Players need a new leader on and off the pitch by Big Gun
Looking back on Arsenal’s season, it has been another serious case of déjà vu. If we had a theme song, it would be the one on that broken record, likening to an old school country ballad, we all know how it begins and how it will end.
Personally I was optimistic going into the season, coming off the bat from two consecutive F.A cup titles, a new world class goal keeper, not to mention the unsettling changes of many of our rivals (United and later on Chelsea and City.) Conditions were ripe and it really was our for the taking.
We all know how things have panned out…Arsenal have choked yet again. It’s not about playing beautiful football anymore, those days are long gone as I believe the BPL has become a hostile arena, extremely fast paced and physical. Managers have become increasingly adept to adjusting tactics on the fly and ensuring their squad operates as a unit, especially in defense. This has made it extremely difficult for Arsenal to play the type of game we love seeing them play, the type of ‘sexy’ football we are renowned for. It is a dying breed, a dead horse that Wenger continues to flog. Not only that, but it has made us extremely predictable to play against. I’d say perhaps if we had better players at our disposal, we would be able to pull it off (like Barca) but the fact is we don’t.
There were one or two games, (the one where we stuffed Man United with three comes to mind first), where I thought finally we are playing to our strengths, hitting the opposition on the counter with pace and clinical finishing. But it’s almost as if Arsenal have gone backwards lately, we take forever to get the ball upfield and do any damage. By the time we get the ball to the opposition’s box, they have 10 men behind the ball, impossible to break down. Not to mention we have no one that can score those long range goals we see players like Kane do on a regular basis.
The biggest point I’d like to make, and I believe one of the reasons why we just cannot win the league and get very far in the CL, is simply because of our players attitudes. In response to the article written about our players needing the fan’s support even during this dark hour, I actually couldn’t disagree more and here is why.
1. Arsenal have the most patient fans I have ever seen. Just look at other clubs around the world and in England. Real Madrid, Barca, Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea etc etc are so ambitious that if they do not win a trophy after one or two seasons, the manager get sacked (Don’t necessarily agree with it but just proving a point). Us fans have supported our manager and club over the last decade and more without a single BPL title. Most of us understood that there was a period of time when we just couldn’t afford to bring in big names and win trophies but Wenger still finished in the top four. Respect given when due. But it has been three to four seasons now in which Wenger has had sufficient time to build a world beating squad in which he has failed to do so. Personally, as many of you know, I still supported him for the most part up until recent events. So enough about fans not being supportive, WE HAVE DONE OUR BIT, paying exorbitant ticket prices to experience something reminiscent to ground hog day.
2. On average, and Arsenal player earns between 70k-100k per week. Yet what we have seen for the latter part of the season was as if they were doing it for charity. There has been no desire, no passion to see some of the more crucial games off. How does a team leading 2 – 0, concede two goals right before half-time? We just turn off, and it has happened several times this season, games in which we look quite comfortable and then just go belly up, either drawing or losing. Our players are professional athletes who get paid insane amounts of money to perform, yet we (the fans) still get told we need to mollycoddle them otherwise they cannot perform? ABSOLUTE TOSH. They should be willing to bleed on the pitch not only because they are paid what most people can only dream of, but, for crying out loud, do it because you are proud and honoured to play for such a prestigious club as Arsenal. Our players need to start taking responsibility on the pitch, pick themselves up without the need for outside attention or recognition. After all the best athletes of all time have thrived in the face of adversity and criticism. How can our players and manager expect us fans to keep singing their praises when what we are witnessing on the pitch is a half-hearted attempt? This brings me to my third and probably most controversial point – Arsene Wenger.
3. There is no doubt Wenger has made Arsenal Football Club a better club in terms of longevity, not to mention all the trophies he won back in the glory days. I respect him much for guiding our club through a dark time highlighting earlier what I mentioned about consecutive CL football. But like they say, the only thing that is constant, is change. Not even Wenger and his god-like status at Arsenal can avoid it. To cut a long and convoluted explanation of why I think Wenger needs to be replaced, it’s simply because in the last while he has had the time and resources to bolster our squad. Even through my support, I made it clear Wenger still has not fixed some of our flaws, most noticeably our strike force. I was right about Giroud, been mediocre for three seasons, we will never get more out of him and we need better to win the league and CL. I was wrong about Walcott though, I really thought he was coming to light, but he just hasn’t developed into the type of player he had the potential to be all those years ago. At 27 years of age, he will not get much better. It’s not nice to bash players, but people need to realize it is nothing personal. Our aim as a football club should be to buy and field our strongest players. If there is a weak link, it needs to be rectified and it’s not as if Arsene hasn’t been faithful enough, he has given certain players PLENTY of time to prove themselves.
Reverting back to my point about player’s attitudes, we need to understand that our players are only imitating the mentality of our manager. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to manage a high profile football club (just ask Gary Neville) and get it just right, but in Wenger’s case it is obvious his taste for glory and success has been curbed and it has rubbed off on our players. The only person who can actually light that fire and get our players motivated again is the manager. If it was Wenger’s second season in charge, I would be over the moon for a top four finish and F.A cup victories, but the fact is we have seen the same old nonsense happen for the last decade. I have to say it, Wenger has run out of excuses. The board and Stan Kroenke are going to be around for a long time still, nothing we can do about that, but I think Arsenal simply need a change for better or worse because let’s be real, unless Wenger brings in another three world class players ASAP and gets rid of the deadwood we will experience exactly the same thing next season. As it stands, I don’t even see us making top four next season with Wenger in charge.
WENGER USED TO LIE TO HIMSELF SAYING:
“JUST A SMALL PART OF THE FANS WAS NOT HAPPY”
WHAT ABOUT NOW MR WENGER ???
For Wenger there is nothing outside the voice of his head. The man is blind and deaf through and through. We need Wenger Out signs in every game until the old sore loser is gone for good!
Ideal team for next season to compete for title:
GK: Cech, Szczesny
RB: Bellerin, Gaspar
CB: Koscielny, Laporte, Mertesaker, Gabriel
LB: Monreal, Gibbs
CDM: Coquelin, Carvalho
CM: Ramsey, Wilshere, Elneny
CAM: Ozil, Cazorla
LW: Sanchez, Campbell
RW: Walcott, Oxlade
ST: Lukaku, Welbeck, Giroud
Loan Out: Chambers, Zelalem, Crowley, Gnabry, Iwobi
Szczesny, why not Ospina? Who is Gaspar? Jenkinson is adequate as back-up imo. Rest is OK, although IMO we should sell Walcott and Giroud, and go for Iwobi contralateral to sanchez (poor Chamberlain and Campbell always back-up, should be allowed to leave if they request it)
For me, Ospina just doesn’t cut it. Szczesny will have time to learn from Cech like this.
I am not too sure how Jenkinson would respond to the injury and how he would come back, hence i thought he would be better out on loan. I feel Mario Gaspar of Villareal would be a decent back up for Bellerin.
Also, Walcott, Ox and Campell have not been too impressive this season, but we cannot sell them all in one go and it won’t be that easy to find replacements so fast. So since we are already buying 3 players (Carvalho=25 mil, Gaspar=10 mil, Lukaku=40 mil) we are spending a decent amount of money and we won’t shell out more to get someone of high quality on the wings (like Reus).
I guess this is my logic behind this team.
***And Laporte=30 mil
Ospina may not cut it for you but have you looked up his stats for last season on Squawka, in PL for every 90 minutes played. Ospina was the best goalie by a long way. For every two goals he conceeded the likes of hart, courtois and de gea conceded three. All of ospinas other stas were better like saves per goal conceded.
Also look up his performances for Columbia in WC and competion last summer, some awesome displays. In WC some commentators were dicussing whether he was the best goalie in WC.
I expect you will get your wish and he will leave in the summer, too good to sit on the bench, lets hope we do not come up against him in a european competion, we should not sell him to another PL team.
The amount of people who has been on the Wenger/Kroenke out side has skyrocketed in the last two years. I usually see supporters cheering on Wenger only when the team does well. I guess they want to believe that Wenger still has his genuinity intact, but it seems like most of us Arsenal supporters now realise that this Arsenal is a dead end – that Wenger does not have a functional recipe for success, and Kroenke couldn’t care less, as long as he gets his profit for free.
OT: Do we have an admin for the facebook group “Arsenal Banter” here? I recognized a quote from this forum on one of their latest posts.
Ok let’s deal here in facts. Me I have never agreed with the way Wenger in the last 4-5 seasons on his game plan. So it’s not rocket science here it’s how to win with the players you have. Now apart from those who are injured, so not counting those, we have the players from the last 4-5 games are all we have. So Mr Wenger throw out your beautiful game as it ain’t gonna happen with the squad you have. What needs to be done is, A play you best 11 which is as the last 3 games has shown can get us in front in the first half. Now you have only Campbell, Ramsey, Giroud, Chambers and Mertisaker who are the best of the Bench. Forget Walcott so to get 3 points once in front close out game in the 60 th minute to bring on Chambers for Ozil as if he has done his job we should be at least 2 up then you leave Welbeck up front and for the quick over turn bring on Ramsey for Coquelen,but not for moving Sanches out to left its his weakest position. Then they the other team have to come out to try, all we do is play for the 3 points if it’s ugly so be it as City now could be 2 points behind. Drawing now is a no no as we have a shocking goals for to against. Campbell has to be a late game player Giroud will slow the game down if he is bought on for either Welbeck or Awobie. If and that’s a big if we do get a 3 goal lead then give Giroud a game, but pleases don’t take off your best for your worst. Sought that out in July. CB
Again very insightful comments and well said.
I think the saddest part is that really this situation has been going on for years , maybe even decades and Arsenal fans have been so patient. It’s like anything where pressure has built up and there has been no release , the explosion may be massive.
I think someone has to explode soon
So we have a Thursday night game tonight.
Practice for next season Europa League maybe?
Hahaha………i’ve been thinking…..u might be right
Based on recent form then we will be in europa league, unless the likes of manu and manc perform as badly.
OT: I hope Piers morgan makes sure that deLuded man (Lord Sugar) get to pay the Ormond’s street children hospital their deserved £10k for flattering himself and thinking Arsenal will Lift the EPL Trophy this season
Wenger’s delusion is getting to all of em!
we fans are not angry cos the team is playing badly, but becos this problems don’t start this season, because our manager refuses to strengthen this team. if am not mistaken, there was a season we r top of the EPL instead Wenger to buy cover in Jan transfer, he went n brought injured kallstrom. and we all know how it turned out. this season again Wenger was supposed to buy a DM n a striker but he didn’t. he told us he didn’t see anyone who can improve what we have. but DAT summer kondogbia was available. what he did was to panick buy slow elneny with zero control and zero dribble. kondogbia n elneny who’s better?. him not buying to improve this team and not proving us wrong by sticking to his word of we dont need to buy to win titles is not good enough. this is why we fans are angry.
You’re a bit harsh on Elneny, but basically right. The type of player that we need(ed) is the big, strong and dangerous DM Kondogbia, not another ‘weak and harmless’
The year you speak of, we needed (and still do) a DM and a striker. He brought in Flamini and Sanogo for free, when (if actually willing to spend) could have bought Suarez and (Matic, Kondogbia or Wanyama)
The years after, while still screaming for a striker and a strong DM, opportunites to buy Jackson Martinez, Griezmann, Dybala, Martial (when he was cheap), Kondogbia, Krychowiak and Schneiderlin have all been availeable.
The worst case for me is back in 2014, when we had a low buy-back clause on Carlos Vela @ Real Sociedad when Griezmann was still in the club. It was the perfect opportunity to get either Vela back, or trade the clause termination + small amount of money for Griezmann. What did Wenger do instead? He cashed out by selling out on the clause, and the only thing we (or should i say Kroenke) was left with was profit, and not very much of it.
It was not until Giroud got injured that Wenger thought ‘Wow, we might actually need another striker!’, and then started the process of getting one. Even though Welbeck has scored some very important goals, I think we all can agree that we wanted someone better, as so many times before
Nice Write Big Gun!
U spilled the beans
Too bad, many still haven’t realized this!
Great Article!!!!! kudos to Big Gun that wrote it as it is keeping calm and composure in a time when is really hard for an ARSENAL fan to keep them both……
Is ‘Wenger loosing his mind’.
His decisions, body language and general behaviour leads me to believe that this could be the case!
I was in the south of France on an internship many moons ago when my then boss started appearing ‘alone’ at the same club as us (we were like 16 he was like 45£. He would sit next to us looking a little worse for wear and try and be part of us..all the time acting strangely and out of character.
Some weeks later after not having seen my boss around I was told a new boss was coming in. Through the rumour mill we had heard that he had fracked under the pressure of leading our large team and the responsibilities that it entailed.
So, I genuinely think underneath his professional mask he is having a bit of a mental meltdown brought upon by the pressure.
Think about it, if he is the one in control of everything, and shoulders that responsibility on his own that is some amount of pressure being applied. He has no one to share it with…
Wouldn’t like this to be his end, but I suspect and fear that could just be the case. I could also be completely wrong..
He cracked not fracked;) under pressure..
The number of people supporting Wenger is dwindling everyday. After this season, it’s difficult finding someone who still believes in him. I had thought for too long that Arsenal is missing a few players to win the BPL and probably the CL but Leicester City have opened my eyes. We have a good enough squad to do the job but Wenger just cant set up these lads to win consistently. Arsenal is often too exposed and their style of play is so easy to the opponent. We struggled to beat and score against the poorest Chelsea side in a long time while every other team was dismantling them. Really what does Atletico Madrid has that we dont? I dont mind if we get beaten by Bayern or Barca, but can we atleast give them a real fight. Make them work for it. Just look at Benefica and Atletico.
If Wenger doesnt leave will be in trouble next season. The last time there was uncertainity regarding Wenger’s contract, Henry left for Barca. Next season will loose Sanchez and Ozil. Wenger cannot be let to run down his contract FFS!!
This is why, only an extreme (non violent) and noticeable response from the fans is required.
Otherwise he and the board will not need to pay it attention..the attention it deserves.
That is right. But only the fans at the Emirates who pay for these tickets can force that real change. Most of us fans are half way across the world. We can only voice the anger and years of frustration through such forums and social media. I urge all you faithful Arsenal fans in the stadium to fight for AFC on behalf of Gooners all over the world.
Just make sure you don’t buy any AFC merchandise until Kroenke and co are gone.
A very good point !
Many of us are not in a position to show our desperation , so we really need those ticket holders to stand up
admin where are my comments.its now 3 comments on the trot whats up I thought u can say ur views and opinions!!!or u don’t entertain negativity to arsen!
Unless you swore it could be admins spam filter playing silly nuggets again.
Either that or Arsenes red shirts have infiltrated the JustArsenal HQ and are censoring the posts as I type.
haha it has to be those red shirts I was bashing wenger no swearing unless bul……counts as swearing
He (AW) says it ALL in the last paragraph..
Top write up!
Too busy rambling myself 🙂
He lost it Looong time ago. Remember the game where Obafemi Martins scored a tap-in when defender and keeper made a mess?? That was a glaring wake-up call but no!! Wenger has more explanation to everything. Sad thing thing also is that we don’t have a plan B. 75th minute subs. Mourinho knows this! So he taunts Wenger anytime he has the chance. And Wenger does not dissapoint. He has himself to blame. I thought he will leave on a high after our last FA cup victory.
“As it stands, I don’t even see us making top four next season with Wenger in charge” Big Gun
I have to agree next season looks even more tough. With Pep G for Man City, A JK Liverpool team that’s already getting goals from all round (a 6-0 Aston Villa and win 4-0 Everton win with different scorers per game).Leicester and Spuds already are in top form, then you got Man U picking up and Chelsea is bound to be a diff team next season.
Where would an AW Arsenal team fit in , after a season of dropped points against teams like Norwich, West Brom, Swansea.
A simple point sums up the recent debacle at Arsenal.
We try and sign Suarez (top 5 striker in the world) This fails……we’re left with Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck
Arsenal need only Toni Kroos for winning the Titel.
Living up to ur name……..Wow
Well reasoned and well presented posted. Agreed with much of it.
“our players are only imitating the mentality of our manager” is probably the most relevant. I wrote earlier that although we might face uncertain times when we replace Wenger we should not expect a Man U situation. SAF had a fiercely competitive personality and showed in his squads behavior. Wenger lowers the potential of his improved squad and managers like SAF, Klopp, Simeone and others have the ability to improve the potential of their squads.
I would say their are two squads above us inferior on paper but their managers manage to get more out of their squads then Wenger from his.
Finally, not to many comment on Bilic @ West Ham but surely he has done an impressive job as well, showing what value added an ambitious modern manager can bring to a club, same for Koeman who lost many of his best players after is arrival yet has managed to keep Southampton in a very respectable place in the table. Wengers poor performance has given me an appreciation for what other managers have done.
Are we so sure no other manager could have beaten the likes of Spurs and Everton over the last 10 years to 4th place? Leave out Chelsea, Man City and Man U over the last ten yours and yes forth place was a great result but consider who we were competing with an it looks less impressive IMO.
Saw this somewhere:
When Martin Keown played a long ball from inside his own half. Dennis Bergkamp headed it up in the air, Nicola Anelka flicked it on and Marc Overmars nodded it forward, drove into the United area and fizzed a shot between Peter Schmeichel’s legs.
When Christopher Wreh smashed one in against Bolton. When Steve Bould fed Tony Adams on that sunny day in May against Everton and the captain buried it with his left foot. When Overmars and Anelka scored the goals at Wembley to win the FA Cup and the double, and Alan Shearer was sad.
When we used to play Manchester United and all day you could feel the nerves build and when the games were on you didn’t have just butterflies in your stomach you had bats, and moths, and possibly some small singing birds. It was a rivalry that meant so much and provided so much and it was absolutely brilliant.
When David Seaman saved an Aston Villa penalty and then Robert Pires lobbed him and then Robert Pires injured his cruciate against Newcastle and you thought ‘Oh shit’, but this was a team that could live with one its best players missing games so they went to Old Trafford and ‘WILTOOOOOOOOOOOORD‘ and won the title.
When the players did ‘we’re not worthy‘ to Pires. When Ray Parlour reminded everyone ‘Its only Ray Parlour‘ and Freddie Ljungberg left a young John Terry flat on his face before curling home a brilliant shot to make it 2-0 in an FA Cup final that took place before winning the league at Old Trafford when ‘WILTOOOOOOOOOOOORD’. Lee Dixon warming up behind the goal celebrating as the ball hit the net and another double was sealed.
When Pires scrapped home a goal in an FA Cup final in 2003 when our central defensive pairing of Martin Keown – who required injections in every bit of him to play – and Oleg Luzhny played a blinder. Oleg and Seaman high-fiving after the game.
When we beat Everton 2-1 on the opening day of the next season and you weren’t even that worried after Sol Campbell got a 25th minute red card because you knew we could cope.
When Vieira kicked out at van Nistelrooy at Old Trafford and got sent off and afterwards everyone called him a cheat. When it was made all the more sweet by the fact he missed that penalty and then Keown did Angry Starjump man and Lauren throttled a terrified Phil Neville and James Lawton said Arsenal were ‘sickening, brutish and disgusting’, but we loved it.
When we went to the San Siro and Thierry Henry roasted the brilliant Javier Zanetti to score Arsenal’s third in a 5-1 win.
When Henry made what was potentially a very bad Good Friday in a great Good Friday with a hat-trick against Liverpool. Jamie Carragher still has a bruise on his arse from the way Henry left on him it to score the third to put us ahead and if Highbury had a roof it would have come off but it didn’t and noise spread across North London like a blanket of celebration and joy.
When he scored four against Leeds. When we went to White Hart Lane and they thought that the late penalty, annoying as it was, was enough for them to stop us winning the league but it wasn’t enough to stop us winning the league and we won the league.
When even their players thought the draw was enough. When Thierry Henry remembered:
“I remember Tarrico, jumping around and he got a cramp out of it. Celebrating a draw! And I looked at him and said ‘Are you kidding me?’ And he went, ‘Yeeaaaaaaah!’ jumping in front of me.
“I said to him: ‘You do realise we just needed a point at your place to be champions at your place.’ And he was talking, talking, so I said ‘Watch me after the game.’
“I remember, people were saying do not celebrate. I said ‘WHAT?’ I will celebrate. And you will see how much it’s going to hurt them. “I had to celebrate. They were coming up to me, jumping around like they had won something, so I said, ‘Ok. We were not supposed to celebrate, but now I’m going to celebrate with my fans!”
When, on the final day of the season, having fallen behind to Leicester, Dennis Bergkamp unlocked their defence and Patrick Vieira rounded the keeper in nonchalant style to make it 2-1 and ensure that we ended P26, D12, L0. A feat that remains unmatched to this day, when Arsenal became Invincible.
When we won the FA Cup in the most un-Arsenal way possible. A dour, defensive, somewhat lucky day against United, when they did everything but score, and Reyes got sent off and Jens Lehmann saved from Paul Scholes and then Vieira’s last kick off the ball as an Arsenal player was to win to win the cup.
When Fabregas came of age as we won at Real Madrid. When Reyes got ‘injured’, rolled off the pitch then rolled back on to ensure the game got stopped. When Henry scored that goal at the Bernebeu.
When we got to the Champions League final with a back four of Eboue, Toure, Senderos and Flamini. When Jens was hero in Villarreal and even when he might have been villain in Paris, we stood and sang at the end of a game we lost and the hairs stood up on the back of your neck before the rain that night washed the tears away.
When time passed and things became more difficult but we all knew we were just two players away from being great again.
When Per Mertesacker stooped to head home against Wigan with just 8 minutes to go. When Lukasz Fabianski made up for many things with his penalty shoot-out saves.
When Santi Cazorla cracked home a 30 yard free kick in the final after we’d conceded twice in the opening 7 minutes. When Laurent Koscielny hooked home an equaliser. When Giroud back-heeled to Aaron Ramsey and he prodded home the goal that won the first trophy in an unspecified number of years. When we celebrated that Together, at Wembley, in London, all over the world.
When we enjoyed another beautiful day at Wembley and made Tim Sherwood implausibly sad. Walcott, Alexis from 25 yards, Mertesacker and Giroud, and when we remembered that we were so worried about Cristian Benteke and we laughed.
When we remembered that for all the disappointments and frustrations, that even if change feels inevitable and necessary, there was one man whose teams gave us all those moments and memories and feelings that live on even today.
When Arsenal announced their new manager in 1996 and everybody went ‘Who?’ and Tony Adams said ‘What does this Frenchman know about football?’.
And here we are.