Simply using stats, in a game such as football, is nonsensical. There is a lot more to football than statistics. By totally excluding anything other than stats to determine the success of a manager is nothing but agenda driven bile.

    No wonder there is a divide in the fan base.

    • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

      Without looking it up – define “deluded”…

      The premise of my article is that Kroenke would look at Wenger’s performances and not see them as a Failure. I defined failure – according to an unemotional businessman.

      I have been hit with all sorts of other stats arguments and accusations – mostly by people who are not prepared to admit that my conclusion – for the purposes of the article – was correct. As far as they are concerned – finishing in the top 3/4 of the world’s premier football competition, and in the top two for the other competitions defines you as a failure.

      Apparently winning is everything. Trophies are all that count.

      Except for the 3 FA Cups that Wenger won in the last 4 years. THOSE don’t count! That’s a basic summary. Forgive me for thinking that it is everyone else who is harbouring an agenda, and unable to give credit where it is due.

      Thanks for your comment.

  16. Phil July 12, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    Of course Kroenke doesn’t consider Wenger a failure; Kroenke’s interest is first about money, second about money, third about money… and some way down the list at about 97: sport.
    And fans of nearly all other clubs are never going to judge Arsenal’s record as failure, because Arsenal are above their team more often than not. So on that objective measure, Arsene is not a failure.

    However…
    You are misguided in some aspects.

    Firstly there were no ‘famine’ years in terms of finances, that’s nonsense. What happened was Chelsea got rich in 2003 and it took them a couple of years to get the right blend (because money isn’t EVERYTHING) and start winning titles. Then Man City got rich, and lo and behold a couple of years later they started winning titles. Then there were new TV deals that made everyone richer, but especially the big clubs who finished higher up the league and were on TV more often.

    So Arsenal from 1998-2004 had one richer team to compete with, then two, then three. Meantime the stadium debt was refinanced in 2006 and has been repaid since at around £20m a year (capital and interest) and that arrangement continues until 2031. So it was not suddenly paid off in 2014 and it was not unduly hampering anything before that, given that during the period from 2006 to 2014 the infamous cash balance rose every year, from £53m in 2006 to £153m in 2013, then £208m in 2014 – yet you still insist Arsenal had to sell to buy? Not true, I’m afraid. The players who left were either disillusioned with the manager and the club’s prospects or just wanted to go to a bigger club for more money and/or a better chance of trophies. They insisted on leaving, no one pushed them out of the door.

    I would also say that your stats ARE cherry-picked, despite your denial. Where is the stat that says how many titles each club won during each period? You’ve focussed on numbers of cups, but not numbers of titles.

    Another change at the end of your so-called famine years was Fergie departing from Man Utd, after which, surprise! – they went downhill. Do you really think Fergie would be finishing behind Arsenal every year? I don’t.

    I could go on, but I’ll just ask this – Which would you rather have from 2006 to now: Arsenal’s average finishing position and trophies, or Chelsea’s, Man Utd’s or Man City’s? Because I can categorically state that Arsene’s reputation would be much enhanced if Arsenal swapped with any of those clubs for that period.

    • Batmandela July 13, 2017 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks for your comment Phil. To answer your question: which would I rather have? Of course, Chelsea’s… plus the 3 FA Cups (which were some of the best experiences of my life). The premise for the article however, was what Kroenke would think.

      Regarding the cherry-picking of stats. I bow to your superior analysis. Leaving out the ‘feast’/’famine’ subsets doesn’t really change the article’s conclusion much, though, to be honest.

      Are you saying that selling off the Invincible squad as quickly as we did had nothing to do with the upcoming stadium move? I find that hard to believe – but once again – you da man when it comes to club finances. I’ve told you that many times.

      I didn’t mention number of titles – you are correct. My bad. I mentioned the FA Cup since I thought that pointing out that Wenger is the most successful manager in its entire history may be something. Also, because these 3 trophies were won in the last 4 years – meaning that his performance since renewing his last contract hasn’t been entirely shambolic. Curious how a lot of the post’s critics tend to cherry-pick which trophies count and which don’t.

      Lastly – I am not pro-Wenger. I found these results surprising when I first started compiling them. I decide to frame a post around them – and I have since discovered that apparently an average is entirely useless when analysing. (Who knew?) And I am aware that my tone was a little over-the-top – which, coupled with my growing belief that people don’t truly know the definition of deluded (which is how I intended its usage) caused an outpouring of anger, scorn and vitriol.

      It also produced a number of respectful and well-thought responses (which, in retrospect, I may not have deserved.)

      For the record – I have been advocating Wenger’s replacement for ages – and I sincerely hope that Arsenal uses these next 2 years to restructure things. There are way too many eggs in Wenger’s basket.

      Thanks again for your reply.

  17. Phil July 13, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    Selling some of the Invincibles was rather hasty in retrospect, but who can accurately say what the reasons were and which factors had most weight in Arsene’s mind? Henry clearly wanted to go to Barca, so we know why he left. But at the time Arsene had a policy of getting rid of over 30s, based on data that suggested performance went down fairly rapidly on average after that age. So off went Vieira (who let’s not forget had been agitating for a move for some time anyway) and Pires, who I think was only offered a year if I recall correctly. Arsene seemed to believe that the likes of Cesc and Van Persie would be able to step up and fill the Incincibles’ shoes – which they did to a point, but the supporting cast gradually changed to the likes of Almunia and Bendtner, and Arsene put too much trust in them and too much money in their pockets.
    Other Invincibles were getting on – Keown and Lehmann for example – so weren’t going to last much longer anyway. I could go and look up when all the Invincibles left, but overall from about 2005 to 2008 I accept a few were probably pushed a bit, but whether most of them would ever be able to repeat 2004 anyway is highly debatable. They weren’t all great plyers, just a great team at that time. Keeping them together was no guarantee of success anyway, especially with Chelsea suddenly much more powerful and Fergie building a fourth or fifth great team that won 3 titles in a row.

  18. MichaelJJJ July 15, 2017 at 4:52 am #

    I am seeing a pattern here. It seems almost every recent Arsenal debate transcends into Wenger in or out.

    Wenger supporters are justifying why Arsene should remain our manager by trying to measure how “close” we came to trophies with statistics.

    Anti-Wenger fans vent their frustration with their specific measurement of our perceived lack of competitiveness.

    I can understand the frustration of both sides.

    I believe the root of this whole issue is “the priorities of Stan”. I believe Stan asked Arsene to manage finances above football trophies. The success of which can be argued both ways (see above).

    I believe this debate will continue until we either retire/sack our manager or we start winning trophies.

    As such the REAL question should be……….. “assuming Stan will allow the manager to compete with the other big clubs by providing enough money, is Arsene the right man to make us competitive again?”

    I’ve always had faith in Wenger, but we are miles away from the free-flowing beautiful football I remember. (Can anyone else remember the night we played in Moscow and scored 4 goals in the first 25 mins???!)

    Ps

    A warning for the OUT fans, I remember Derby, Leeds and Nottingham forest in their glory days. It can easily be a slippery slope.

  19. Stan July 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Since 2006, Chelsea, Man U and Man C have all won titles. In the same time frame Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool have won the CL.

    Arsenal have failed to win either competition during that time, which makes Arsene Wenger a failure as a manager.

    Just because statistically he has failed with a better average than his peers doesn’t equate to some form of success, IMO.

    Failing to get past the first KO stage of the CL, 7 seasons in a row, is very poor.

    The problem with the stats you are using is that is shows consistency, but not success, which isn’t the same thing in football. If you win the title 3 times in a row, but then finish 5th, your average position falls, but that’s better than getting 2nd, 4 years in a row.

    Winning 3 FA Cups in 12 years (most recently) is a decent return, but not when you take into account the lack of league and CL success in the same period.

    The 10 – 2 defeat to Bayern, would have got most managers the sack on its own.

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