Now I know Arsenal have won lots of trophies, and won many fantastic games, but do you think we have always lacked that killer instinct since the days of the Invincible, and that ability to see out a game to the end? I dread to think how many points we have thrown away after leading in games just this season, never mind in previous years.
And do you remember us always dreading going to play Stoke City when Tony Pulis was their manager? Wenger used to hate the man, and they way he got his players to get in our faces and try to bully our players. Tony Pulis himself was talking about it this week on a podcast with Peter Crouch from the BBC. He said: “I always want angles to get players motivated, to put fire into their bellies and something for the supporters to feed off,”
“When Wenger first said it, called us a rugby team, it was the third time on the bounce we had beaten them at home.
“He was avoiding the question of how could a team with much less talent than Arsenal, who don’t spend anywhere near as much as Arsenal, who haven’t got the facilities and capabilities of Arsenal, keep beating Arsenal.
“Patrick Vieira told me at a coaching conference: ‘We used to hate going to Stoke. You were the only club that Wenger actually talked about and worked on before. We just couldn’t beat you’.
“Wenger came one year and complained about the grass being too long. He wrote a letter to the FA.
“The referees and the linesmen had to come and measure the grass. I know he talked about banning throw-ins and saying they shouldn’t be allowed. That was all music to our ears.”
Wenger definitely had a blind spot when it came to Stoke, that’s for sure. But as I mentioned earlier, we have a habit of bottling games when we are in front. Remember that unbelievable game when we threw away a 4-0 lead over Newcastle? Gael Clichy does, as he was playing that day, and he told Premier League Productions: “Yeah but this was typical Arsenal.
“We could go anywhere and play anyone off the park then all of a sudden we could crumble in just a few minutes.
“We were young, we had plenty of talent but people were talking about what we were missing and maybe that was a bit of experience.”
“We had that team but even today’s team they have that quality to score four goals in 10 minutes,” added Clichy.
“Don’t ask me why Arsenal have always been able to do this, but they can also even today concede goals for fun.
“That was one of our weaknesses of the time, the long ball, the set pieces and getting physical.
“But that shows you what type of team we were, an amazing team but we lacked character if you want.
“Even with a lead of three goals, we could feel the fans pushing and the second goal I could feel that it was going to be difficult [to win].”
So perhaps it was that mentality in the team, that we could be beaten at any time, that stopped Arsenal winning more trophies or dropping down the table when it mattered. As Clichy said, we can do it nowadays as well, like not finishing Fourth last season. Do you think that Clichy is right? Have we always been known as bottlers?