Time for a new approach….Professor Wenger

Think well, Professor

On the 15th of May 2004, Arsenal FC won its third Premier league title with a 2-1 victory of Leicester City and thus became the first team to go a full Premier league season undefeated with an average squad age of 27.4 years. The Gunners capped it up with the FA Cup a year later in the first goalless FA Cup final in over 80 years.

It’s almost six years and the Gunners haven’t won any major silverware since the FA Cup triumph at the Millenium stadium in 2005. A lot has changed at Arsenal Football Club – a move to a new stadium (The Emirates stadium), change in personnel on the playing staff; Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie are the only surviving members of the 2005 FA Cup team presently at the football club.

Arsene Wenger can be described as a manager who has built a team with a desire to entertain and attack with the sole priority of winning laurels. He has built a reputation of unearthing young talent and helping their transition to world class players by incorporating them into the Arsenal team. The likes of Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry were gradually integrated into the first team. Cole was a product of the team’s youth system while the latter two were brought in from AC Milan and Juventus.

A regular feel of the Arsenal bench... In recent times

His approach appears to have taken another dimension in the last few years with his over reliance of young talent (some questionable) at the expense of matured and experienced players. It is shocking to realise that Gael Clichy is the only Invincible left in the Arsenal squad of today albeit  Jens Lehmann (a bit of laugh here….) who signed a short term deal lately to cover up the Gunners goalkeeper crisis.

In the last few seasons, Wenger’s team have given in to pressure when it matters most and their mental strength has been questioned severally but the French man is hesitant on spending big on transfers despite the club’s financial profit posting yearly.

This season is proving not to be any different even if they harbor a faint hope of a final title push. In a space of three weeks, a quadruple dream which was supposed to be ignited with a Carling Cup win vanished into thin air.

The weight of expectation descended heavily on the young team in the Cup final, failure at the stage couldn’t be imagined, Arsenal got emotionally carried away and shockingly lost to Birmingham, followed with an elimination by Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 – although the Gunners are hanging on to a  ridiculous decision by the referee as a major factor in their loss. A few days later, Manchester United compounded more misery by dumping them out of the FA Cup in the sixth round. Arsenal fans have seen their darling team play three consecutive draws in the Premier league with their last league win dating back to February 23. The Gunners are eight points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand after 31 weeks of league football.

It seems like a continuous process year in, year out in the same manner with their rivals mocking them and tagging them as “The nearly boys”  despite playing attractive football and having their 60,000 capacity stadium packed full every match day.

Should he tow the paths of a more "successful" Fergie

The phrenic strength of Wenger’s team calls for inquisition. I feel Arsene Wenger should have held on to some influential figures likes Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry who are still playing top flight football as well as being cult heroes in Arsenal to give the upcoming players some self belief in the locker room as well as bringing their experience to play in the big games where the young lads have faltered. His strict and prudent financial approach must be reconsidered. Solid investment in quality wonderkids like Manchester United did with Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Chelsea with Frank Lampard, etc would go a long way in helping out. Likewise an assurance of a long term future in the squad.

I believe it’s time Arsene dumps his professed belief and begin to mix youth with experience.
What do you think?

15 responses to this post.

  1. Good stuff.. I share your views but lately I’ve questioned the gafars competence as regards motivating his wards. I mean, I ask myself if at 8 games to the end of the season, 5 points behind the leaders with this same crop of players, would a manager like Ferguson sit on the bench and watch his boys (yes, these same crop of arsenal players)squander chances upon chances?
    This team lacks overall experience. Yes. But I believe if you make it to this same point for at least 3 years in a row, sometimes, all you might need might just be enough motivation from the leader to push the team to the finish. Let us remember than an even weaker Arsenal side saw off Blackburn 6-2 last season. All that was missing in that game was belief and with no overly experienced player in the fray, the manger should assume this position. (Not saying this is the solution but it’s my 2 cents)


  2. Posted by major_d on April 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Its simple, going from a team that wins a trophy every 2 years or so to a team that hasn’t won anything a few games shy of 7 seasons means that something is wrong. A bitter pill to swallow but wenger is obviously getting it wrong somewhere.


  3. Nice on Lako, Wenger’s philosophy has not lived to his expectation. The directors are Arsenal are enjoying the profit the club is making at the expense of the drought in winning trophies. Season after season, they start well but tire out.
    My fear is that some of the players (Fabregas most especially) might leave and but a clog in the “growth” of the young gunners.
    Please tell Wenger to buy a good keeper (Adler or Hugo Lloris will gladly say “where do i sign” to an offer from Arsenal), then one more quality central defenders.
    Anyways, you will have to give the gunners and their fans sticking with the club despite not winning laurels.


  4. Posted by dammy on April 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    why you laughing bout the lehmann situation, he was bought as a cover up and i think he would do well as a back up goal keeper. well for the first time ever i may want to concede and join the band wagon of arsenal lack experience, but i wont say experience per say. the current arsenal squad have found it hard to produce beautiful performances consistently and i would like to say the team work/ cohesion from the arsenal players is on the low….


  5. Posted by jones on April 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    He’s problem is not lack of money, but lack of and poor coordination of the right crop of players, he needs to spend good money in purchasing quality tested and trusted adequate players


  6. Posted by eeD on April 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

    1. Many players have let Arsene down
    2. Wenger has too much blind faith in many of his players
    3. Too many round pegs in square holes in the team – Many examples
    4. Lack of driven, passionate lads…. flowing with the Manager’s laid back attitude
    5. Too many injury prone players and questionable medical team’s competence
    6. Too much weight on young shoulders.
    7. No width.. Purely no wide player
    8. Need some “big names” to put the fear/respect factor in some team
    9. CB,DM,Winger needed (at least)
    10. And last and greatest of all… God of soccer is definitely an Arsenal hater.. too much ill-luck…

    Besides all these point… my Arsenal team is a very lovely team. Go Gunners


  7. Posted by tunde on April 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Over-flogged issue….. I do not think the problem is the quality of the players or even their youth… the attitude is failing, they are a number of players that don’t pull their weight inspite of their obvious potential e.g diaby…. We have seen wenger make atrocious signings e.g silvestre……. Players whose development have stagnated e.g denilson unprofessional attitude like not tracking back e.g denilson and song…. silly goalkeeping errors e.g all of the above …..and a coach who is not as brutal as ferguson would have been on these group of players.


  8. Posted by Oluubaba on April 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Everyteam goes through tough times just that it appears the boys are more than satisfied with just challenging for honours thn wining however I still thnk the boys deserve credit as they ve held their own over the years maybe its time prof makes the much needed experienced signins.nice on Lako,Gunner till fade no matter what


  9. Posted by fm on April 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Nice 1 lako,I must commend you on this,is not fundamentally hard to see what the problems are really, as you have out line some of the key factors affecting arsenal football club,I totally agree with you that so much have been given to this club by arsene also so much has been taken away by him,in this regard I say he urgently required to dump this his philosophy and embrace proper tactics in areas where urgent attention is needed e.g goal keeper,central defender and a top notch point man to complement RVP when injured,going by this I think they can poise a proper challenger rather than pretending,thank you.


  10. Posted by fm on April 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Nice 1 lako,I must commend you on this,you do not have to be a professional football gaffer to see what the problems are really, as you have out line some of the key factors affecting arsenal football club,I totally agree with you that so much have been given to this club by arsene also so much has been taken away by him,in this regard I say he urgently required to dump this his philosophy and embrace proper tactics in areas where urgent attention is needed e.g goal keeper,central defender and a top notch point man to complement RVP when injured,going by this I think they can poise a proper challenger rather than pretending,thank you.


  11. Posted by lowlou on April 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Everyone is talking about big spendings and big name signings, but as chelsea is showing us with their experienced 50M man, this kind of signings are as big a risk as bringing young players thru the ranks, as Jack Wilshere has shown us, also in recent times. True that some attitude changes are required and the boss needs to instil some much needed self belief in this crop of players, but this is not the time to turn our back on these players, cos alot of them have shown that they can bring their talent to the pitch when it is required, for example we have two goalies that have shown us that despite inexperience, and past mistakes, they are actually outstanding players. Players like Song,Wilshere, Nasri and Walcott showed remarkable improvements over the last season break. So I think the experience we are asking for is already in the squad, and Wenger needs to keep these players together, let go of some of the fring players that have to shown enough improvement, and that have to put in enough effort, and just and a few quality players in positions that they are needed, and most importantly, tell them like he told them at half time against Liverpool last season, they have to show that they deserve to be wearing the colours of THE ARSENAL, like players like Thierry Henry showed…


  12. Posted by Sammer Arsene on April 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    You’ve spoken well, but i need to remind many people of what Arsene said when we were about going into transition (i.e building new stadium) “Now, we can’t afford spending big for seasons to come………..etc.”. am i happy that Arsene is not winning trophies for us? NO. but Arsenal is not a disaster, it is just a matter of time and some lucks. this season has made me believe that we are getting there, soonest only few (real football followers like you will remember this period). Like i’ve always said………. “ARSENE KNOWS”. Thanks


  13. Posted by ZEZE on April 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Great stuff…..


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