Like Arsene Wenger, I’m Now Puzzled

I’m puzzled as to why the Arsenal manager thought it was a good idea to go into the season with one recognised striker. I’m puzzled as to why he thinks Yaya Sanogo is ready to play in the Premier League. I’m puzzled as to why he didn’t make more effort to buy anyone in January when we had a depleted squad through injuries. I’m puzzled as to why we used to have such a cutting edge and pace to the game, but that has completely disappeared. Arsenal are one-paced, one-dimensional, plodding in attack and would rather pass back to the central defenders or goalkeeper than take a risk on losing the ball by going forward at speed. Yes I know you can’t score if you don’t have the ball, but you can’t score if it’s in your half either.
I’m puzzled by the apparent lack of specific preparation for specific teams. Having very good players playing in their own way and not worrying about the opposition works more often than not against teams that aren’t full of very good players. It tends to fall down against other very good teams who do have a plan for the opposition in front of them.
All these puzzling things are in many ways, I admit, a matter of opinion. I personally don’t believe that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are doing them the best way, but if at the end of the season the club is still in the top 4 and has had a decent cup run or two then I can see why other fans still think it’s good enough and the manager is doing his job more than adequately. You cannot deny that the consistency of keeping Arsenal in the top 4 for 17 years is an achievement. Man Utd managed it for longer, but have now faded, at least temporarily. Liverpool managed it for longer before that, but it’s still a great achievement.
But, BUT, I am still puzzled as to why the manager of a team 2-0 down at half time in a vitally important match that keeps a top 4 place in his team’s hands refuses to change anything at that half time. He then refuses to change anything when his team concede a further goal. However, he does deign to make a couple of substitutions between 66 and 70 minutes. Unfortunately it’s too late then to do anything about the result.
Arsene Wenger does his substitutions at pre-planned times around the 70 minutes mark because he knows that statistically performance can drop off rapidly after 70 minutes, so it’s time for fresh legs. Arsene is a great believer in performance statistics. He doesn’t seem to realise, though, that if it’s 2-0 at half time then, if you don’t change anything, by the time 70 minutes rolls round it will probably be too late. So it proved against Everton. Even if it had still been 2-0, asking players to turn that round in 20 minutes is very difficult. Perhaps if they had 45 minutes they may have managed it.
If this had happened once I could forgive it. When it happens repeatedly and still nothing changes then I am genuinely puzzled. I don’t for one minute think I could manage Arsenal better than Arsene Wenger can, but I’m damn sure he could change things and make them better than they are.
And yes, of course he could have made changes at half time and Arsenal could still have lost, but at least he’d have tried to do something. Trying and failing is unfortunate. Just failing is poor. Very poor. And very, very puzzling.


22 thoughts on “Like Arsene Wenger, I’m Now Puzzled

  1. You may be right in believing you can’t manage Arsenal better than AW; but I think you are dead wrong in thinking AW can manage better. If he could why does it take innumerable ‘accidents’ for something to be done better. No – the stubborn one continues to do the same time after time after time – and surprise, surprise, we get the same effing result. He is tactically one dimensional and inept…..and shows no sign of having any ability to change his ways……
    The only thing I know is that there are plenty of managers out there who can and would manage Arsenal better than AW is doing.

  2. “Arsene Wenger does his substitutions at pre-planned times around the 70 minutes mark because he knows that statistically performance can drop off rapidly after 70 minutes”

    If that’s the only rationale anytime after 20 minutes (when the sub’s performance would drop off before the game ends) should be acceptable, particularly if things aren’t working

  3. I wanted Wenger out about 4 years ago when the stubburn idiot refused to reinforce when Arsenal were in a good position to challenge for the title. That season RVP Bendtner Adebayor and Eduardo wrte out injured, instead of buying a emergency centre forward, Wenger decided to play Arshavin as the Centre forward. From that day I knew his time was up. Since that time about 4 years ago, Wenger has displayed stupidity in-terms of squad building and tac tics, time and time again.

    • What did it for me was his pisspoor performance in the January transfer window. As it drew to a close and he signed the injured midfielder Kallstrom on loan, I thought, That’s it. We’re finished.
      He needs to be now.

  4. It’s no great mystery, Phil.
    Arsenal aren’t set up for success on the field, they are set up only to make Stan Kroenke even more money.
    There is no correlation between our investment in the transfer market and the wage bill. As an example of this, over the last few years, Liverpool have by far out-spent Arsenal in bringing in some genuine quality – Andy Carroll aside – yet despite that gulf in spending, their wage bill is similar to Arsenal’s. Arsene Wenger has and still persists in rewarding mediocrity and paying average players far beyond their real worth.
    And we’ve witnessed a severe down-grading in the quality of players Arsenal now attract.
    Szczesney is not in the same class as David Seaman or even Jens Lehmann. The BFG, Koscielny or Vermaelen are nowhere near the same quality as Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Sol Campbell. Arteta and Flamini are not in the same league as Vieira and Petit, or even Gilberto and Fabregas. We have no natural wingers as we had with Overmars and Pires, who provided thrust, skill, and an end product. And even when Walcott is available he is still more miss than hit because pace is his only real asset.
    Wenger’s over-reliance on youth is another major flaw because he over-plays them and runs them into the ground until their bodies literally break-down, often leading to long-term injuries – as we have seen with Wilshere, Ramsey (over 3 months this season), Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gibbs. He stubbornly refuses to spend on adequate cover, and the players he does reluctantly buy aren’t good enough.
    Most of his recent transfer dealings have been shocking, especially when you consider we’ve gone from watching the sheer quality of Bergkamp and Henry to the statuesque impotence of Giroud.
    Wenger used to have hunger to win major trophies, now he is paid a King’s ransom to massage Kroenke’s ego, which is why many fans have become disenfranchised from Arsenal Football Club. As long as he owns the club it will never be the same again. The Arsenal you and I grew up supporting is gone forever.
    All of which leads me to believe that moving to a bigger, state of the art stadium was never about fulfilling the dreams and ambitions of die-hard fans, because most of the Highbury faithful’s have been priced out.
    Arsenal’s shareholders sold out for a nice tidy profit after the move was completed, to an unknown American billionaire, whose sole aim was to make money, and had absolutely no interest in spending his own money to make Arsenal a competitive football force. That’s why The Emirates is regularly pimped out for all manna of events, and to this day still doesn’t feel like Arsenal’s spiritual football home, with it’s commercially sponsored title.

    • Can only agree with every single point you’ve made there. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that Wenger has a degree in economics, either. I would bet my house that for the last five or six years, his brief has been purely to turn in a profit; which unfortunately has mostly been achieved by selling our best players and replacing them with cheap, inexperienced dross.

  5. It’s got to the point where AW has to be thrown out if he fails to leave voluntarily. I think he should leave right now to give a replacement time to plan for the transfer market. If AW stays he will mess up the transfer window again.

  6. It’s just unfortunate dat we hav stubborn wenger as a coach, doin the same over and over without learning..IMO,he has lost it,decline in tactics,no hunger for trophy,no plan B,despite plan A,dosnt work..wenger out,we need a change,bring on KLOPP.

  7. when a manager becomes inept,and replicates his mistakes as often as wenger does,without learning! he deserves to be FIRED! no more excuses even winning the FA cup can’t make up for what we’ve seen from him this season.he’s proved he can’t change tactics,can’t motivate players to rise to the occasions even with a full squad with teams ready to be slayed e.g chelsea n both manchesters at home! he can’t instill believe in his players and rewards mediocrity e.g monreal and giroud still been rewarded with games,they having cost us in numerous occasions! i lost faith in wenger a couple of seasons ago,n to be honest! if couldn’t take advantage of this season! then we clearly we’ll not win the league again under his tenure.the team this season was not that thin on depth,but how well can you use your players even after neglecting the obvious like not buying a striker,a CB and natural competition whatsoever for positions,favoritism and inability to motivate players to bounce back from losses or avoid them all together.Please don’t get mad with this comment,when mourinho called wenger a professional failure,he knew nothing of value has been added to the arsenal team in management capability and he would still beat him the same way he did 8yrs ago because he has only one game plan! A that he backs up with the same A,mourinho also knew that he should be doing better with the team he has instead of always giving unnecessary excuses.wenger has lived up to mourinho’s words that have psychologically affected him and he’s spread it down to the team! he needs to go,no bullshit like holding down a top 4 position which is hardly likely or winning the FA that is against minnows,he needs to goooooo!! and when will gunners finally learn enough! is enough! wenger is the biggest replacement we need,and don’t ask with who? there are plenty of ambitious and well decorated managers at the highest level in terms of achievements who would take half of wenger’s hefty wages he’s paid to cement a top 4 position

  8. Well said Herb’s Army.

    Everton 3 Arsenal 0. Well what did we expect ? Wenger and the A.K.B.’s are always reminding us that “we just can’t compete” against the oil-rich clubs like EVERTON and LIVERPOOL l.o.l.

    And this latest loss to them means Our Dear Leader has achieved another record achievement – he’s given Everton their biggest win against Arsenal in 25 years !

    Excellent work. ” Give that man a new contract ! ”

    ” In Arsene we rust.”

    • Thanks Spectrum, you may have seen me blog on another Pro-Wenger site (where the regulars used to give you dog’s-abuse, mainly for your signature sign-off). I was like a salmon swimming up-stream and slowly but surely they wore me down, essentially because having been blinded by Wenger’s early success they refused to acknowledge that he could possibly have any faults. A support based around brain-washed sycophancy rather than intelligently face up to and debate the reality of the club’s decline.
      But he has been unwittingly handicapped and left out to dry by greedy and neglectful owners, past and present. It is indicative of the lack of transparency at Arsenal that David Dein’s sacking is still a mystery to many, but the bigger crime was not replacing him. Dein’s influence at Arsenal was pivotal to Wenger’s success, and it is rank amateur administration and smacks of small-club mentality to assume that Wenger and Arsenal could cope with such a massive loss.
      Dein’s departure in 2007, allied to having an unambitious hands-off owner whose only interest is making money, as well as having a CEO chosen by Wenger, means there’s no-one at Arsenal to set any real targets, no long-term strategy, and regardless of the product served up on the park it also means as long as Wenger increases Kroenke’s profits, he’s got the job for as long as he wants it.
      Hard-core supporters with a life-time of emotional and monetary investment have now by club proxy had their status reduced to ‘paying customers’. We’re not quite a franchise of Disney, but we might as well be.

  9. It looks to me like he now relies on nothing but statistics. I read a year, or so, ago that the reason why Szczesny will punch away the ball in favour of catching it, even if the latter appears to be the easier option, is because statistics show that punching away results in it being less likely to leading to a goal being conceded.

    That’s great, but the game isn’t played by 22 robots. It is played by 22 human beings with differing levels of skill. Certain statistics may fit one group of players, but change two or three players and it becomes a different case altogether.

    A strapline that I constantly see on my twitter timeline is “Arsene Wenger is an analogue manager in a digital game.” I would say the opposite is true. He treats everything as black and white and believes that the statistics cannot lie.

    I assume that all other managers use these statistics but it appears to me that they also understand the human side of the game and adjust their tactics to suit. Perhaps the most vociferous proponent of the use of statistics is Sam Allardyce. Is that who Arsene Wenger wants to ultimately emulate?

    Reading this article and then starting my reply I had a really terrifying thought. Something like this happened before, about 50 years ago. The FA employed a man named Charles Hughes to produce a coaching system to take English football forward. Hughes was also a fan of statistics and his masterplan was based around the 1962 Brazilian World Cup winning team scoring the majority of their goals within four passes of gaining possession of the ball. His plan was taught to English kids from a young age and it came to fruition during the 1970s & 1980s when England were shit and about as predictable as the schedule on Dave.

    Is this what Arsenal have become – Charles Hughes’ monster?

    For those of you over 45, think about those England games you watched in your youth. Now think about the Arsenal games you’ve watched over the last 5 years. Predictable.

    This 4-2-3-1 system that Arsenal play unrelentlessly must have something to it. I guess the statistics show that it is efficient and effective. It seems to work when everyone is fit and we have our best team available. But when injuries and suspensions hit the team, those that come in are not capable of playing in that system.

    As the old saying goes: there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

    • Andy, i’m largely inclined to agree with you – Arsene’s teams have tended to be highly technical and reliant on the whole team being fit and confident; when the key players are struggling for freshness or form then the whole team tends to fail. But the odd blip was last Spring when the team ground out results largely through defensive stubbornness and resilience. Clearly something happened last season that resulted in a change in emphasis, a results-first mentality.

      To take my lead from Phil, what puzzles me is why the current Arsenal team – riddled with injuries and a lack of form and confidence as it is – has not gone back to grinding out results. As the old cliche goes, the best teams pick up points when they’re not playing well…

  10. Hanging on to Wenger is like hanging on to your old VCR (Cassette Recorder) because u remember u sued to watch your favorite movies on it. SMH

  11. Pingback: Everton 3-0 Arsenal: The Guff | Arsenal Network

  12. Pingback: Everton 3-0 Arsenal: The Guff | Arseblog News – the Arsenal news site

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