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Does Arsenal need to let go of Wenger?

14 listopada, 2014

by Michael Skok

Following two disappointing results, including a 3-3 draw with Anderlecht in the Champions League, and a 2-1 loss to Swansea in the Premier League, anti-Wenger sentiment seemed to flare again amongst Arsenal fans. For a while, however, there has been conflict between the Arsenal supporters on whether Wenger, quite effectively an icon at the club, is the man to continue to lead them forward on the pitch.

Of course, there are legitimate points raised on both sides of the camp. This is a club once again in limbo, not in a particularly precarious position, but in no real position to achieve and genuine success. Is Wenger the heart of this problem?

Pro Wenger
Arsene Wenger is often cited as someone that could provide stability to the club. Of course, this is highly boasted by his recent record with Arsenal, maintaining the top 4 position (for Champions League football) for around a decade. This allows Arsenal to maintain the status of an ambitious club (off the field) and is certainly a prerequisite to attract players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. The style of football employed is also something that is synonymous with the club. Having plenty of touches of the ball, playing 1-2s with one another, and penetrating opposing defenses through precise passing and close control in crowded areas. When it works, it is magnificent to behold. The Frenchmen also is fantastic at developing players, the most recent examples could be seen in Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, and up to now, Aaron Ramsey. Of course, the French manager has also developed the likes of the legendary Thierry Henry.

Anti Wenger
One of the first criticisms you can encounter is his inability to spend on positions that Arsenal need to strengthen; most notably, the defensive positions. The center defensive midfield position still hasn’t been adequately improved, relying on the likes of a past-it Mathieu Flamini and Mediocre Mikel Arteta to screen the back four. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are also sometimes tasked with these duties, but there talents are mostly wasted there. The lack of a disciplined and consistent player in that position leaves the back four vulnerable in counter-attacking situations. The other massive complaint would be his tactics (or lack thereof). If the aforementioned style works, Plan A, with possession and passing, then Arsenal are generally winning games. However, the moment an opposing team is able to stifle that style of play, Arsenal look extremely toothless and docile. For the most part, Wenger is unable to radically switch it up, and allow Arsenal to attack in a different sense.

It seems that Arsene Wenger is a manager that is lost with the times. He holds the attributes of a manager that would strive in an era where money and immediate results weren’t the be all, end all of football. His inability to spend (and spend big) and areas of the pitch that simply need reinforcing, already puts his squad at a disadvantage compared to the big boys. His positive qualities give him just enough to provide consistency in the club. But that consistency can easily be seen as stagnation. The FA Cup victory last season was seen as a watershed moment for the modern Arsenal, but recent results suggested that the club is as stagnated as it was for the last ten years. Arsene Wenger must either adapt, or allow another manager to take the reins, until then, the Gunners will be seen as an unreached potential while other clubs around them continue to win.

michael skok sport editor poland.usMichael Skok
Football Editor for
Polish-American Portal www.Poland.us
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