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Arsene should do what’s right for Arsenal and hand over the baton

Whilst watching us succumb to yet another defeat in the Champions League first round knockout stage, I felt deflated but not at all surprised. We’ve seen it so many times, that it’s become inevitable and that will continue to be the case, until Arsene’s departure.

If Carlsberg did wake up calls, I would have woken up to the news of Arsene handing in his resignation, with immediate effect, or at least a club statement to announce that this season is to be his last. Unfortunately, they don’t and their lager is as disappointing as our spineless surrender in the Allianz Arena.

In an ideal world, I have always hoped that Arsene would leave with dignity and go out on a high but life is rarely the fairytale that we want it to be and there is no room for sentiment in football. Some supporters will argue that with roughly a third of the season remaining, now is not the right time to become managerless but let’s face it, would we even notice?

Arsene is rarely seen cajoling the team from the touch line, his team selections and substitutions are predominantly poor and he’s not proactive in reacting to in-game situations. I’m sick of hearing the words “be careful what you wish for” too. I didn’t wish for us to managed by a man who sits on his backside all game, fails to get the best out of the players at his disposal and publicly belittles his own clubs supporters. Whilst also blaming us for our lack of success. What other manager in world football would get away with that?

It has now reached the stage where Arsene can’t even get the simplest decisions right. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been our best player recently, whilst playing centrally. What does Wenger do? Moves him out wide. Alex Iwobi’s inclusion was also a surprise as he’s generally struggled in games against the top sides. He’s got a lot of potential and I won’t be too harsh on the kid but he’s simply not ready to be relied upon in games against teams like Bayern Munich.

For the first twenty five minutes or so against Bayern, we barely touched the ball. However, once we equalised through Alexis Sanchez, the home side started to look vulnerable to pace at the back and the game was crying out for the introduction of Danny Welbeck at half time. I wanted him to start but if he’s not fit enough to play for at least forty five minutes, why is he on the bench? We could all see it, except for the man that’s paid £8.5m a year to do so, that is.

The lack of fight, desire and tactical nous on display from our manager, his staff and the players throughout the game was beyond comprehension. Arjen Robben is a player who is world renowned for possessing an exceptional left foot. Instead of attempting to force him on to his weaker right foot, our defenders naively showed him inside onto his left. It’s so basic and something you get taught at youth level.

In the summer, I discussed the areas where I felt we needed to strengthen. Improving our defensive midfield options, was one of them. My first choice was N’Golo Kante, with Victor Wanyama a cheaper alternative. Although I admire the passion of Francis Coquelin and thought he was one of our better performers at one stage, earlier in the season, his recent form has dipped significantly. He also lacks quality in his distribution.

A squad player

Another priority in the summer, is a new left back. Kieran Gibbs is defensively naive and at twenty seven, he really should have shown some improvement by now, in that respect. Whilst Nacho Monreal has had a poor season and appears to be past his best. The obvious option to fill the position is Ricardo Rodriquez. He’s a player that I wanted in the summer but was told by some supporters that we already had two top class left backs. What do I know?

One thing that I never thought I’d say, is the only player who can take any credit from our midweek mauling, is David Ospina. However, Wojciech Szczesny remains the better of the two in terms of ability. He’s as athletic and is better on crosses, with his height being an obvious advantage. Should Arsene depart in the summer, I believe Wojciech’s form whilst on loan at Roma, makes him deserving of the chance to show that he’s finally grown up. If he hasn’t, then bring in Fraser Forster.

I recently said that our squad was arguably the strongest in the league and that it’s good enough to win domestic trophies. However, as a group, it is clear that the players lack character and natural leadership and I’m not sure that even a new manager can install something that simply doesn’t appear to be there. However, we are a long way off being good enough to compete at the highest level in European competitions. As proved by six, soon to be seven, consecutive last sixteen exits in the Champions League.

Not everything is Arsene’s fault though and had Laurent Koscielny not gone off injured against Bayern, the scoreline may have been closer. The board also have to take a large proportion of the blame. They don’t appear to put Arsene under any sort of pressure to deliver anything more than a top four finish. There is also a major concern that the board aren’t qualified to appoint his successor and in knowing this, perhaps they fear taking any decision about Arsene’s future, out of his hands. Understandable to a degree.

Kroenke definitely not qualified to appoint Arsene’s successor

However, with the resources that Arsene has available to him, I believe another manager would put himself under more pressure than Arsene does, to be successful in terms of winning trophies. I also remain convinced that another manager, could get more out of our current playing squad. Were it Chelsea’s Antonio Conte at the helm, it may even be us sitting at the top of the table.

I have heard a potential boycott of games being mentioned as a way of forcing Stan Kroenke into selling the club or at the very least, making a change of personnel where the managers position is concerned. I’m of the opinion that a boycott is not the way to go. The reason? Firstly, because it would be putting one man before the club.

It could be argued that it’s putting the future of the club ahead of one man but when you have been going to games for nearly all your life, it’s difficult to suddenly decide not to go. It’s a release from everyday life and as much about the camaraderie, as it is the football. Besides, why would the board care whether we attend a game that they have already pocketed the ticket revenue for?

My opinion is that instead of making cryptic comments in press conferences, it’s time for Arsene to announce that this season will be his last as our manager. If he loves the club as much as he says he does, then he should do the one thing that would help reunite the fans. It would also serve the board with the necessary notice to begin the search for his successor. A search that you would hope, is already, well under way.

Should Arsene announce his intention to step down, it would enable us all to focus on getting behind the team and hopefully enjoy what is left of the season. Instead, all he’s done is create more frustration and anger amongst supporters. I don’t hate the man and I won’t forget his contribution to the club but two more years, no thanks….

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3 Responses to Arsene should do what’s right for Arsenal and hand over the baton

  1. Harj February 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    You don’t need Arsene to step down to get behind the team. That is lightweight.

    Arsene should stay. He has delivered on his plan to put us on a more level footing with Manchester United and consistently overachieved as he has had to sell his best players every year to make this possible whilst the elite clubs invested heavily in the opposite direction. Chelsea billion pound investment was not on the cards and neither was the Manchester City billion pound team investment. All of these clubs, barca, real, juve, psg, checlse, ManU, bayern, ManC are at elite level of team investment. Spending 50, 60, 70, 80, 90….100? million on a single player is nothing for them.

    Arsenal with £225 million in the bank could blow the lot and would not match that level of investment… not yet.
    So what we will need is a miracle worker to keep up with the elite clubs until Arsenal fully evolve. Funillly enough, we already have that in place, so no change for me. Keep it steady until Arsenal can consider themselves a paid up member of the elite.

    Give Arsene the chelsea, ManC or ManU investment and squads and he would win a clean sweep every year. The fact that he stuck with Arsenal and turned down Real shows that he placed his loyalty and passion with Arsenal before any personal glory. He is and will be judged in history as Arsenals greatest ever manager (if in doubt about the importance of financial footing, consider that we lost Paul Merson to middlesborough as they were paying more, cashley cole to chelsea as they were paying more, Michael Thomas to Liverpool as they were just more glamorous and paying more, tony cottee never came cos everton were paying more, chris sutton (Arsenal fan) snubbed us as Blackburn were paying more, Alan Shearer never even took us seriously as we weren’t even in the same ball park as what he was being offered by Newcastle and United).

    Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City could’ve just bought our best players year in and year out. Bayern do it to everyone in the Bundesliga, Manchester United did it to Spurs for a while and Manchester City (Nasri, sagna, clichy, adebayor), Chelsea (Ashley Cole), Manchester United (RVP) did it to Arsenal. It wont happen now though and that is partly down to Wengers loyalty and miraculous overachievement for last 12 years.

  2. Nick Birch February 20, 2017 at 7:14 am #

    Haj, I completely disagree and you have also misread my words.

    Firstly, I didn’t say that I had stopped getting behind the team, my words were that we could concentrate on doing so, meaning that it would be nice to go to a game and not have the whole debate about the manager going on all the time.

    You say that we are on a level footing with Manchester United but that’s because they have fallen way below their previous standards, not because we have caught them up.

    If we had then we would be winning league titles in the same way they were under Ferguson. Sadly, we are not.

    You also have no proof that Arsene would win anything whatever resources he has, he spent £90m in the summer and I’m not convinced it was well spent. Xhaka has been less than convincing, although I think there’s a player in there, Mustafi is solid but vastly overpriced at £35m, whilst Perez doesn’t get the game time that he deserves.

    Wenger could spend £500m but it would be irrelevant if he spent it on the wrong players and most people would agree that his team selections and substitutions are terrible.

    It would seem that you are also still judging Arsene on our financial situation from 5 years ago, not the current one, where we don’t need to sell our best players and if you think Merson left because we couldn’t match what wages he was being offered at Middlesbrough, you are wrong. He was deemed surplus to requirements.

    Arsene was a great manager but he isn’t anymore, there is evidence is there for most to see but if you are happy with him, I’m happy for you but personally I think his time is up….

  3. James Parkins February 20, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    That article is bang on the money.
    That response from the akb is typically deluded.
    Full of nonsense and out of date argumenta.
    Non other manager would set us up so under prepared against the top sides or as frequantly as Le Fraud does.
    8-2 atUnited, 6-0 at Chelsea, 6-3 at City, 5-1 atLiverpool, 5-1 twice atMunich etc etc etc
    He’s not a miracle worker, he’s an out of date dried up hasbeen,
    Get real Haj and get rid of Le Fraud for all our sakes.

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