Mad as a hatter! by Toby
Well it’s been a few years but I’ve decided to dust of the old keyboard and chip in with my tuppence-worth. For those who don’t remember me I was a regular poster on here around the Fabregas era and had many journalistic duals with my then arch nemesis Adam Kemp. I was one of Wenger’s most die hard supporters and always did my best to explain away his apparent stupidity and obscure ways when managing our club.
When things changed for me though was after letting a 4 goal lead slip at Newcastle, what, must be 4 seasons back now. I alluded to a more deeper underlying effect and consequence that match would have, and it appears the chickens have not only come home to roost but taken up permanent residence at the Emirates.
The trouble was with that game (and what I tried to point out at the time) is you simply just don’t get over something like that happening. Never before or since have I ever seen such a superior team in such control of a game demonstrate such a complete collapse of mentality. If memory serves me right it is the one and only time in Premier league history a team has come from 4 goals down to get anything out of a match.
Ok so what’s the relevance? Well ever since that day I’ve always questioned the mentality of the team and the more time that passes and the more players that come through the club the more it becomes clear it’s the managers mentality that’s the issue. We are absolute trend setters when it comes to folding like deckchairs on the pitch. How many times in recent years have terrible teams broken goal droughts or losing streaks against us? How many times has a team won its first game away in Europe or first win away from home all season against us? its ALWAYS AGAINST US!
Put alongside the constant collapses in the first leg of Champions league knock out stages, the constant hammerings by big teams, most notably a season-ending run that led to us shipping 20 goals virtually without reply in just four matches against Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and the Toffees. Throw in the 8-2 against Man United and the League cup calamity against Birmingham and a pattern clearly starts to emerge.
This season is as far as my support for Wenger goes I’m afraid. If a team like Swansea can come to the Emirates at the pointy end of the season and pick up such a cheap 3 points with a weakened team then we really are bang in trouble. Take into account their League position and the fact that they didn’t even take the game seriously by resting half there team for the next game which they considered higher priority – then it looks even worse.
It all goes back to that Newcastle game for me as the day Wenger lost his mentality, never mind the players. I stressed that game would cut deep and leave mental scars and the effects would be permanent if things didn’t change. Unsurprisingly, Wenger hasn’t changed and so here we are. Groundhog day!
On a side note I’ve never been of the view to just throw money at it. The two teams that sit above us in the league make it clear its not just about the money or buying world class players. If more examples are needed just look at Athletico Madrid or Dortmund a few years back to realise you don’t have to financially compete to compete for trophies. If even more examples for the ‘spend spend spend’ fanatics are needed then just look at the blank cheques Man City have been writing for the last decade, and have they managed to make any notable impact on the Champions league?
Its seriously isn’t just about the money, guys, its all about who’s steering the ship. For my tuppence we have had a squad capable of challenging both domestically and in Europe the whole Emirates era, with the attacking players we’ve had at our disposal just about any manager that could defensively organise and setup a team with grit and fight could’ve won something, or at least challenge, with this squad, never mind the relentless cries of who could possibly replace Wenger!!!
The straw that broke my back (never mind the camel’s) was and is the farce that is Joel Campbell. The lad has shone wherever he’s gone and his performances at the last world cup to lead the line and take Costa Rica deep into the competition puts him way above many of our players. My verdict is he is the most fit and in-form and up for it player we have in the squad, and Wenger is bending hell over backwards to keep him away from our starting X1. His creativity and composure on the ball is second only to Ozil and although Giroud bagged a hat trick to get us out of the group stages of the Champions league, Campbell was the star that night and should be starting every game, and I mean every game, no excuses or exceptions.
Wenger has lost the plot with Joel; Wenger has lost the plot with this league; Wenger has lost the plot full stop. Oh and I almost forgot the season the title was almost in the bag when Gallas decided to have a sit down protest on the pitch and the whole team threw in the towel. who the hell is managing these players? its a rhetorical question no need to answer.
Is there a particular day that you remember when you first thought Wenger had lost the plot?