Arsenal are top of the League – proving Wenger’s long term plan was correct all along

Most people expected Arsenal to beat Stoke yesterday, not only because of our great record against them at home, but also because of our unbelievable consistency since the beginning of the season, but of course it was never going to be that easy! Arsene really has got his squad at the peak of their confidence but he knows that could change in any game from now on so he must keep everyone on an even keel. And he is doing very well.

Stoke, under Mark Hughes, have improved beyond recognition this season and they were actually very confident going into the game, and when they got the soft penalty to go 1-0 up it was always going to be a difficult game to win. But although the fans thought it was going to be an easy task, Arsene Wenger knew differently. He explains why he told his team to be wary, and why he thought this was going to be a tough one. “Of course. We expected that.” he said.

“In the last nine games Stoke has lost one, in the last four away games they didn’t lose – including Man United. They had a convincing win at Watford. We have given a lot in the last few days at West Ham and at Basel. So we had a hesitant start, but again we found the resources being 1-0 down to win the game. And we have now had three penalties against us at home and not one of them was convincing. Despite that we came back and won the game.

“(The aim was) not to get my frustration into the game and to keep our nerves and our composure, that’s what we did. We kept passing the ball and we didn’t panic, linked with the fact that we had some positive results for a while now and we have created a momentum that gives us strength to believe in our game.”

So does he think that this year Arsenal have a bit more confidence than last year? “Look, we were not too bad last year. We finished second in the league. I believe we have improved, yes. But we have to show that on a longer term.”

So then what is the real difference? And how can we keep this going? He made his thoughts clear about the spirit in the team. “I believe that we have created confidence, I think we are ambitious – but what is at stake is to keep urgency levels very high, humility levels very high and togetherness very high. We have to show that in every single game now. Then we will see where we stand.”

This interview was after our game, but before Leicester humiliated Man City, and as he knows we can’t influence other peoples results. We just have to keep winning our games, but the fact is, that at right this second, Arsenal are top of the League! “It’s good. But let’s wait until tomorrow.” he cautioned. “At the minute there is no difference anyway with the other teams, there is Leicester v Man City, there is Chelsea v West Brom tomorrow. But we are in there. No matter what the results will be. So that’s good – we are in the fight.”

Will being top give the players more confidence? Or is Wenger worried about complacency? “Psychologically it is difficult to win when you have to win, when everybody expects you to win. I believe that we want to build a momentum and when everyone expects you to win the game, you want to win it. Especially at home. When you analyse last year, last season at home we did very well against the top five and we dropped points at home against teams in mid-table. Certainly that is our challenge this year, to continue to do well against the top teams but as well in these kind of games, like Stoke today, where you have to win and we dropped some points last year.”

He is right of course. We have dropped points against Chelsea every year for the last 6, including last season when they were rubbish, but this time around we embarrassed them. We have beaten Stoke after going behind, who were always a bogey team, just like Swansea. We fought back from an impossibly bad performance to take a point at Old Trafford against Wenger’s nemesis, Jose Mourinho. We are top of the League but all the pundits still expect us to falter and drop away to fourth place.

This year I think Wenger has got it right and I don’t see any Wenger Out banners in the stadium, and the comments from Anti-Wenger fans on JustArsenal have just about disappeared, surprise, surprise. I understand that no one likes to be proved so spectacularly wrong, but as long as the loyal real fans can celebrate our success then I am happy to support Wenger until he decides to leave on his own terms.

He has worked for 20 years to build this club into one of the best in the world, with limited resources for most of it, but he is guiding Arsenal to the pinnacle of the footballing world from humble beginnings, and we may stay there until Wenger hands on the reins to his successor.

Can you imagine how good Arsenal would have been if he had the funds that Ferguson had in the last 20 years? He would have been a much worthier adversary. To stay in touch with no money (and even selling our best players to our rivals) is proof that Wenger really is a genius, no matter who plays in the team.

He must be feeling on top of the world now that Arsenal are top of the League. And deservedly so. But where are all the fans that were protesting last year? Are they willing to come out and admit they were wrong? Let’s see shall we?



  1. Twig says:

    “Can you imagine how good Arsenal would have been if he had the funds that Ferguson had in the last 20 years?”

    Fergie wasn’t such a big spender was he?

    1. Tidan2 says:

      Man United spent about 2.5 times as much per season from 1992 – 2014 (Net).

  2. Trudeau says:

    A week is a long time in football. Don’t worry, a couple of losses to Everton and City will see the Wenger naysayers out in full force next Sunday. For some folks, even if Arsenal win the treble this year it will only serve to prove their point that he has been “useless for the last ten years”. That’s football for you.

    1. Godswill says:

      Watching Pep’s team yesterday makes me think Arsene knows, but he used to know before. Sometimes I do feel that Arsene doesn’t like fans because he will intentionally make annoying selections.

  3. TR7 says:

    it isn’t over til it’s over..if AW keeps his tabs well, then we have a chance but if he gets reinfected with the favouritism virus(which seems to be clearing slowly)in team selection,then we’ll be done.

    1. josh37 says:

      oh please stop… Wenger started Ox and Theo yesterday. They were the main offenders when it came to supposed ‘wenger favoritism…’ only difference is they’ve hit form. Almost as though he knew what he was doing?

  4. Reuben Joel says:

    The thing that Wenger did right this season which all Arsenal fans(AKB & WOB) will agree to is that we’re well stock in most Department on the pitch dat we even made light work of our injuries compared to other seasons especially last season where he remained defiant with his ways. And talks about the title should be dropped for now and let’s focus on the next game. There is everton b4 man city therefore everton should be our only focus till after we play them.

  5. muda says:

    In my humble opinion nobody really hates wenger with passion just that one faction of the fans lost confidence in him after a long patience while the other side remain confident in him.

    Look now he is doing things the write way why complain??


  6. AndersS says:

    I really don’t see, what the point is in pointing fingers at this stage. First of all, I am sure, that even the harshest critics of Wenger have only the best in mind for Arsenal, and is it really possible now to conclude all the criticism was wrong?
    I don’t think so.
    We are just over 1/3 of the way in the season, and if Chelsea and Liverpool win today, we are 3 points behind in tied for second. Imagine the remaining almost 2/3 season goes exactly the same way, then we will finish tied for second 8-9 points after the champions. Should we the be happy and say all is well? Not in my book. The fact is, that this year is for sure an improvement so far, but let’s be honest. There have certainly been signs of Arsene’s blind spots and we have also had some luck in a few games. So let’s see if the improvements are here to stay, which all hope for.
    But it doesn’t mean the criticism of how things have been in other seasons is wrong. Not at all. In fact, it may be, that the criticism has actually finally sunk in and made Wenger ask his players to fight and defend so that there is a chance of winning the league.

  7. Break-on-through says:

    We’ve seen since the Ozil signing that gradually Wenger has been getting his squad stronger and stronger. It needed patience from people, some people lost their patience years before the season Ozil arrived. These are the lot who demonstrated last season. Last season was hard to take but when it all died down, you realise we are on an upward trajectory. Now we are at the stage were Arsene only has to put final touches to his team, the squad is almost full, and we don’t see a need for attempting allot up upgrades to players. Patience or impatience, that is the question.

    If some of the placard wavers believe that the article writer here is speaking too soon, spare a moment for some of us, who listen to angry people speak before a ball has even been kicked, summer was no different, after liv and lei was no different, so just spare a thought.

  8. BUR says:

    I don’t think there was much thought put into wengers long term plan. I could have went through the last 12 years and not won the league. Yes he splashed the cash in the past few seasons and the investment is showing a bit of return at the minute but there is a long way to go yet in the season. It would be nice to be in this position at the end of May.

  9. Franko says:

    Nobody will come out and say they are wrong. You will be surprised the protest last season led to Wenger changing his game plan for this season. Last month, he wanted to go back to the status quo by fielding Ramsey every game the moment he came back from injury and it took the whole month to realize Ramsey’s performance in midfield could cost us as there was no penetration in his game. We dropped many points as a result but we are still up there competing. Even if Wenger wants to play Ramsey, he should be playing upfront in the number 10 role where he either makes the final pass or sets himself up to score. That way there would be more urgency in his game not in midfield where he slows down our attacking play by having to turn 360 degrees every time he has the ball before passing backwards or sideways.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs