A breakdown of Arsene’s downfall and what happens next? by Konstantin Mitov
Hello Arsenal people! Talking about tactics with Arsene in charge is a waste of time so instead I’d like to review what led to this situation? When Wenger arrived in English football 15 years ago he introduced new training methods and discipline at a time when they weren’t that great. He was ahead of his time (ironically).
But a big part of his success which is often neglected is the squad he inherited. It had a solid defence and with a stroke of good signings Arsene made like Anelka, Henry, Ljungberg and so on we enjoyed 7 years of great success. The squad had steel and character. Vieira and Petit would never have left our defence so exposed, like Ramsey and Xhaka did for example.
But another huge part of Arsene’s early success was David Dein. There were talks of a Director of Football and we could use a person who would address our diabolical wage structure which sees players like Debuchy on 60k a week virtually impossible to get rid of, as well as cashing in on average players after one good season like Ramsey, and injury prone players like Wilshere.
The downfall of the Frenchman began with him getting rid of experienced players, because they were old. How many of the Invincibles finished their career at Arsenal? We disposed of Vieira, Ljungberg and Pires when Ferguson kept Giggs and Scholes until their 40s and achieved unparalleled success. Slowly Arsenal became more and more Arsene-al and the departure of Dein and the introduction of Gazidis was a vital step in this process.
Arsene was part of the process of appointing our CEO which makes it harder for him to go and sack him later on. Combined with an owner who doesn’t care about the club as long as it’s in profit, Wenger became the only man capable of running the club and his greed for power saw him take this to the extreme.
Wenger prolonged his departure way more than it was supposed to and here are a few moments that were good for Arsene to leave. After the double in 2004, after the CL final defeat in 2006, and after his FA cup in 2014. The last of the 3 is important, because Wenger went through some extreme lows like an 8-2 defeat, the top 4 jokes and so on, but he won his first trophy in almost a decade and we had a squad that was capable to move to the top with a few additions and a new manager.
He would’ve vindicated himself to some extend, overseeing the stadium change to return to trophy winning ways, leaving a strong foundation to build upon but instead he asked for more and eventually he lost all the records – the top 4, the Tottenham one, the Champions league and left himself a monumental mountain to climb. It was also the first time we saw players sabotage him and although it wasn’t like Chelsea with Mourinho or like Leicester with players begging the board to sack Ranieri, the way we were losing games was unheard of.
Arsene said it’s a blip, because that’s what defeat is to him. It’s always something that happens. For him 4-0, 6-0, 8-2, 6-3 defeats are acceptable, in fact they are the norm against top sides in recent times and he thinks he got what it takes to turn it around. Part of this comes from the unquestionable support he got from fans over the years. Chants like “Arsene knows” and “In Wenger we trust”, lead to a point where it’s all him and when it goes down it goes really down.
Also Wenger is given credit for everything on and off the pitch like building the stadium and there are probably tales how “Arsene the builder” put every brick himself or he paid with money from his own pocket. We are owned by extremely rich people and Arsenal milks fans very well so it’s a bit hard to give him all the credit, but most people do.
Arsene and Arsenal are a relationship that’s gone way too long. It’s like not letting go of your girlfriend because you always think of the fun times you had together some 10 years ago, when you’ve been miserable this entire time. You try to fool yourself that things are alright (something we do, when we occasionally turn up for a game), but in reality it’s fear of accepting the truth.
And as time passes by, the break up becomes ever so apparent, yet so difficult. We at Arsenal have proved we don’t learn. Wenger got lucky with Lasagna-gate in 2006. He got lucky when Aston Villa drew with Spurs, before Van Persie left us. And what Van Persie said about the direction of the club becomes ever so strikingly true just 5 years after.
Arsene survived in the top 4 so many years partly because there was always another team in crisis, whether it was Liverpool since 2007, Man Utd post-Ferguson, or Chelsea in 2012 and 2015. Add the rise of Tottenham and the incredible money balloon football has became, these are waters Arsene finds hard to swim in.
There are too many big fishes and it takes adaptation and evolution to survive, which we haven’t done since 2005. What comes next is interesting, because we have kind of become the new Liverpool. We will sell our best players and fade to mediocrity wondering between 5th and 7th and just like them, and until we appoint a new manager this will be the case.
I’d like to finish with the contract rebels on that matter, because they epitomise the entire problem and it’s not money. We can’t sell the project. Players don’t believe in Arsene and they are boycotting him for the first time in his career. For example, he started the Ox against Liverpool, when he’ll be 90% sold after turning down a new contract. Why did we put Bellerin on the left, when we have a solid new player like Kolasinac eager to prove himself in order to play a guy who’s leaving?
We also dropped a 50 million pound striker, who scored 37 goals last year in order to play the likes of Mesut Ozil who is really strong in words on social media, but an absolute waste on the pitch. Even with Alexis work ethic it’s impossible to win, when your midfield cannot create anything up front and doesn’t bother helping out a leaky defence. Hell, if we had Messi in the squad we’d still not win, when we can’t scrape three passes under pressure and look like conceding on every attack.
Arsene usually surrounds himself with spineless players like Theo, who won’t get a better salary nor a better team with their level of play and so they back Arsene, but I think nobody believes in him now. We’ve conceded 8 goals in 3 games. Think about that. I haven’t looked at statistics, but I think only West Ham are worse.
There’s been enough proof for a very long time that he has to go. Sadly, it will be in the worst way possible, because things will not improve dramatically to the scale where we can compete unless he goes. It’s been 3 games into the season and our away fans are singing “we’re sh!t” on their way home.
Banners or no banners, it doesn’t matter. Arsene broke everything and even if it takes the whole 2 years, he’s a dead man walking. So where are his followers now? Where’s Budd, Kev and all the people who label me negative in the comments and so on? The so called “REAL” Arsenal fans which apparently I’m not? It’s easy to support the team when you win, how about acting now when the team most needs it’s fans to help an old man retire? Will you do it? Change has to come from us. We’ve waited long enough for somebody else to serve it on a plate.