Was Wenger the problem? Are Ozil, Xhaka or Bellerin the problem? OR ARE OUR FANS THE ISSUE?

…aaaaaand we are back to square one.

 

Three games into a new season, with a new head coach and five new faces added to the team and all I see is fans’ unrest.

All the nice pre-season talk about getting behind the new head coach and the team seems gone already, the good vibes and promises “to get back to support the players, now that the old man is gone” have vanished.

 

It didn’t last long, really.

We are at the very beginning of a brand new journey and a vast majority of the fans already have run out of patience, apparently.

We could have hardly imagined a tougher start of the season and surely didn’t perform particularly well against Manchester City and Chelsea; we still showed some good football – although only in patches – and managed to come back from two goals behind a Stamford Bridge, hence throwing the baby out with the bath water sounds a bit premature.

It will take time and some hard knocks before we could see this team in full flow, by moaning and protesting you will only make the whole process longer and harder.

 

Why would you do that?

Image from Arsenal site to say West Ham match sold our on 22nd June

In the build-up of last Saturday game against West Ham I was expecting the atmosphere to be electric, I was expecting the crowd to push the players towards a much-needed win and I was expecting the Emirates Stadium to make some serious noise – and I got disappointed.

The breaking point was seeing the Emirates Stadium already half-empty with ten minutes to go and the scoreline still at 2-1; by that point, we were leading after coming back from one-goal down but we were far from wrapping it up and West Ham threatened to level the score several times.

Why would you leave your place in such circumstances?

 

Call me old fashioned but I never ever left my seat before the full-time and will never understand people doing that, especially on a traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off.

There’s no scoreline (positive or negative), no traffic jams, no strikes, no reasons to leave my seat earlier – and no excuses.

If getting to and back from the Emirates Stadium is such a nuisance, why are you going in the first place?

 

Also, I never ever booed any of “my” players – regardless of the performance on the day; their job is to do their best on the pitch, ours is to support whoever defends the cannon until the final whistle – it’s as simple as that.

During those holy 90 minutes, all I have to do is get behind the red and white shirt – only after I will take on any discussion about tactics, performances, the good and the bad of the game; there’s no place for selfies, pictures, videos, live-texting of the game, there’s only the game as it happens on the pitch.

 

I was naïve enough to think that the big change that happened last summer would improve re-ignite the atmosphere in and around the Arsenal, it only took as little as three games to blow all my hope away.

Are these guys the issue?

Maybe Arsène Wenger was not the problem – or at least not the only one.

Now that he’s gone, abuse is regularly thrown at Mesut Özil, Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerín and Petr Čech.

There’s always a new target, there’s always a new scapegoat.

Perhaps the real issue at the Arsenal are some fans.

 

The bad news is that they can’t be sold or sacked and their contracts do not expire.

The good news is that we can make them irrelevant by out-voicing their negativity.

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24 Responses to Was Wenger the problem? Are Ozil, Xhaka or Bellerin the problem? OR ARE OUR FANS THE ISSUE?

  1. @arsenalcircular August 28, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

    Good piece Andrea.
    The problem has been the lack of success – we fell away in the Premier L, failed to get anywhere in the CL. Fans felt short changed and winning 3 FA Cups in 5 years was not enough. So far so clear but egged on by Adams, Wright, the Supporters Trust and the media some fans became very anti. Not just anti AW but anti AFC. The fan base has changed. The mood is different. The hate of social media has not been rooted out. Arsenal today is not Arsenal of yesterday. The cynicism is deep seated – but only for some. For others the word “ARSENAL” still excites. Seeing the red shirts, the 3pm KO – it stirs the memories. The Haters and the Moaners will never get in the way of my love for AFC. I supported Wenger big time and now I support Emery big time and every player who dons the shirt. We are the real supporters. The rest are just little people parading their frustrations in life and constant bad language on Bellerin, Iwobi, whoever. Freedom brought by social media comes at a cost. Stay strong. Stay committed. Thankyou Andrea

    • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:04 am #

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment!

  2. Stephen August 28, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

    Utter nonsense….complete rubbish, click bait crap

    • Dave Seager August 28, 2018 at 5:12 pm #

      As editor I take the title from the text

    • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:04 am #

      Hi Stephen, I’d love to engage into a discussion if you could elaborate more…

  3. Mike McDonald August 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

    Andrea…. To answer your question I say absolutely Wenger is to blame.
    Perfect example… Sarri was given a firm foundation to build on both in player pool, finances and work ethic by Conte.
    If Emery has made any mistake it’s that rather than fix one problem at a time it looks like he has tried to fix many of them.
    Wenger left AFC with a weak team fully deserving of 6th.
    More to the point, he left a team who had…
    a) no accountability for poor performance
    b) complete neglect of tactics as he clearly fooled folks who thought he just chose ‘freedom of play’ over tactics when in fact he didn’t understand tactics
    c) unbalanced squad that needed 2 or 3 more every season
    d) pre-planned substitutes based on not liking confrontation rather than based on needs of the game
    And on and on and on…..

    Any coach would struggle in this climate.

    Arsenal Football Club are at fault for not changing manager 10 years ago before fan based got hugely frustrated.
    We now have ‘nervousness and quick frustration ‘ as an automatic mode for our fans.
    This is what happens to any fan who lived with no hope for a decade.

    • chris August 28, 2018 at 9:01 pm #

      Well said. You might add …. he was an arch politician, protecting his own position. In the end he was only undone by empty seats.

      • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:10 am #

        Thank you both for reading and for your comments.
        I agree that Wenger stayed beyond his due date and the Club is faulty for this but that’s the past – and this was my exact point.

        Emery is a new coach with different ideas, which he will transmit to his players; it will take time to change habits that have been there for over 20 years but we – as fans – will only make the whole process longer and harder by not getting behind the team.
        The coach and the players need us, badly, and some of us are turning their backs already, after three games

    • Taysays August 29, 2018 at 10:09 am #

      Only reason Wenger is to blame – Having big dreams for the club instead of being satisfied with just winning trophies.

      Imagine having to sell your best players to pay off a debt your brought on yourself because you wanted to make a small club great.

      Wenger is to blame because he was winning trophies with average players. Nobody sits backs and remember that most of the players that left Arsenal for better have NEVER replicate the form they showed under Wenger? Wenger made Arsenal fan deluded and spoiled. He made fans think we could compete with AC Milan, I mean he beat Real Madrid away with fucking Senderos in defence. He won the FA cups that put us in a record position and himself as well. Cheers. Liverpool have spent more and won nothing. Maybe Wenger was a genuis and sprinkled angel dust on average players and won some silverware.

      Wenger is god, he built the Arsenal Stadium. We are going to call it home for many generations. He is immortal.

      Quick on Unai – Get behind.

      On Arsenal fans – I don’t like most. I mean they flew a freaking plane with a banner. Arsenal fans are pussies and their energy always creeps unto the players.

    • Victor Thompson August 29, 2018 at 2:03 pm #

      Spot on Mike, but I do think that Emery deserves support for at least one season. It wouldn`t have mattered who took over from Wenger, the complete lack of discipline vis -a – vis tactics and accountability
      ( particularly the defence ), which was Wenger`s legacy, meant even Guardiola would have needed money (lots of it) and time to make a decent challenge for the championship. Those who are castigating Emery already are “howling at the moon”.

      I agree that the fan base has changed but even though the newer supporters who are not familiar with the club`s long history must for some time now, realise that we are at best a top 4 team and our expectations should be lowered accordingly. That is a fact of life.

      Man City, Man U, Chelsea and now Liverpool are all funded by Billionaires who finance their club. Spurs are realistically, our most comparable rivals and they are building upon 3 years of sound coaching and tactics. Any replacement for Pochettino would have a sound basis for a club to rival the other 4 at the top and they are certainly in a better place than Arsenal.

      I fail to see how sniping and the use of inappropriate and abusive language does anything to assist in improving the team. Let`s have full support to see if the fans contribution really can encourage the players to achieve what we all want.

  4. Nigel Benson August 28, 2018 at 5:02 pm #

    The problem is with the newby, self-entitled Arsenal fans who jumped on the bandwagon when we were top of the pile. I’ve never had any respect for “fans” who start supporting the most successful club of the moment. That goes for Liverpool fans in the 70s and 80s, Man U fans in the 90s, Arsenal fans in the late 90s and early 00s and Chelsea and Man City fans in recent times. They all tend to have artificial expectations and never seem to be there when the club needs their support, when it’s battling. I started supporting Arsenal in 1977, because we weren’t Liverpool or Man U. We’d only won the league once in the previous 25 years, so I didn’t have any expectations of glory. It made Arsenal’s subsequent success all the sweeter. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why someone would leave an Arsenal match early. You’re not a fan, if you do that. I grew up 12,000 miles from Highbury. My Arsenal-supporting youth involved listening to matches at 3am on BBC Radio. My bedroom in NZ was a shrine to Arsenal, composed of Shoot! magazine photos. Buying club merchandise meant waiting three months for it to arrive by ship (air freight was way too expensive). It took me 30 years and thousands of dollars to finally see my club play live, in 2007. I’ve been back twice since. So, I think these newby, self-entitled fans have no idea of what supporting a club is about.

    • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:23 am #

      Thank you Nigel, I salute your dedication!

  5. APANGU IDDI AMIN August 28, 2018 at 6:17 pm #

    arsenal needed 2 more signings to make the squad complete and emery should not be pushed to always look for alternative players like wenger did because the league has reached another level where you need to have a strong team to compeate and fans have taken long withought celebrating major trophy.

    • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:27 am #

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

      Emery will need time to get to know the team well-enough to make sensible calls on who should stay and who should go.
      It’s his job and Mislintat’s to find the right players, we should only worry about supporting the team for the full 90 minutes.

      My guess is that we won’t see Emery’s team as he imagines it until next summer at the earliest

  6. chris August 28, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

    We will all suffer from the Wenger legacy for some time. Some of his players are simply not good enough. Emery canot clear all of them out at once. They are used to being allowed – NOT to press, NOT to defend as a team unit, NOT to fight for the ball. They are used to saving their energy for attacking and ‘ expressing themselves ‘ and being wide open to counter attack. Both full backs are used to storming forward and leaving exposed the central defenders …. who are NOT protected by Xhaka FFS. Not one of Wenger’s big signings players (Ozil, Mkhtaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette) has a clue about winning the ball or competing for it. Some of Wenger’s players do NOT wish to change. They were comfortable – and highly paid – before. This is what Emery has had to take over.

    • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:29 am #

      Indeed, Chris, and adding toxicity and negativity is not going to help Emery or the players.

      We know where we come from and where we all want to go but to get there we need everyone’s support and commitment – including fans

      • chris August 29, 2018 at 9:47 am #

        My point is that Emery has a huge task before him and everyone must expect it to take him and his coaching staff quite a while to sort out. After just three matches … the wiseacres are saying ” bring back Wenger, he is a genius !”

  7. ddkingz August 28, 2018 at 9:06 pm #

    its all depend from what perspective you are viewing the situation from…

  8. DEW August 28, 2018 at 9:15 pm #

    what a blublibudubudua! Really? seriously? is 3 FA enough for last 13 or 14 years for Arsenal?

    I don’t know if half fans left before last 10 minutes, but if they left, it means that they left. I can only understand it. If they are not interested, it only means that they are not interested. There is no fans formation and selection to criticize because the actual battle is on the field. We are the witnesses for years that the team itself was dead men walking after 60 minutes. May be it is idea we borrow from the team.

    I very much remember commentators criticizing United fans during Barcelona-united CL final at Wembley for being quiet unlike Arsenal fans. Same season during the knock out stage Arsenal won Barcelona by two late goals and the fans were amazing to the last minute. You see during those times, there was faith and hope you reasonably expect from the team.

    This kind of posts are reminders to me that systematic abuse of Arsenal fans has continued by the agenda people who are quite far from truth or blind to see it. Arsenal is a big club and we never accept anything less from it.

    • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 7:38 am #

      Hi DEW, I never ever stated that recent results were good enough.
      I enjoyed winning the FA Cup in 2014, 2015 and 2017 but I missed competing for the league or the Champions League.

      The handful of times I felt the Emirates Stadium rocking was because the players were lighting the crowd up and not the other way around, which sounds odd to me.
      I’t a common problem to many stadia as they have been transformed into amusement sites instead of football places, but I only care and can only speak about our place.

      We’re going through hard times and we are proactively making it worse, which is plain wrong.

      I hope I managed explain my point better, I didn’t write one single word about the recent results being satisfactory

      • DEW August 29, 2018 at 9:52 am #

        I wanted to remind you another game that would prove your point wrong. Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona. Arsenal leveled by two late goals inspired by Walcott. After that game many things were said, but one of the Barca player (I don’t know who he was exactly now) said this, “If the fans were Madrid fans, they had already left the stadium long before Barca started to concede goals.”

        You people are very much wrong in your understanding of Arsenal fans. Those fans, you are criticizing, talk about football, results, the way the team plays, the way the club is run – so they make sense to me. You people on the hand talks about fans background, fans formation, fans selection, fans behavior, fans way of life, and so on- you don’t make sense to me.

        I understand some of your concerns, but the thing is the stadium itself is not built for atmosphere you wanted. It is built and administrated to maximize profits. I am really sorry if my comments are harsh to you but mind this – Stay away from Arsenal fans!

        • AndreaR August 29, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

          Like many other modern stadia, the Emirates Stadium surely doesn’t help building any kind of atmosphere, I am 100% with you.

          The player you are referring too was Victor Valdes, by the way.

          I’m not that obsessed with fans, mind. I am a supporter myself and I really don’t understand what you mean with “fans background”, “fans formation” or “fans selection” so I would appreciate if you could explain better.
          From my point of view, fans at the Emirates Stadium should only care about supporting the team during the 90 minutes, regardless of what happens on the pitch, and help the team from the stands.

          After the match, and only after the match, you can discuss about tactics, this or that player, the manager, the owner etc.etc. but during those holy 90+ minutes, the only purpose of being at the Emirates Stadium should be to support the team. End of story.

          This is not happening that much and it is a pity.
          I thought that a new coach, with new methods and new ideas, would have the full support from the fans but it’s not happening.

          That’s very simple, I think

          • DEW August 31, 2018 at 10:12 am #

            Arsene said away fans are better than home fans – fans selection.
            Half fans left stadium this much time before the game ends – fans formation.
            Tourists and those who cheer only the winners (fans of late 90s or early 00s see comments above you salute) are damaging stadium atmosphere. – fans formation and fans back ground.
            Selfies and smart phone users are not good for fans atmosphere – fans way of life.
            Arsene said small group of extremists, critical fans, fans who do not satisfy with FA cups and lack of patience and so on. You see the labels and accusations against arsenal fans is too many to bear and the vast majority is totally wrong, it is not even in the fans blood. As Macdonald rightfully said above it is simply the result of years and years of neglect and lack of ambition the club has visibly shown.

            You agree on the problem of stadium design, but I don’t think you grasp my point on the stadium administration. Not only at full time, fans left 5 minutes early and came 5-10 minutes late at half time. Match day revenue – hmmm. Most of the problems you mentioned emanates from the administration not from the fans. Yet again the administration has not shown the desire to address the issues.

  9. gooner23 August 29, 2018 at 6:22 am #

    For all the people who think wenger didnt know about football ,, well i cant comment on them since it would be of no use…
    Anyways returning to the article, i really loved this one , being a fan living out of UK and never been able to go to the emirates, it always seem disheartening when a lose touch is moaned by our fan base as if they are fifa players who would never make a mistake, the ridiculous social media roasting of a few of our players .. the fans in this era are grown with artificial expectations. For all the good stuff man city liverpool and tottenham play only one of them will win the title probably and probably we will have a good run of games as we have now, and we will end up being title contenders…thats what sports is about .. you see its the hope it gives you and as far as hope is concerned every fan should hope for good things to come…

    I was always a wenger fan and a fan of his ideals, the beautiful game when played perfectly , there is nothing better to the eyes but I fully support emery as an arsenal fan and want him to establish his identity on his team without losing the beautiful football.

    PS. MESUT ozil is our best player by far , arsenal fans should stop roasting him and get behind him or else he’l end up ditching us like players over the years , alexis , fabregas, hleb , sagna , nasri , clichy , and a lot more.

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