Arsene Wenger’s most baffling decisions – a list

Inspired by an off-the-cuff poll by Brad aka @ArsenalFCView on twitter, here’s a list of some baffling things Arsene has done.

To qualify, things have to be baffling at the time or be repeated or go on for a long time, so lots of suggestions I received on twitter to add to the first draft don’t really apply. Not re-signing Cesc? Not baffling, because of Cesc’s attitude (though personally I would have had him back rather than strengthen a rival). Various other players who were signed – Jeffers, Chamakh, Gervinho, etc – well they didn’t work out, but no one could know that at the time, so difficult to say they qualify. Whereas Sylvestre looked odd at the time… Making Gallas captain? Might have worked.

Not giving Tony Adams a coaching role? I wouldn’t give Tony Adams a coaching role. Not having Vieira or Henry coaching? These might be bad decisions, but they’re hardly proven coaches yet.

On the flipside, people claiming Kallstrom shouldn’t be on the list because he ‘won us a cup’ – well a) cups are won by teams, never by individuals, and b) signing a player with a broken back is baffling, full stop. What happens later does not change that fact.

So in no particular order, though number one is a lot of people’s favourite:

  1. Selling RvP to Man Utd
  2. Picking players who want to leave (eg Ox v Liverpool)
  3. Not signing Yaya Toure when he had the chance
  4. Having a non-playing captain
  5. Signing Kallstrom with a broken back
  6. Signing Sylvestre
  7. Signing Park Chu Young, the only player ever whose value was written off in the club accounts while he was still there
  8. Signing Igors Stepanovs because the squad were praising him to wind up Martin Keown
  9. Persisting with Almunia as number one keeper for so long
  10. Repeatedly overpaying squad players that then can’t be sold because no one will match their wages
  11. Signing a contract extension in 2014 after winning the FA Cup
  12. Signing a contract extension in 2017 after winning 3 FA Cups in 4 years
  13. Not being flexible enough to go an extra £2m for Xabi Alonso (other examples of ‘seeking value’ are available, eg Mark Schwarzer)
  14. Playing second string squad members in the 2007 League Cup final
  15. Substituting Oxlade-Chamberlain (having a rare good game) for Arshavin in the infamous match where Van Persie decided he was off
  16. Never doing subs before 68 minutes, except in cases of dire emergency (eg being completely outplayed at Liverpool)
  17. Not changing his coaching team in 20 years
  18. Persisting with duvet-style coats with very long zips
  19. Buying no first team outfield players in 2015
  20. Having any faith at all in Yaya Sanogo
  21. Bidding £40m + £1 for Luis Suarez
  22. Taking no notice of opposition tactics with his own set-up in 95% of fixtures
  23. Staying glued to the bench during nearly every match
  24. Dropping Arshavin for 2009 FA Cup semi-final
  25. Benching fit players who you would expect to start (Lacazette last weekend v Liverpool, Sanchez v Liverpool in March 2017; other examples are available)
  26. Playing most of the defence out of position this season
  27. Giving new contracts to permanently injured players
  28. Never seeming to be aware that the season starts mid-August, so being unprepared for it
  29. The fashion shoot he did in 2015 (particularly the turned-up jeans)
  30. Loaning players out while their contracts run down, then having to sell them cheaply
  31. Playing Andre Santos, the only fit full back of 4 in the squad, in a CL dead rubber against Olympiakos while other first teamers were rested; Santos was injured and out for 3 months
  32. Blaming fans for the team’s poor performances
  33. Generally ignoring the role of captain and the importance of leaders on the pitch
  34. Claiming Arsenal teams are stuffed with leaders when they’re clearly not
  35. Having a blanket ban on contracts longer than a year for players 30 and over, instead of taking each case on its merits



2 thoughts on “Arsene Wenger’s most baffling decisions – a list

  1. How did Arsenal’s best-ever manager end up as a dead man walking? Is he the one to blame? Evidently his boss doesn’t think so. In fact AFC is KSE’s most successful and most profitable sports franchise. Which suggests that Wenger will be replaced by someone just like him. A manager who will ensure that AFC stays in the black.

  2. Wenger will be able to take lots of advice from all you expert blog writers out there who are so wonderfull and talented and knowledable in everything walking and talking, they honestly believe they can reside in an Ivory tower and post garbage week in and week out and expect fawning adulation for it.

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