Arsene Wenger – The Good, The Bad…..and the alternatives

Should this be Arsene Wenger’s last season at Arsenal FC? by PH

There may be no greater opportune moment to snatch an elusive Premier League title than the current season… when Chelsea completely stuttered under Jose Mourinho, when Manchester United’s problems are not simply a question of management, when Manchester City struggle with motivation knowing Manuel Pellegrini will not be there in a matter of months and when the winning formula continues to escape Liverpool.

Considering the difficulties endured by other members and past members of the so- called ‘Big Four’, Arsenal should – in theory and on paper, at least – top the table.

But they’re not – and they are not even close. Leicester City deserve credit for sustaining their game to game success and Tottenham Hotspur will also have attracted neutrals for their attack-happy approach and focus on youth development.

But you would not be surprised to see Arsenal finish third, behind Leicester and Spurs, who deserve to be where they are on merit.

This season could have been Arsenal’s. A time to capture a glorious title before an anticipated City and Chelsea resurgence next year. Many of the Arsene Knows brigade are turning… and some have already joined the Wenger Out protests, so should this be the Frenchman’s last season at the Emirates Stadium helm?

The Good…

Arsene Wenger has been synonymous with one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.

No longer will historians admire Herbert Chapman’s revolutionary WM formation and the relentless league wins of the 1930s teams, the hip 1971 double-winning Gunners or the George Graham defence of the early 1990s that inspired an iconic British film.

As Wenger gave Arsenal the Invincibles, Thierry Henry, a title win at White Hart Lane, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, back-to-back FA Cups and Alexis Sanchez.

But is that enough?

The Bad…

Wenger’s stubbornness in the transfer market has frustrated ever-growing sections of the club’s fan-base.

Arsene claims Arsenal do not need a striker yet should they have signed players they failed to – Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala or Luis Suarez – then one can’t have imagined them floundering against the likes of Swansea City, Hull City (in the first FA Cup fifth round match) and Southampton.

There also seems to be a psychological barrier… Wenger just cannot get wins at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, and Arsenal were even decisively beaten by the worst performing Chelsea side in years.

Arguably the poorest United team of the last 25 years also turned them over recently.

It’s just not good enough for an elite-level manager.

The Ugly…

This is where it goes from bad, to worse. But Wenger’s fitness record is woeful and bordering on incompetent. The club jump from one injury crisis to another and as the problems recorded are mostly muscular, it suggests the issues could have been prevented.

Wenger bungled the handling of Sanchez’s return earlier in the season and the introduction of fitness guru Shad Forsythe two years ago has failed to remedy the situation.

If Arsenal had a fully fit squad, like Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur or even Manchester City have had the benefit of for large parts of the season, then Wenger’s fortunes may have been different.

The alternatives…

If Wenger does not land the Premier League title it may be regarded as one of his greatest failings. There may be no better invitation for the board to call his time to an end and usher in a new era.

It’s not like there are no alternatives.

Wenger indicated earlier this season that if it became apparent that there were other candidates who could manage Arsenal in a superior fashion than he has done, then he would leave.

Has that time arrived?

What about Guangzhou R&F boss Dragan Stojkovic, former Nagoya Grampus Eight chief? Or other managers speculatively-linked to the position like current assistant Steve Bould, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Diego Simeone or even Carlo Ancelotti?


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Updated: March 15, 2016 — 6:24 am


  1. Wengers team talk for tomorrow = lads

    1. Wenger couldn’t do the impossible against watford

      yet wants his boys to do that against Barca

      RidicuLe of the year!

      1. The guy is more than ever deluded. When somebody can’t question himself anymore it’s time to move on. But the board won’t sack, he won’t sack himself, i guess we have to suffered few more years (ps: forgive me if my english is not so good).

  2. football is a game of fine margins. coq was out for 2 months and teams blew through our middle (root cause: wenger didnt buy cdm backup in summer, using flam/arteta).

    what kind of person would offer arteta & flam an extension? sub flam on at barcelona? expect giroud to lead us to a PL win?

    of all wenger’s sins, though, if there was one i could choose to remedy, its the injuries situation. whatever he is doing, or is the ground hard, or he plays players when they arent fully fit: it has to be something in him. we get new players (ozil,sanchez,..) and they come here and then they get injured more than they used to at their old clubs.

    its sad, i used to like him . but absolute power corrupts — absolutely.

  3. As Tuco said “When you have to shoot, shoot; don’t talk”
    Wenger never stopped talking!

  4. The supporters want football, not moneyball. #KroenkeOut

    1. 60,000 capacity every game
      and 90,000 on the season
      ticket waiting list would
      suggest otherwise.

      1. Well let’s just roll over and take it then shall we!?

  5. The time to move him on was 5 years ago, but people had hope and they gave him time, but nothing can erase the humiliation any more. It’s time for a change.

  6. In my view, the biggest thing I hold against Wenger of today is conservatorism, not willing to adapt for absolutely every game. Would solve even the rotation problem (something he’s also very bad at) and no one will have the easiest task to counter the “Wenger way”.
    I am not going to jump any Wenger out wagon (and I will do the same for every manager we will have) that’s just thrash talk and it will not achieve anything (look at Chelsea, Liverpool or Villa who changed managers in the middle of the season). I also believe the 4th spot is in trouble but for this season it won’t matter because cards are already dealt in the TV rights money. United got more money than us even finishing behind us and Liverpool even more for being like what? 7th?
    I would wake up in the morning to watch the game. I can take any result, even a catastrophe (and the signs tend to go this way unless Barcelona already see this in their pocket and will play in the second gear) but it will clarify everything. Shame going out of two competition (although UCL was not really on the table when we drew BArcelona) and the thing that we have to go to Liverpool to play Everton. Now that’ll be fun to watch.

    1. Ive always admired what Wenger has done for the club but I cant help but think now that he has plotted his own demise not least of all by his lack of flexibility and his resolout stobborness in the transfer window, how things may have been different had he gone out last summer and got a world class striker and a defensive midfielder to really bolster up what we have, he resolutly refused and its become apparent that he was very very wrong yet still he calls speculation about his future “a farce”.
      I read that he could yet walk at the end of the season and that he was to be allowed to plot his own departure with a skilled replacement apparently he wanted Guardiola.
      Well he’s even ballsed that up as Pep has now gone forever.
      I think in my own mind the real creime he’s committed against the fans in particular is to keep blowing the boards trumpet for them without acctually saying he is
      if he genuinely wanted to win trophies rather than just turn a profit then he should have told the board,”give me the money to make this team what it could be or else Im leaving” the board would have sh!t thier pants at that point and given him the means to produce a team worthy of the past glories he has amassed. Yet he just played the boards game and now show nothing but contempt for his increasingly frusterayed fans.
      He’s not played straight with us and continuously rolling out the same excuses and then getting shirty and acting like all gooners are idiots when they fail to accept the well worn excuses is to my mind synonymous with nothing but contempt for the loyalty that the fans have shown over the years.
      THIS besides all the missed opportunities and fluffed seasons and high expectations and low delivery is the real crime he’s committed and its the one that I really cant forgive personally.
      BUT if he goes who comes in ? Like for like? the board wont want anyone who wants to spend millions on revamping a team they will replace him with another like minded manager and perhaps things could be even worse than they are now just look at Newcastle and how they have fallen who in their right mind would want to be them?

      1. I totally agreed with you. I’ve always said to my friends that if AW really had the fans best interests and to wanted to win trophies, he would have give an ultimatum to the board, to make avalaible the funds in order to make proper transfers or else he leaves. But he plays along with the board, earned his 8 millions / year and continues to talk nonsense to the fans. The sad thing is the fact that despite that a large majority of the fans is loyal to him and treat him like some kind of god

    2. Well is good to hear that Budd is finally seeing the light, he is getting there, deep inside he also wants WENGER out…. Agree that WENGER should finish the season and end what he started, from all previous seasons when he found justifications and excuses to not make it, this one should stick to him, it was up for grabs and once again he failed… the examples of changing Managers mid season, Chelski would be in the relegation zone if it was not for Hiddink, Liverfool, well you need to give KLOPP sometime to build, Villa were doomed from the start…….Leicester regardless how they finish, must end this Myth that WENGER could not make it cuz financial restraints… the worse time ARSENAL had ten times more funds available than Leicester that 2 seasons ago was on the Championship League….it’s all about the Manager.

      1. Can you read? Where did I say I am a Wenger out trooper? That does not stop me criticise him and this site is full of critics made by me to Wenger. Basically after each game and that includes ones we somehow won.

  7. Steve Bould?!…we’d rather sign Donald Trump

  8. Believe it or not if this sick trend continues Arsenal will b the biggest club in london
    westham are getting a big stadium spurs are expanding with money and better coaches with them players might turn to them in future

    if wenger stays i m sure ozil won’t sign new contract bcoz his reaction in the matches tells u how he gets annoyed with our strikers

    1. I was thinking the same thing regarding Ozil, i think he force a transfer this summer if Ronaldo moves to PSG Ozil will folow

  9. 1997-2004 Arsenal and Man U
    dominate English football.
    2004 Mourinho comes to Chelsea.
    Chelsea Wins 2 titles.
    Now Man U and Chelsea relegate
    Arsenal to 3rd in the pecking order.
    Wenger retreats into a parallel universe
    ignoring the dominance of Utd and Chelsea
    + pretends Ferguson and Mourinho do not exist.
    2008 Man City bought by Abu Dhabi group
    and Arsenal is pushed down to 4th place.
    2011 Kroenke becomes majority shareholder
    and Wenger gladly accepts the new
    goal which is to make the top 4 saving him from facing
    the harsh challenge of competing for the Premiership.
    Its a perfect match 4th place Owner and 4th place manager.
    March 14th – 2016 The weakest League season ever
    but Arsenal slip 11 points behind nobody team Leicester.
    April-May 2016?

    1. City slips 12 points behind nobody team Leicester. United? Chelsea the champions? Spuds? Still 5 points. Why is that people are so disrespectful to the actual leaders today? Anyone would love to be in their position. And I don’t think anyone can stop them.

      1. Leicester’s results have been
        amazing don’t get me wrong
        I am in awe of what they
        have achieved so far.
        But I reckon they have absolutely burgled it and will
        get relegated next season unless they recruit strongly.

      2. Other teams’ failures is not a a valid excuse

        1. Excuse for what? It is just an answer to the points saga. It could have been anyone but Chelsea the champions takes the cake. From where this belief that Arsenal have the divine right to win when other better struggle? We don’t play alone this league.

          1. We don’t play alone indeed, but other teams’ failures is no excuse for us to play bad as well. Any failure is – a failure, regardless of us having company or not in the failure squad. The only difference from last year is that this year has been without any clear favourites or dominant teams. The top team this season leads with 8p ahead of number two, yet their average point per game ratio lands them on ~80p, which is very low.

            You shouldn’t say “From where this belief that Arsenal have the divine right to win when other better struggle?” But “From where is this belief that Arsenal are excused for being rubbish when the other usual top4 teams are equally or more rubbish?”

            I get it though… this is according to kroenke not a failure. He’s still making his profit.

          2. I don’t see absolutely anyone excussing Arsenal for being rubbish. It is a fact. And you don’t have to read it here only. Everyone is saying it.

          3. Budd back to his old self, defending Wenger’s failures as always. Where could Arsenal be if only the deluded on strengthened the weakened positions in the team? The whole world knew about this and if Wenger did the obvious and strengthened, these failures would never occur or if they occur, the blames wouldn’t have been directed to him. Coz the whole world could see that the old man tried. But he keeps flamini and Arteta as backup for Coq, Giroud still our main striker, Per still in the team and worse of all our beloved captain, same tactics, same formations, favoritism, fourth place target, and Wenger still in charge

    2. So was Arsenal right to keep
      Wenger and adopt the
      4th place model?
      The answer is yes.
      Ferguson was too smart
      Chelsea and City were too rich.
      Arsenal believed Chelsea City and Utd
      would one day collapse and Arsenal would return to the top
      This season this has happened Chelsea collapsed
      Utd has stuggled while City is fading.
      But Arsenal has not been able to reassert dominance.
      Now Leicester leads the table from Spurs.
      Should Arsenal continue with Kroenke,
      Wenger and the 4th place model?
      The past 12 years would say yes… for now.
      Even if Leicester win the title? Yes.
      Even if Spurs win the title? Mmmmm?

      1. From a financial point of view? Definitely. Trophy wise and glory? Not really.

      2. One of the key strategies of AFC during the last decade was the supposition that FFP would cut the legs out of both City and Chelsea which our board and most tellingly Wenger thought would “level the playing field”
        but it didn’t and as many thought during this period FFP would either die on the vine or the big financial giants would find ways to bypass it.
        In any case the fact is that since silent stans purchasing of the majority shares the club has become just a money making machine for the board and Wenger and a collateral asset for Kroenke.
        We have a majority shareholder who does NOT invest in the club as he cares not a jot about football glory
        Kroenke is the devil in this scenario Wenger is just one of his little imps
        More fool you Arsene you’ve destroyed your own legacy

      3. “Should wenger continue” is irrelevant for as long as kroenke is still the one making the calls..

        Kroenke should leave because of “moneyball>football”, and wenger should leave because of years of “financial insufficiency” as an excuse, then Leicester happens.

    1. Not yet!… It will take months, just to pack his books …
      Some of Wengers favourites:
      “Limited edition – Specialist in failure – Excuses from A~Z”
      “You win some – you lose the rest”…
      ” Money talks- Trophies walk”
      “Stability and cohesion for the deluded”
      ” The art of spending, without spending”
      ” D.I.Y.. How to paper over cracks”

  10. Wenger is turning arsenal into failures.
    Despite recieving the highest matchday incomes and being the 7th richest club in the world we are still specialists in failure.

    We have one of the worsts strike forces in the league.
    There are well over a dozen strikers better than giroud walcott and welbeck.
    We have one of the worst defender in the league.
    Almost 20 defenders in the league are better than mertesacker.
    We have some of the worst wingers amongst the top ten clubs.

    ox and walcott are nowhere near arsenal quality.

    And the worst philosophies.
    Beatiful football
    4th place trophy

    Not competitive at all

  11. I do not understand Kronke’s comments reported in the media. He seems to say he is not in this to win trophies but to grow the “arsenal brand”. Fans accepted selling best players and top four finish when stadium debt had to be paid off. Now however a top four finish is not good enough for us fans.

    Fan loyalty is a fickle thing. No mater how much we love AFC, if fans feel it is controlled by someone who is taking them for a ride by charging high ticket prices and delivering underwhelming performances with no fight, grit, determination then fans will be unwilling to pay the high prices for tickets and merchandise. Less fan support means also means less advertising and TV money.

    We have had many missed opportunites earlier this season in PL and a terrible run of 14 games with 5 losses, 5 draws and four wins with two of those wins against championship sides. This is not good enough, Kronke has to act, otherwise his investment will take a nose dive.

    1. Kroenke doesn’t have to act at all. He owns the largest stake holding of shares in the club (he paid money to do so). Now he gets a say in the way things are run (if he wants, which I don’t think he does as he seems to leave it to gazidis/Wenger). He has with his company ( KSE LLC) pulled £3 million from Arsenal funds for strategic and advisory services which relate to Arsenal’s broadband division, the media department which raises funds by selling a three-hour block of weekly content to the lucrative international market.

      This £3 mil ‘would’ have tallied nicely with the proposed and then dropped 3% ticket price hike!!!!

      So not only does Stan, not put into the club, he has no problem in taking money out under the pretence of ‘providing services’.

      The man needs to go

      1. The point I was making is that growing the brand needs success on the field. No success, fans feel they are being ripped off, revenue from ticket sales and merchandise falls, advertising revenue falls, share price falls, kronke loses money. Thats why I feel he will act. I agree he does not have to act, it is his money to lose if he wants to.

  12. Another read on same subject:


    Talking of replacements is daft. We don’t get to decide but if you wanna help get Stan and Wenger out you can do things to help make it happen.

    More to come..

    1. This needs more publicity among arsenal supporters

  13. Honestly i think even if u give Wenger the current Barca, Juve, Bayern or PSG he wil ruin both the team and players to become just average. David Moyes, Goran Ericsson, Wenger, and the current England coach are ‘pastor’ coaches. Give them an alter and they can deliver a hard hiting football sermon. Give them a team and you already know the end product. Mourinho, Guadiola and company dont care about your club calture or cult heroes. The coach for trophies and their CVs!

  14. “Everybody raves about Koscielny. He’s the
    best centre back at Arsenal but he’s not a
    great centre back in my opinion, he never
    has been.”
    “I think that’s always been evident, he
    [Wenger] has not managed to fill in the
    gaps that Arsenal need filled in.”
    Charlie nicholas

  15. There are so many issues that the memory fades from many of them, however I always thought the Suarez debarcle was one of the worst,
    Regardless of if Suarez was an “Arsenal Player” or not noone can doubt that he would have scores all of the goals that welbeck, Walcott and Giroud have missed and scored a number on top of that had he played for the AFC, the problem came with the desultory bid of $6 million plus a pound, this was always going to get right up the liverpool owners nose and was an insult from the offset in my mind this was done deliberately by Wenger and the board in order to say to the AFC fans that “well we tried to get him but….” knowing full well that they were never really serious about it and also blowing the Higuian deal in the process.
    Smoke and mirrors as has been the case on many other player acquisitions over the years.
    The final straw for me was giving Walcott a new deal and a pay rile when the boy should have been sold three seasons ago. Oh and buying in Wellbeck (who has the heart of a lion) but the ability of a four year old child.
    we’ve been conned and lied to ever since Kroenke came in and probobly before that I mean it was the board that sacked dein for suggesting foreign investors like Kroenke, then the board welcome him with open arms when they realise how much money they can make without having to do too much or spend anything

  16. I think it’s time for wenger to resign and let’s have some new and fresh ideas, tactics and some one whose is ready to motivate the players. Cus I know they won’t sack him.

  17. Kroenke is an ar…e but his biggest problem as an owner is not being stingy nor not splashing millions to acquire new players, his biggest flaw is not making WENGER accountable

    1. He does. Wenger is accountable to deliver profit. And he never fails to do that.

      1. Yes, coz 8m a year with no pressure to deliver, is the best job ever on planet earth

  18. Wenger should go. I think he’s always given a transfer kitty of at least £50M but he just can’t spend it in the right way. The guy bought Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck, Chambers, Debuchy, Cech and many others howeverit wasn’t in one window.

    For someone that can spend around £43M on one player, then I think funds are availed to him.

    For example, would Kroenke refuse Wenger to sell Giroud and Walcott who take £270k a week and replace them with other players like Mahrez who could demand like £100k a week? How much does Dybala earn at Juventus? I bet it’s less than Walcott’s. What of Morata, Icardi etc how much do they earn.

    Wenger’s problem is sticking with players who can’t deliver to the required level yet there are some not so expensive options that can deliver. Add that to his analogue(stone age) tactics, he becomes a complete disaster.

  19. Ranieri
    If he can turn Leicester into title contenders or maybe champions
    Think what he can do with Arsenal

    1. And to think he has no money that Wenger had, achieved what Wenger failed for a decade.

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