Is Wenger really blind to Arsenal players’ weakness?

We often hear the same thing from Arsene Wenger or various members of the Arsenal squad about mental toughness, team spirit ir the ability to bounce back from a disappointing performance or run of results. And they have done that a few times but on the other hand, it keeps happening.

The Gunners put on another insipid and lacklustre showing at Old Trafford yesterday and it made the pre-match comments from the manager, reported in another Just Arsenal article, when he spoke about the reasons why previous title challenges had faltered but that things were different now.

Wenger said, “‘What is different is that at that time we were losing momentum. This time it’s the opposite. We are chasing and gaining momentum. We have had two difficult games recently but overall the psychological situation is quite different.

‘We were very young at those times, with the famous incident with Gallas at Birmingham. And the mood of some players was to get the next contract somewhere else rather than to win the championship because we had to sell.

‘When we went into April some players were tapped up to go somewhere else and it was difficult to maintain the focus. That’s not the case at the moment.

‘Now we don’t have that problem at all. All the players are focused and want to win and have great solidarity. It’s down to showing how good we are. The psychological situation is completely different. In 2010-2011, we lost it because the spirit was not exactly what it should be because of tap-ups. At the moment, I think on the spirit front we are all right.

‘This is a team that’s very hungry. They want to win and I think they’ve shown that in the FA Cup in the last two years. This team wants to do well and is very conscientious and my job is more to relax them a little bit. They do not look at what happened five years ago, they look at what is in front of them. It’s certainly top, spirit-wise.’

I wonder what he thinks of his players and their spirit today because I did not see much evidence of desire and a determination to win things in that defeat to Man United. Our former striker and current TV pundit Thierry Henry was closer to the mark as he spoke to Sky Sports after the match.

He said, “”That wasn’t the performance of a team who wants to be champions,” said Henry.

“As an Arsenal fan, I’m thinking: ‘Can you show me you can be champions?’ and today they didn’t reassure me on anything. They were second-best in everything. It was a really poor performance.

“Don’t take away anything from Marcus Rashford or Man Utd today but Arsenal had to do more than that. I wanted Arsenal to come here and win well to send a message. You need to learn how to win games when you’re not at the top of your game.

“They’re still in the title race, but as an Arsenal fan, how are you going to feel confident going to Tottenham, to Everton, to West Ham?”

And his co-presenter Graeme Souness was even more scathing about the weakness that the Arsenal players showed.

He said, “Arsenal today bordered on being a joke for me.

“You turn up here, you’re playing a Manchester United side struggling with injuries, introducing young players, low on confidence and you’re thinking it’s tailored-made for a proper team to come here and do a number on an under-strength Man Utd and they didn’t.

“This is an Arsenal team you were saying a month ago was a real team. They’ve got to play Tottenham, Barcelona – by March 16 they could be out of all competitions. Arsene Wenger must be tearing his hair out.

“This Arsenal team just doesn’t have ‘it’ – and I’ll stand on my head if they prove me wrong and go and win this league. That today was totally unacceptable.

“Is it a case of big players going off the boil? Big players make other players play when things are going badly. Who did that today for Arsenal? Where’s a Tony Adams? Where’s a Thierry?

“It worries me that Arsene continually talks about his team being mentally tough – it’s almost as if he’s trying to persuade them. They’re vulnerable. They don’t look like a confident group.

“They had a chance to put down a real marker today and they’ve been so weak, so insipid. If I were an Arsenal supporter I’d be so angry right now. There’s so much about Arsenal to like but – in equal measure – so much to dislike.”

So why does Wenger keep talking up the team spirit? Is he trying to convince the players they have it or is he trying to convince himself? Or has he simply forgotten what it’s really like to be up for the fight?

Tags Henry souness


  1. Can’t come to terms with the fact that Tottenham might actually win the league this season. Pochettino has quietly done a good job on the team in barely 2 seasons in charge. Meanwhile in 12 years, Wenger has told every lie on the book, used up all excuses in the world and fooled us all into believing that the glory days are near,and yet he could even get into the top two.
    If Tottenham win this league, Wenger should be escorted out of the club all the way to France, and he can take his fanboys with him.

    1. I blame the fans for this you buy season tickets help stan take 3m from club plus use idle cash to buy ranch next he will use it to buy fodder for his cattle time for fans to make their voice heard enough is enough

      1. A serious strike should take place man. No buying t shirts, no showing to games, no nothing for at least a week to make them understand ; and its not tto hard:

        – You dont win, you wont get many kids buying toickets or caps…forget about us old fans…we dont buy that any way

        You hearing that Board and shareholdersa?

        You will actually LOSE money!

      2. I haven’t spent money on Arsenal for a few years now, whats the point when it will not go to invest in the team I love?

        I try not to blame Wenger because we all know what it is like to please a boss over doing what you actually want to do, the transfers etc I will not blame Wenger because I do believe Wenger does try…

        Not his fault Ivan Gazidis is stopping him and his boss is more interested in making Arsenal worth more on paper.

        Us fans have the real power and if we stuck together and stopped funding Silent Stans dreams then I would bet my life that something would change.

      3. @leo
        Stan was a billionaire long before he acquired shares in AFC dude. So save the false accusations. Come with something real and concrete…

          1. @leo
            I think you need to read more about who Stan is. Walmart money is not his. He just married into the family. He was rich before that…

    2. If Tottenham wins the League, it will be down to the consistency of their team and brilliance of their manager…

      I asked this question a month ago and i’m going to ask again


      1. Spuds have had easy fixtures. They have 7 though matches in the 11 games remaining. Plus we play them so we have a chance to bring them down. Anyways I would take nothing less than a win at spurs. Overall if you look at the fixtures spuds have the harder games compared to us and Leicester

    3. Wenger’s been bLind since the Last 12yrs

      Lil wonder why he stutters, struts and falls everytime he approaches a winnable game!

  2. It would be a travesty, because it makes a mockery of Arsenal as a club. The fact that we are having to talk about this posibility shows that we have wasted 17 years of continued ECL qualification.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one to notice that Kos and Gab do not have a great partnership currently and Per is good due to his organisational skills.

      So what Per is slow, so was Tony Adams and I never wished him gone.

      1. Adams organised, was a leader and had bottle – you didnt mess with him. Per is the opposite, ducks away from challenges, the tallest on the team but always beaten in the air and POOR positional sense – his blocks have mainly been incidental, he was just standing there or trying to get out of the way

  3. we still have chance we can’t give up. 11 games to go, 33pts to play for but if we don’t win the title need change ASAP someone like joachim low / simmeone would be perfect

    1. We HAVE to fight, it would be unacceptable to see otherwise.
      But even if we win the title, which I really doubt, Wenger needs to go.
      His time is done.
      ;Move up to the board or move back to France, as much as I admire him for what he has done….it is the past nd he is just harming our beloved team.
      He HAS to go.
      ans Arsenal have start working NOW on a replacement because it better be someone EXCELLENT!

    2. I agree on the change, not the manager though, you think the next one will be given hundreds of millions to spend on who-ever he likes?

      The new manager will be told to do “XXXXXXXXXXXXXX” and if he doesn’t then he will be sacked, you think the manager will be like “F*** you Stan, I will spend all the money I want mwhahahahaaa”?

      Some fans have got to wake up sometime.
      Wenger is employed and as such he has targets set by his boss.
      Wenger doesn’t have final say on transfers… Gazidis would have a heart attack if that was the case, Gazidis himself has made a joke about how Wenger doesn’t know the price of a player but only the value he would add to the team.

      As you said above though dude, it is the fans fault for supporting this madness.

      1. A new manager could use the same resources and may b add the most needed players complete the puzzle, where the specialist always fell short, and win the league, Wenger is still in 2004

  4. Another season to take advantage from…another failed attempt.
    Chelsea ManU City all below us, but …now Tottenham above??
    Come on Wenger.

    And I was defending AW but this is clearly a managers fault.

    Who bought these players? Who lines them up? Who gives a speech to them before a game? Whoi doesnt buy backupds for when they are underperforming?

    This was a best shot at the EPL and then leaving with honors. Now he has to leave without them…and believe me, I stand by my usual phrase: who will rreplace wenegr…? dark times ahead; but he has to leave, otherwise times can be even darker tan the dark side of the forcé with Vader playing!

    1. “Who bought these players?”
      Arsenal FC bought the players.
      Gazidis is in charge of the spending.

      Prior to Gazidis Wenger didn’t penny pinch for players, Wenger would pay over the odds if it meant getting his player, this is proven by Nasri who signed a new contract just before Wenger bought him for an inflated price… few months after Gazidis arrives and that type of spending STOPS.

      Your usual phrase is quite right, who would replace Wenger?
      Someone who is even more of a kissass to his boss?

      1. Haven’t you heard when Arsenal management said Wenger is the one in charge of everything? u wana backup ur dad, well he is the failure

  5. I don’t think he is blind. I think he does not want to admit his gamble backfired big time. Make no mistake, this is a crisis bigger than the 2-8 seasons ago. Back then we had a reason and at least we held for 50 minutes pretty well. We had remainings of a team who could have won the title one season before if we didn’t choke as we normally do in February. Truth be told, we all knew Walcott is not the player who deserves 140k a week. We knew that Coquelin is just an accident, and act of desperation which turned out good. We knew that Ozil and Sanchez were not the same for a while. I know Ozil scored but that’s no excusse for the lack of interest in the game. The back passing becomes irritating. Ffs, if you don’t know what to do with that ball then give it away to the opponents box. Defend from there and break a la Leicester. How many times do we have to endure this sterile passing? After our second goal we had almost 30 minutes to play. I don’t remember we took a shot on target during this time. Not a fscking single shot. And don’t start me on Gabriel. This guy is scared to play if there are more than 15.000 people in the stands. Simple as that.
    Look, I respect Wenger and I never abused any of our players or managers but it is turning really pathetic. Obviously, like anyone here, I want us to win the title but my mind is saying that we can’t. We can’t with this display no matter what we do. What next? We maybe beat Swansea and then get beaten by the Spuds? Because in my case there is a limit: do not handle the title to the Spuds. If that happens then Colney must be set ablaze and build barricades on the Fryars’ Bridge. This is unnaceptable for any gooner. It will be no St. Totteringham Day’s in decades, eh Londeners? And all it comes with players happy with the salary they have. Theo Walcott symbolizes everything Arsenal is these days. A mediocre player which we accept for the simple reason that there’s no one better.
    Alright, I wonder what will happen at the Emirates is we don’t win the title this year (and it looks that way). Will we spend big? Will Wenger leave? Will players leave? If all that happens then how many years do we need to wait in order to challenge for the title?
    After game comentary was spot on from Souness : we were pussyfooted, we made no statement of intention and everyone should be mad up there for our shambolic display. Man, 11 games and we need a miracle to just hope! Hope that others will stumble and we can take advantage out of it. But the biggest hope I have is please, please, just beat the Spuds so that they don’t win it. This is something I can’t take lightly.

    1. Budd
      you and I have had our differences in opinion on many issues but I have to say and I mean no disrespect in this, that if your saying it like you are above then we must really be in the the Sh!t!!
      I cant disagree with you on any of the above Ive always respected Wenger for what he has done in the firsty ten years of his time with us but I think for many its being diluted in a massive way as he now seems to be nothing but an unambitious boards Puppet.
      where did it all go wrong with Wenger?
      or was it that he was not the genius we all thought from the offset and just had an excellent network and a brilliant backer in the form of Dave Dein?
      what seems to be clear to me is that Wengers methods and overview of the game are massively outdated and that he has become resolutely stubborn in his approach.
      There is no other team in the world that would tolerate the lack of skill in players like Walcott let alone offer him a new contract and up his money by such a huge amount.
      The sad fact is that Wenger will be going no where but up and that means the situation is not changing at any time in the forseeable I guess we’ve all got to get used to the fact that our club is now a business and the ONLY people that matter are those in the board room.

      1. We are actually as a club right on the brink of a catastrophe that will take years to recover from i find it so ironic and not a little bit stomach turning that the man who did so much for us in the first decade has been so complicit in destroying us in the second decade

      2. “where did it all go wrong with Wenger?”
        In August 2007, David Dein sold his 9,072 shares (14.58%) in the club

        Any long term Arsenal fan knows that Dein and the board didn’t get on well, Dein supported Wenger while the board was more interested in raising there networth.

        Dein knew we needed investment and sold his shares to Ustmanov (Red and White Holdings) and then the board was like;

        “Oh no, we can’t have the club ran by a single individual, we will make an agreement to not sell our shares….. until the prices go way up MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!”

        Where did it go wrong for Wenger? When the greed won over the board and people who care about football are not aloud on it.

    2. @Budd.

      “Look, I respect Wenger..”

      I’ll interrupt you on that one. You don’t just respect Wenger… you basically worship him. At times, when you comment, I feel like it is Wenger behind the keyboard. (lol.. just messing around with ya though).

      But I think I understand your point.This season is pivotal that if we do not win the EPL title the question will be “where exactly do we go from here”. Regardless of what event immediately spirals out of it.

      “Theo Walcott symbolizes everything Arsenal is these days..”

      I agree with the above 110%. We seemed to have just about everything we need to cruise to the title this.. but instead we are crawling and wobbling as if we’ve had the likes of Chelsea and United to contend with, when in fact the opposite has been the case.

      PS: Please, come end of season, we need to replace Theo Walcott with a more reliable striker the manager can absolutely trust to produce consistently.

    3. @ Budd

      Welcome to the real world my friend!
      I guess that the Matrix crew finally payed you a visit and you chose the right colour pill ??

      I was expecting your comment to be delivered whilst you were getting a sun tan from wengers butt!! ?

      You see!… Most fans on here saw this ? arriving long before you smelt it.

      Anyways. .. Well said Budd… I agree with you!

    4. Budd, do you know how people were saying tht we had more days to rest than Man U who played on Thursday? and we still managed to lose big time, to their team B full of reserve players while we had all the guns firing blanks.. a this is Arsenal nowadays, but we will bounce back, as always

  6. the game showed NOTHING!………… Per is useless as is the rest of the bunch…….and we have a deLuded manager Leading the pack…..who thinks we are good enough to grace the club

    u buy mediocrity cheap and expects to reap bountifullly?

    It never happens!

    There’s a big difference btw prudence, negligence and decadence

    1. SOA

      you are right, how petty are many on this site. Did they even watch the game? How could you now turn on Gab but not Kos??? Who has played him sparingly. As a coach I dont expect players to gell when they only play together every few games but thats whats happened. Wait a season then if he stilll is as bad then make your comments.

      However with Wenger, he has proven himself to be a poor manager over the last 14 years, his track record is for all to see.

  7. It will be a disgrace for us if Spurs or Leicester win.
    Leicester will win it in their first season or Spuds winning will be humiliating for us
    Wenger has had well over a decade to build a winning team but being extremely stubborn with his financial philosophy and team building philosophy has put us in this situation

    I’ve said this a hundred times: Wenger didn’t get a single outfielder this past summer let alone a top striker or Dm. In a sense Wenger sabotaged our chances or at least failed to increase our chances by getting a top striker. We are depending on Welbeck not our £140,000 Theo or main striker Giroud

    I’m still hoping we can do it but if spuds or Leicester win I will graciously applaud them because they deserved it.

  8. I love the response from Graeme Souness with his assessment of Arsenal’s performance. He was fuming! I wish our own chairman would react like that and put pressure on Wenger to actually succeed for once.

  9. “There is a fine line between sounding upbeat and confident and then just crazy” – Christopher Balding

  10. Arsene is clearly blind to his players’ weaknesses, but I think more importantly, he’s blind to his own. Arsene, like all of us fell in love with aesthetically pleasing football that Barcelona played under Pep Guardiola, and loved the fact that we were the Premier League equivalent. Fast forward to 2016 — barca don’t lead with the tiki-taka the way that they used to, because that was found out. Now they get back to front as quickly as they can, and vary their attacks. Meanwhile, Arsenal still try to pass people to death, let everyone get back behind the ball, and then wonder why we can’t break anybody down or don’t create enough chances.

    We’ve become too predictable, too accustomed to our Center Forward playing as a pivot in the final 3rd, instead of being unpredictable and dangerous with he ability to change the game on his own and run at people. We then commit too many people into attack – looking at you Ramsey – and leave ourselves vulnerable on the counter.

    Until we change our CM and our CF then the consistency, or lack thereof, in our results isn’t going to change.

    1. Proper Summation @TH14atl. Makes sense.

      Playing Santi Cazorla as our main CM in the pivot wasn’t in the agenda earlier on. The manager basically stumbled upon that piece of tactical gold, and adopted and adapted it well (credit to him). Now Santi or atleast a player like Santi in the CM position is critical to how we play.

      If we are going to continue with the system we’ve been playing for the past year, it is imperative therefore that we begin to make serious plans for when Santi wouldn’t be available. If we can’t find an alternative within the club, then next summer we must look in the transfer window for one.

      So I agree that the CM and Striker positions should be of priority in the summer.

  11. “I don’t like what Silent Stan has done to Arsenal, I will blame Wenger”

    Look out guys, we got a genius here…

  12. hahahahahahah most funny thing is, people still find excuses, we missed cazorla, we missed leadership. we played against untd B team, their defence was non existant, made from midfielders, attack not even need to adress , if you cant win this than you wont win anything, lack leadership ffs you play against teen players, and you need leadreship hahahahahahaha Wenger is only one to be blamed, if he loved Arsenal he would never let this happened

  13. This is Our last chance to keep our title hopes alive,
    Basically we have to win our next two games!
    Swansea (home) and Spuds (away)
    And hope that Leicester lose to WBA and the Spuds lose to West Ham… If this happens, We are back in it!
    Otherwise it is 100% Game Over!

  14. Like I have said it time and time again on this forum and in others as well, Arsenal cannot win the EPL and UCL as long as Wenger remains in manager. The man has obviously lost all it takes to assemble and lead a team that can win big crucial games or win major trophies. I came to this conclusion when Wenger failed to sign Suarez who was just there for the taking. Before that incident I still had a little faith in Wenger bcos I thought the board was denying him funds to acquire quality players, but after the Suarez £40million and 1 stunt by Wenger I just knew we had a basket case on our hands and hoping on Wenger was a lost cause. And to make it worse Wenger is one stubborn old man who is stuck in his old ways and is ready to go down in an attempt to prove the world wrong. What a combination?

  15. Why jump on Wengers back?

    We all know that some of the players should ummm…. at least be loaned out and forced to look at themselves and their recent performances but what can be done about this if the board are unwilling to replace?

    I see Wenger at doing his job, I don’t believe the job he is doing is best for AFC as a footballing institute but hey…. Changing the manager will not change the job goals.

    Change the owner and the new owner can change the goals for Wenger to achieve.

  16. I pray Wenger leaves at the end of the season leaving no trace at AFC for the good of the club. Kroenke should also ‘do one’ and let someone who at least supports football to take over control (Usimov?)

    This stagnation has gone on too long!

    Get De Boer + The Ice Man
    And bring Mr Arsenal in to kick those f’ing players up their derriere!

  17. Arsennal are a joke at the moment, look at our players, even Pogba,Dyalbla, bruce lee scores all the goals cound’t win with this mentallity.
    Wenger grow a pair and leave or tell the players what to do.
    Otherwise the players will think its acceptable to play such drivel.

    I’m sooooooooooo angry to be a Gooner

  18. It is a mixture of both amusement and sadness reading the comments on this website. However one thing that comes out clearly is there is a lot of anger and emotions in many of the contributions. I beg to take exception on some commentator’s assertions as follows: I strongly doubt that Wenger condones his players’ poor performances. What I believe is that no manager can berate his players in public as such a thing would completely kill the morale of the players. However I believe that Wenger scolds his players in the dressing room. It is a common management practice that a manager does not publicly criticise his personnel as such a thing can be counter-productive. Criticisms, tirades, reprimands are reserved for the right forum and in this case that is the dressing room and training ground where the rest of us would not be.
    The issue of changing a manager should not be a brain teaser because nobody is indispensable. However no one can guarantee that a new manager will bring instant success in form of trophies. If we consider that Wenger’s current contract expires at the end of next season I wouldn’t see the urgency to replace him now. What we should clamour for is for his contract not to be renewed so that we can get a new manager and then see how he performs. I believe anti-Wenger fans can afford to be patient for just one more year and then see the back of their nemesis.

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