With Leicester City one step closer to doing what many people thought Arsenal were going to do at the halfway stage of the season and win the Premier League, which they will do tomorrow if Tottenham fail to win away at Chelsea, a lot of focus has fallen on Claudio Ranieri and how the Leicester boss kept his team going at different stages of the season and not succumbing to the pressure and the expectation the way that Arsenal did.
I read an interesting point of view this week by one of the players from the Chelsea women´s team in a BBC report, which includes a comparison between Ranieri and Arsene Wenger and suggests a possible reason why the Arsenal fans do not see the best from the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud on a consistent basis.
Eniola Aluko put forward the theory that Wenger is too soft on the Arsenal players, claiming that although Ranieri backs his players in public he can be ruthless behind closed doors and even their top stars like Riyad Mahrez are aware that their place in the starting line up is not secure.
She wrote, “Ranieri is a great example of how the psychology of a manager is tantamount to the performance of the players and although it’s a contrasting case, I think it’s also evident with the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
“Here is a team cast as perennial runners-up to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, and yet in a season where they have all faltered, Leicester and Tottenham have usurped the Gunners relegating them to their usual fight for fourth place.
“Their plight reminds me of a cutting message that our manager Emma Hayes delivered after we lost 4-0 to Sunderland last season. After an unbeaten first half of our season, she was concerned complacency may stuff up a title challenge for a second consecutive season so she reminded us of a quote which said: “The first mistake is a lesson, the second is a choice”.
“Successful managers have to be ruthless in ridding their team of complacency and while Ranieri has backed his team publicly all season, there have been several stories proving that he doesn’t indulge his players. I’m not sure the same can be said of Wenger.
“You can’t tell me that Arsenal’s squad is weaker than Leicester’s yet there is a psychological barrier which I think emanates from the manager. They seem to lack backbone in pressure games each season and yet Wenger seems to let his team get away with it. Is he challenging the players psychologically in the dressing room or just allowing them to make the same mistakes?”
What do you think Gooners? Is this the reason why our performances, both as a team and individually, have been so inconsistent? Or is Wenger just a different sort of manager to the hairdryer type and our problems lie elsewhere?