Is this why Arsenal stars don’t perform for Wenger?

With Leicester City one step closer to doing what many people thought Arsenal were going to do at the halfway stage of the season and win the Premier League, which they will do tomorrow if Tottenham fail to win away at Chelsea, a lot of focus has fallen on Claudio Ranieri and how the Leicester boss kept his team going at different stages of the season and not succumbing to the pressure and the expectation the way that Arsenal did.

I read an interesting point of view this week by one of the players from the Chelsea women´s team in a BBC report, which includes a comparison between Ranieri and Arsene Wenger and suggests a possible reason why the Arsenal fans do not see the best from the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud on a consistent basis.

Eniola Aluko put forward the theory that Wenger is too soft on the Arsenal players, claiming that although Ranieri backs his players in public he can be ruthless behind closed doors and even their top stars like Riyad Mahrez are aware that their place in the starting line up is not secure.

She wrote, “Ranieri is a great example of how the psychology of a manager is tantamount to the performance of the players and although it’s a contrasting case, I think it’s also evident with the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

“Here is a team cast as perennial runners-up to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, and yet in a season where they have all faltered, Leicester and Tottenham have usurped the Gunners relegating them to their usual fight for fourth place.

“Their plight reminds me of a cutting message that our manager Emma Hayes delivered after we lost 4-0 to Sunderland last season. After an unbeaten first half of our season, she was concerned complacency may stuff up a title challenge for a second consecutive season so she reminded us of a quote which said: “The first mistake is a lesson, the second is a choice”.

“Successful managers have to be ruthless in ridding their team of complacency and while Ranieri has backed his team publicly all season, there have been several stories proving that he doesn’t indulge his players. I’m not sure the same can be said of Wenger.

“You can’t tell me that Arsenal’s squad is weaker than Leicester’s yet there is a psychological barrier which I think emanates from the manager. They seem to lack backbone in pressure games each season and yet Wenger seems to let his team get away with it. Is he challenging the players psychologically in the dressing room or just allowing them to make the same mistakes?”

What do you think Gooners? Is this the reason why our performances, both as a team and individually, have been so inconsistent? Or is Wenger just a different sort of manager to the hairdryer type and our problems lie elsewhere?

Tags Leicester Ranieri


  1. I agree with the assessment that there is no backbone to this Arsenal team..there hasn’t been for a few years now..A lot is down to the type of players we have in the squad..I.E. smaller and more technically gifted players than we has during the invincibles time. We have no Adams, Bould, McKeown, in Vierra, or Petit dominating midfield..we have changed our style of play and philosophy towards winning..and it doesn’t we had to sell our best players for a number of years to pay for the new stadium..fair enough..but that’s no excuse for a failed strategy to be repeated over and over again, giving the same result..So who is to blame? The players? the manager? the board? For me it’s a mix of all three..1/ The board allow the manager to do whatever he wants, instead of managing the manager..2/ The manager selects his team, not on form but he selects his favourites, 3/ The players are not chastised for their failings, or motivated to do better, they are allowed to get away with being moderate..In essence, Wenger is a friend and ally to his players when he should be their boss.. Footballers are employees who are very well paid to do a job..The manager is also an employee who is very well paid to do a job..but at Arsenal..everyone seems happy for this not to be the case. Tell me another club where the manager with Wengers record over the past 10 years would not have been sacked.. Tell me another manager who would continue to start Giroud in his current form..or have Walcott on the bench etc. etc. There isn’t one.. The comparison between Ranieri and Wenger is a fair one..and is in my on.

    1. We had Coquelin, Sanchez, Gabriel, Koscielny and Campbell who never gets tired of being fouled or challenged, we had he players to withstand physical pressure but the manager’s poor selection policy and lack of good tactics are what ruin this squad’s mentality. It’s evident, no matter who we bring in the player will eventually lose their motivation under Wenger. I remember Chamberlain running past 3-4 defenders for fun against the likes of City and Chelsea when he was still new, but now he can’t even run past one, likewise Sanchez was all over the field creating chances when we first signed him but now he’s been restricted to the left to accommodate a severely limited striker. It’s clear the manager doesn’t know how to utilize his players to the best of their ability and it’s hurting the team because it makes them start to lose faith in him. In addition, Wenger’s rotation policy is criminal to say the least, he always sticks with the same line-up even when the players are in terrible form, that sort of favouritism will only hurt the dressing room, because eventually players that are being wrongfully excluded from the squad will stop playing for the manager and in worst case scenario the other players will have the isolated player’s back and unite against the manager. A manager should learn to rotate players according to their form and should know how to use the right tactics against every opponent, unfortunately Wenger is no longer able to do either of these which is why we always appear to have no back bone. His limited ability and lack of desire to win has affected the players’ mentality, in the modern day you need the hunger and desire of Simeone or Pochetino to win big, Wenger being nice to players may keep them playing consistently but at the same time it also keeps them from wanting to play better.

    2. lets not point guns at wenger yes he is too simple on players but why dont we look at players who are not arsenal quality d players who dont know the value of being at a big club like arsenal talking of giroud who on average scores 13.6 goals per season and yet you have the best midfielders in the league and probably the best number 10 in the world who creates 400 chances of scoring goals and you utilize only 13.6. on every 10 chances created for you, you only use 1 or even none if i were orzil i wouldnt still have the morale of creating more. just imagine i wont even say aguero coz he is proven, let me say jarmie with mesut dis season he would be having 50 goals. there limited chances when a team takes the league and its main striker is not among the top three in the score sheet or even number one. so arsene wenger should leave aside giroud being french or keeping his french reputation and fire olivier giroud and brings us a striker of arsenal quality, defensive midfielder adding on lecoq plus elneny and a central defender if at all we are to be successful. but we cry every year abt a striker and all wenger tell us he will improve so dis going upto wen ???????????????

  2. Is there anyone in football who don’t know this?….a case study is Arshavin’s comments a few months ago…after throwing away a 4 goals first half lead and drawing Arshavin said he was scared of going into the dressing room cos he thought the manager will have everybody’s heads….he said he.was gobsmacked nothing happened when the finally got into the.dressing room…..and for the rest of the season….Wenger is all about carrot and no sticks

    1. Under Fergie, even Rafael as petite as he is will not allow a player as big as Crouch a moments rest, that was the spirit of the whole team, they fought and were never intimidated, check out their team sheet in the season before they got RVP from under our noses, most of them were technically average but they had the fight in them. Coquelin, the one fighter we have in our team who would not give Fellaini or any other giant a moments rest on the pitch has been recently relegated to the bench, he even got a bloody nose TWICE last season fighting for the cause, Campbell too has got that fight in him but he is also on the bench, rather we have Giroud and his self esteem issues on the pitch almost all the time, how are we ever going to win anything? As for me, I’ll busy myself with watching the under 18s from next season while I wait for Henry to take over the first team as it seems that’s the only realistic outcome given the current set of realities, Wenger will not go and he will not leave the team to someone without the Arsenal philosophy even when he decides to call it a day, so in the meantime, I won’t get a heart attack or suffer depression from matters beyond even our collective control.

  3. Wenger is weak tactically…

    He doesn’t buy the right players in recent yrs ( I give him credit for the purchase of Ozil, Sanchez, Cech and Santi though)

    He doesn’t manage his players properly. Players don’t get injury that much in their former club’ once they come to Arsenal’, they turn injury prone player. Could it be style of our play or how we train?

    Wenger favours some players a lot and its hurting the team. If you ain’t in form or have been poor, you should be dropped. In his case, some players are certain of starting games no matter how they play.

    Above all, He doesn’t learn from his mistakes. You can’t make the same mistakes over and over again for years and expect magic…

  4. So if Wenger comments on another team he gets told by the media to butt out. So why are we listening to some obscure player in Chelsea’s ladies team? She knows Wenger and Ranieri does she?
    More importantly, do we care what she thinks?

    1. Does her opinion not count because she is a lady, or from chelsea?

      Why should we listen to you or care what you think? Since you seem to like asking vague questions..

      She and others who have optical and cognitive abilities can easily deduce that the self confessed non confrontationalist is not a very good motivator besides his tactical inadequacies and inability to build and forge a PL or UCL winning side in 12 years. Whilst others have..

      Do you need any more evidence or is it pointless directing it at you with your eyes and ears covered?

  5. 4th place is Arsenals goal.
    Winning the league itself
    is much harder and apart
    from Leicester this year all the
    previous winners of the Premier League including
    Arsenal and Blackburn have been rich clubs.
    For 7 years now Arsenal has believed that competing
    for the title is too difficult and too expensive.
    So Arsenal targets 4th place which requires less investment
    a higher chance of achieving the goal so resulting in
    happier fans and far less turn over of players and Managers.
    Teams who target first place have a lower chance of success therefore a
    higher level of fan discontent meaning higher investment and higher Manager turn over.
    90% of the Arsenal fans have bought in or were coerced into the 4th place model
    while the the small minority wanting titles are given short shrift as
    evidenced by the majority turning their backs on the protests on Saturday.

  6. Wenger is fine with not winning and so are his players as a result. I still remember reading quotes from players after Barca easily dispatched of us without even having to go in 2nd gear, saying they were not too upset because they felt they played well. That there tells you everything you need to know.

    Can you imagine any of SAF plasyers saying that after a loss? Or Moureen’s players?

    Wenger prefers his yes boys like Theo and Ramsey and Giroud over players clearly in better form like Campbell and Welbeck. He prefers these players because he is afraid of confrontation and these players don’t question him.

    I don’t consider Wenger a great player manager. In fact looking at players like Arshavin and Sanchez and to a lesser extend Ramsey, he tends to ruin good players by playing them out of their natural positions. Arshavin was a super star when he arrived and was slowly but surely destroid out on the left wing. Look at the decline of Sanchez between this season and last season. All of sudden Wenger claims as a revelation that Sanchez’s best side is the left wing. He played on the left (predominantly) for Barca but was touted by Wenger as a potential striker. Yet even in recent games and with the game on the line Wenger has moved Sanchez back to the left during the second half of his games.

    Sanchez is only 5cm shorter than Aguero and has more talent in his pinky than Giroud can imagine yet Wenger has never really given Sanchez a shot a striker. It would have been worth trying (with a change of tactic), how do we know Sanchez would not bang them in at will like Aguero? If we had tried this in the last 10 games how many Giroud goals would we have sacrificed? Campbell on the right, Sanchez in the middle and Welbeck on the left? What did we have to lose?

  7. Man, lady, girl, boy, cat, dog, no problem just why introduce a Chelsea player to the forum? Next we’ll have an article about how spuds are better than us! Oh wait a minute. . . . .

  8. We’ve only got five players who have made over 30 prem starts: Cech, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Ozil. They’ve all performed relatively consistently. Sanchez & possibly Santi might be in there too as consistent high performers, fitness allowing. This would indicate that players are not assured of a starting place if their performances drop and players are being dropped/rotated; I would point to changes at centreback- Gabriel coming in for Mertesacker & vice-versa, on the wing- Iwobi displacing Walcott/Campbell, central midfield- Elneny displacing Coquelin/Ramsey, up front- Welbeck/Giroud/Walcott competition over the season. Leicester have 8 players who have started over 30 Prem games. In the other 3 positions, the same player has made 26-29 starts. This contradicts what you are saying in the article somewhat, as the example you provided was that “top stars like Riyad Mahrez are aware that their place in the starting line up is not secure.”.

  9. This is not strange because many of us have talked about it before. Arsenal’s problem is exactly that: a manager who believed that he could not compete with the clubs with a lot of money. Thus he resolved to fight for what he could realistically achieve which was being in the top four. This could tantamount to a form of inferiority complex and lack of ambition. Hence when his players lost against the money clubs he would treat them with kid gloves. Now Ranieri has shattered the myth of money winning games. Psychology and team work win games not big money and big name players. Perhaps Wenger will now borrow a cue from that.

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