Are Arsenal’s failures in big games simply down to mental issues?

Arsenal ended the year in the Top Three as usual, but they are now very far behind the current leaders Chelsea and are unlikely to get much closer before the end of the season, and the reason for this is clear – The Gunners just cannot win big games against the other five teams in the top end of the table. Here is our record this season so far….

August 14 vs Liverpool (H) – lost 3-4
September 24 vs Chelsea (H) – won 3-0
November 6 vs Spurs (H) – drew 1-1
November 19 vs Manchester United (A) – drew 1-1
December 18 vs Manchester City (A) – lost 1-2
February 4th vs Chelsea (A) lost 1-3

5 points from 6 matches!
And our solitary win against Chelsea!

So why can’t Arsenal beat the Big Guns? Many of the fans have taken to blaming Arsene Wenger, but the Gunners legend Thierry Henry thinks that it is not the manager, or even the players! He thinks it is a mental problem, like some sort of inferiority complex? Henry said: “Personally, I think Arsene shouldn’t leave,” Henry said. “Should he change tactics or his way of doing things? I don’t know if he’s ready to do that. But the work he has to do right now is difficult, because it’s work on the mental side of things.

“Tactics help, but what I saw [in Saturday’s 3-1 loss] against Chelsea, it’s a mental problem. It’s what I’ve seen for a little while now. That’s where Arsene’s work is really difficult, because it’s a mental problem. It’s not easy to handle.

“Arsenal haven’t won the title for 12 years, and you get the impression they maybe won’t win it this season. I think there’s quality in the team. Is there enough to win the title? At the start of the season, when you look at Chelsea and Arsenal on paper, there’s not an enormous difference. So, that means it’s possible.

“If Chelsea are ahead, Arsenal can also do it. But to do that, you have to be at it every day. You have to be good in training all the time. You have to get stuck into yourself from time to time. I think the Arsenal players aren’t aware of what they could achieve. There comes a time when you have to believe in your chances of winning. It takes looking after yourselves, auto-discipline within the squad.”

So why have we got this mental block? Should we really blame the manager, or do the players themselves lack belief? And it is easy for Henry to say that Wenger needs to work this out, but I have read that he has brought in a “mind coach” already this season. I think whoever it is is certainly not working and should be quickly replaced by someone who can do the job properly.

What do you think? Is it simply a mental problem?



  1. Break-on-through says:

    I remember when our former great players from abroad arrived and they spoke about how in training it was a bit of a shock with how hard Arsenal players went into challenges, they said it was the same treatment they’d expect playing a rival team that really wanted the win. I remember Henry saying how Adams Keown used to leave something on him and then tell him it’s for his own toughness. Arsene groomed too many of these one’s we have now, they didn’t have the right influence within the side, if they’d have had that they might have turned out much better. Allot of the one’s we brought in were of similar mold to what we had. We need to start selling some players, I wont mention which players as we all have ideas. Then we need to start targeting, tall, powerful players, and are vocal and can also play a bit.

  2. Fatboy Gooney says:

    Surely everyone knows that It’s a mental issue??
    The teams mentality is as frail and timid as Wenger’s shove on the fourth official.(Weak)

  3. Fatboy Gooney says:

    its no coincidence that our wheels started to wobble as soon as we went top of the league(a few months ago) and even though that lead lasted for less than 24 hours, it still effected our Bottlers, just like it did the previous year and the many before that.
    The teams mentality is obviously very fragile and the winning belief fades and dies quicker than a West Ham bubble and that’s all thanks to Mr Wenger and his delusional out dated ‘panicky’ indecisive ways.
    And wtf is Steve Boulds job exactly? ? I thinks it’s to help Wenger get through a packet of Wrigleys chewing gum on match days… That’s all I ever see him doing, in the dugout.

  4. proffetic says:

    Of course it’s Wenger’s problem. That’s why he get’s paid 8 mill a year. Do you hear any other boss telling their team that they are fatigued and not prepared for the challenge. Football or any sport is 90% in the head. When Arsenal played Chelsea at the weekend did anyone really believe that we would actually win! When was the last time Wenger made a positive prediction that turned out right. When he runs out of things to say,he tells us how many great players he nearly signed. Including the two years that Griezman had spent on the club’s radar. How much longer do we have to listen to this rubbish.

  5. RSH says:

    Craig Burley never afraid to tell the truth

    Great rant, all truth, but I do wonder if board really does care how much fans stamp their feet, but it’s better than the silence and acceptance every year.

  6. ger burke says:

    it is down entirely to wengers mentality, or madness, if you like .the madness of the specialist in failure.

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