Wake up, Arsenal

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I’m not going to talk much about the Villa game as we’ve all done enough of that, but what I am going to talk about is Arsene, Arsenal and the mess we have found ourselves in.

In the next paragraph Tottenham will be discussed, so there’s your warning. EARLY in the summer Spurs recruited Franco Baldini to assist the pro-active Andre Villas Boas in the transfer market. This is just the latest move that shows they are ahead of Arsenal in terms of negotiations. Arsenal are yet to conclude a serious deal in the market whilst Tottenham look set to re-invest the £100million re-couped from Bale by adding serious talent to their squad – most of which has already been completed. Over the last five years Arsenal have failed to do that (replace well) and this year has arguably been the worst of the lot. Even though no players were lost, the club had a great chance to push on and challenge for the title again. So far they’ve failed to do so and frankly any transfers from now will be reactionary to the Villa defeat and fans revolt on Saturday. That’s not how it should be. It happened in 2011 following the 8-2 defeat and we are set to go through the same situation again. Whilst Arsenal fans can only hope for more Arteta-like signings than Santos, it’s still not the right way to have acted in the transfer market. It’s hard to understand who is causing the problems at the club, but as the years go on and the interest grows, it’s hard to look past a stubborn Arsene Wenger. He sees spending as failure. What he’s achieved for the club has been remarkable and all Arsenal fans thank him for that, but the club have not needed to sell their best assets for at least 2 years – financial results have proven that. He has a legacy at Arsenal and what he did in the past changed the club for the better and helped us evolve. He’s helped us grow as a club and create the marvellous Emirates but does that mean he can fail not just in the transfer market but on the pitch for 9 years? No, no other manager has his security. The club is starting to rot, and rot is hard to stop if you give it the necessary ingredients to spread.

Big clubs keep their best players, we might have had to sell a few 5 years ago, but the likes of Song and Nasri didn’t have to go. Arsene needs to realise spending is not failing, it’s keeping up with the times. I get the feeling he’s too stubborn to spend and keep up with competitors even though we are one of the richest clubs in the world. He needs help, but he’s not willing to take it. I don’t like the word but he seems to be a bit of a dictator at the club, managers need to be managed and that is not the case with Arsene. Gazidis did his best to ‘manage’ him by putting pressure on him telling the world we have millions to spend. In fact that seems not to have helped at all – it’s made clubs up their asking prices and Arsene back further away from potential deals. He needs help, a director of football would be ideal, Dick Law and Gazidis seem to have no clue how to conclude a deal, tie that together with a reluctant, dithering Frenchman and you’ll find it very hard to improve personnel. Tottenham have made many good signings this summer, but the best of all? Franco Baldini. Following his appointment everything has slotted into place as they looked to replace Bale. Villas Boas knew he had a job on his hands to replace Bale and accepted he needed help; it’s modern management to have a Director of Football. Just as Arsene would prefer to have pre-season in Austria to a money-spinning Asia tour, he is always reluctant to move on, develop and evolve his strategies to fit the ever-changing game that is football. A lot of fans are getting on the Frenchman’s back, but does he really feel under pressure? I get the sense that he possesses the same arrogance as Peter Hill-Wood did when chairman of the club – doesn’t care about the fans opinions. This may be a little harsh but I do feel he doesn’t think there is a chance he will be replaced before his contract expires and it’s that which worries me.

Photo via Ronnie Macdonald
Photo via Ronnie Macdonald

There are several problems at the club and they stretch far beyond the manager. The board is compiled of businessmen, many of which have little interest in Arsenal’s well-being but instead the financial results at the end of the year when they decide to come and visit, conveniently. That’s another article altogether.

In the transfer market this summer Arsenal have done well to ship their mediocre players off, all but Bendtner and Park Chu-Young have been flogged. However, as Saturday showed, it’s suicidal not have brought in players to cover. By the end of the game Ramsey was playing centre-back and Sagna left back and we started the game with no defensive midfielder in the squad and kids on the bench, on the first day of the season. Francis Coquelin could have done all those jobs. The young midfielder has been loaned out in Germany but could have filled in adequately in defensive midfield and right or left back, as proven on many occasions in the last two seasons. Arsene didn’t see a need for him, I do. If he intended to bring players in, have them ready for the start of the season and in the worst case scenario sign them late on but keep Coquelin until the new player comes in! The same applies for Johan Djourou, we currently have ONE centre-back fit and available for Saturday against Fulham – inexcusable. Now the goalkeeper: how Szczesny can be unconvincing for 3 years and still never have proper competition for his no.1 spot is absolutely disgraceful. We’ve been screaming out for a top class keeper since Lehmann, it’s never come. Forget transfers for a second, Arsene is so stubborn with his methods and his tactics are out-dated and don’t work. You can’t play an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation with full backs playing like wingers and no defensive midfielder against a team built for counter attack – that’s suicide and that’s what he did against Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. With Arteta out you could argue he had no choice, but whose fault is it that there was no cover for him? The problems are much deeper than just transfers in my opinion and if AW still remains stubborn no matter the amount we bring in we will never win the title.

This article is my opinion and I appreciate everyone has one so please appreciate mine. Despite this article I want to stress Arsenal aren’t in crisis. There is potential for a crisis but at the moment it’s a recoverable mess. Anyway, it’s Tuesday. Which means tomorrow we enter the battlefield in Turkey that is the Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium. 50,000 unforgiving Fenerbahçe fans will circle the young Gunners as they enter a game in which they can’t afford to mess up. Arsene’s future is in their hands – as if they didn’t need any added pressure.

 

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