I have read a lot of commentaries on our disastrous defeat on Sunday. There are common themes in all of them and I am thoroughly dismayed at the threads running through many of them which some of my contemporaries are highlighting. It brings me no comfort to find that I have been identifying the same issues for nigh on three years. On the other hand, there is unconditional defence of Wenger from his devotees who see criticism of the manager as a personal insult. The response from them is not logical but it is consistent. That is not unusual nor difficult to understand. It is very much like watching a child defend his father from what he sees as abuse, even though his defence is made out of unconditional love which others do not have. It is therefore devoid of real content or logic. There are countless grounds for loyal, sincere Arsenal fans who are so disturbed by what is happening to our club, that they feel compelled to commit them to writing.
These are some of the major feelings which have been identified:
- Poor Defence
- Incompetent goal scoring.
- No shape to the team
- Bad coaching/ lack of progress by stand out prospects.
- Unnecessary and repetitive injuries
- Complacency and underestimating lesser teams
- Sideways and backwards passing and slow play.
- Stubbornness in not making subs until the 70th minute.
- Failures in the transfer window, i.e. failure to make any purchases or making them too late. Failure to get a first class CB.
- Letting contracts run out and consequently losing income which is needed for replacements. .
- Lack of transparency and misinformation spoon fed to the fans.
- Disregard for fans opinions.
- Cost of tickets.
Wenger`s disciples hark back to his past achievements up to 2004 and for the building of the stadium as justification for ignoring his failures since 2004. FA cups, Victory Cups etc. are something any top 4 club would expect to win periodically but in lauding those wins, it illustrates the weakness of the Wengerite defence. We know that they cannot produce a Euro Championship Title at any time during his 23 years at Arsenal, but why has he not won the Premiership in 13 years? Is there any sign of progress from being a constant top 4 club to an also ran? We are currently 6th and we were 5th last year. We are about to lose our two best players and we are still shopping in Aldi instead of Harrods or even Waitrose, so no sign of progress there then!
Any reader of this article will be familiar with all of the above issues but I thought that I might just remark on one made by one of our Bloggers (Marble Halls); “Our defence was taken apart by them”. In actual effect, our defence was taken apart not by them but by their lone Centre Forward, in this case a 19 year old who destroyed the BFG and Holding all night. Morata did the same thing for Chelsea and W. Brom did the same against us. Apart from Kos, who is also deteriorating, we have no speed at the centre of our defence and it extends in to midfield. We have never filled that hole properly since Adams retired. Keown and Bould went around the same time. Every top manager and a lot of much less than top, have realised that, and the most successful tactic used against us has been to play long balls over the midfield and follow them up by charging supporters for their lone CF.
We are now at the stage in the history of this club, that we have not provided any answers to the list above and if we continue with Wenger, who has not been able to address them then we are descending towards being a mid-table club, which will be the most expensive club in the world to support, but with no prospect of being in the elite of clubs. My challenge firstly to the Wengerites, is; how can you claim to be true supporters of the club if you are prepared to stand by and watch this great club descend into mediocrity? The TV revenues will reduce dramatically, because we will not be in the running for the big trophies. The fan base will shrink and while the top 4 will be marketable products globally, we will cease to be a draw for long distance markets. Why are those of us who want to be sitting at the top table regarded as traitors?
I think we all accept that it will be hard to replace Wenger but whenever that happens it will not be getting any easier by the time we are looking for someone of stature to come to a club which will not spend, has not won anything of note since 2004 and has no A class players! Have a look at this description. You are looking at Everton, Anything lower than Everton, and we are talking about Leicester. It is unthinkable that Burnley may even be regarded as a rival, but that is what the figures show. Spurs and Liverpool are above us and if it finishes that way this year, it will be even harder to get back into the top 4. They are on an upward curve whereas we are on a plunge downwards and Wenger will be the captain on the bridge when the ship sinks. His past accomplishments will not be the lifeboats which save us.