WTTGT Writer: Seb Segarra
The start of the 2011/12 season hasn’t been the greatest for Arsenal fans, with Fabregas finally joining Barca, no quality defensive recruits, Nasri pining for his exit, a dour draw with Newcastle, suspensions and injuries piling up, an unconvincing win against Udinese and a first loss at the Emirates stadium to Liverpool. Oh, and the second leg against Udinese in the Champions League qualifier and Manchester United away are next on the radar.
The fans seem to be turning on Arsène Wenger, and here are 10 reasons why they shouldn’t be:
1. The transfer window is open until August 31
Now this may seem an odd reason to trust in Wenger, particularly as he isn’t renowned for his spending sprees; however, he is still reportedly monitoring Eden Hazard, Phil Jagielka, Jadson, Yann M’Vila, Gary Cahill and Mauro Zarate. None of these players will be cheap so this could be indicative of a change in spending policy.
2. Key players have left before
We have seen big players leave before. Even in recent times, we have seen players such as Patrick Vieira leave only for others such as Fabregas to stand up and be counted. Flamini, Henry, Lehmann and Ashley Cole all left and people were doubtful of quality replacements. The new era of players starts here and Wenger will let his players know it.
3. Wenger has a great record of achievement
Granted, it may not be as trophy-laden as many fans would like, however, Arsenal have qualified an amazing 14 times in a row for the Champions League group stages if they can get past Udinese. The real money keeping the club going is owed to European competition involvement and many fans underestimate this. Liverpool found this out at their peril and has had to invest heavily just to regain a place in the top four.
4. Wenger’s plan of raising youth is coming of age
The quality is getting better and now Wilshere, Miquel, Frimpong, Gibbs and Lansbury are all looking decent enough as starters or cover. Wenger has got it right and just needs to find suitable experience to guide these young players to the trophies that they should be winning. The experience has been building up and a few have a number of international caps that would put many other ‘experienced’ players to shame. The growing up phase is nearing completion, and soon Wenger will have the team he has strived to build for so long.
5. Who would replace him?
The phrase “you don’t know what you, have until it is gone” could be eerily close to how Arsenal fans would feel if Wenger did leave. The replacements available wouldn’t be particularly bad, however none will be of the calibre that Wenger has helped fans grow to expect. A top four side on a shoe string budget? Not many managers can show off a medal haul over the years as impressive as this shrewd man, especially with as little finance invested.
6. Injuries and suspensions have struck key players
Granted, Wenger should have developed his training schedule to help make injuries less frequent, particularly after recent injury-stricken seasons, however losing Wilshere and 2 or 3 first choice defenders cannot be easy. Add to this the indiscipline, which again should have been addressed, and the team cannot be judged when only at half-strength. Wenger would undoubtedly have been more successful in recent times had injuries not been so frequent.
7. Wenger is addressing his own weakness
Before, he seemed to form attachments to sulky or underperforming players. Now, these same players are being shown the exit because Wenger has realised how much harm these rotten apples can cause to team harmony. This simple move by the manager could prove decisive come May.
8. A bad start doesn’t help, but good managers can turn it around
Manchester United have proven time and time again that major trophies are won in May, not any earlier. A good start is obviously a boost, but it is far from vital. To write off a team that has seen a lot of changes after just two league matches is naive, as history has proven. Wenger will know this and be actively encouraging the experienced players to lead a united front, with the incentive being trophies.
9. It isn’t as if Wenger has not been competing for trophies in the last 6 seasons
A Champions League final, a League Cup final, being a serious contender for Premier League titles (albeit only until February/March) and Mr Wenger would not appreciate it if his Emirates Cup wins were overlooked. Don’t forget that Sir Alex Ferguson had a barren trophy-less spell at United before embarking on a trophy-filled next couple of decades. Wenger has been consistent enough to keep Arsenal in the top few teams in the world and good finances. Some teams’ supporters only wish for that.
10. Wenger isn’t called ‘Le Professor’ for nothing
He knows what he is doing, having been in difficult situations before. The intelligence that this man holds surpasses many others and just as everyone thinks he has lost it, a genius plan develops. The silence often labelled ‘lack of ideas’ is often just him biding his time and thinking about all implications of his actions and words.
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