Sometimes in football a phrase or an idea about any club or certain players can take hold and become accepted as truth rather than the opinion of some people and that is certainly true of Arsenal. The way that our season’s tend to go down the same route maybe makes it easy for pundits and critics to roll out the same old lines and it can be hard to deny when you are sick of seeing your team suffer the same old problems year after year.
We have the theory about Mesut Ozil being lazy and even though the stats show the German covers more ground than most his body language and languid style of play does make him easy to criticise. Probably the most frequent finger pointed at the Gunners over the last decade, however, is the idea that we lack leaders on the pitch.
Arsenal have never replaced Patrick Vieira adequately, they say, and particularly the way he led his teammates, but the man himself has added his voice to the debate, as reported by The Mirror, and it will probably surprise you to hear our former captain claim that Arsenal do have plenty of leaders in the dressing room. It is players that have perhaps a bit more fight than they have talent that the former midfielder insists the current squad could do with a few more of.
He said, “The current Arsenal team, of course they want to win games. You don’t go onto the field not wanting to win. It’s just that the characteristic of the players is different now than it used to be before.
“I’m not one to say our generation was better than this generation. It doesn’t make sense to compare the two generations because we are in a different period. The quality of the players are completely different.
“The team in our generation were more physical but this generation are better football players – there’s no doubt about that. So the balance is what Arsenal need to find.
“If you look at Arsenal today I really enjoy watching them play, they play some really good football – but that is not enough to win football matches or to win competitions. But in our time we were winning and we had the strength to not play well but somehow manage to win the game 1-0.
“But you’re not going to tell me Ozil is not a leader? You’re not going to tell me Sanchez is not a leader? You’re not going to tell me Petr Cech is not a leader. There’s leaders in the team to challenge and they have the experience to win matches.
“But I think it’s just the balance between players are different. If you look at our time, we managed to win games but sometimes we didn’t play well. But we had this physicality to deal with certain situations.
“Now they are playing well, playing some really good football but they don’t win. So that means the balance between physicality and technical creativity maybe needs to be looked at.”
With this in mind and with a couple of days of the summer transfer window left, what can Wenger do to restore the balance and make Arsenal winners again?