Arsenal are in a position to win the Premier League BUT should Wenger take all the credit?


In the weeks that have passed since I last penned my thoughts, three successive home victories followed up by two successive away draws, has resulted in the team staying in contention for the league title as well as progressing to the fourth round of the FA Cup, where we will face a home tie against Burnley, a positive return in the eyes of most Arsenal supporters.

Sadly, not even this unbeaten sequence of results that included a potentially tricky visit to Anfield to face an unpredictable Liverpool side and a notoriously difficult away clash at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium, all with several key players missing through injury, could prevent the now habitual bitter exchange of opinions taking place between members of the clubs fan base on social media sites, with many seemingly intent on continuously attempting to justify their views and prove those belonging to fellow supporters, wrong at every available opportunity.

It has become increasingly evident in recent months, that some supporters are content to change their judgement on Wenger on a game by game basis, a statement supported by reading many of the comments posted on Arsenal fan sites. However, my own views on the manager are ones that have been formed over a number of years and therefore remain consistent despite a positive or negative result occurring in any singular game. Should we finally land the league title for the first time in more than a decade, I would still consider my past criticisms to be more than justified, regardless of the obvious jubilation a title success this year would bring.

There will undoubtedly be supporters who would consider winning the title to be the perfect response from Arsene to those of us who criticised him for the lack of transfer activity in the summer. However the reality is that not even a man who some believe ‘knows’ could possibly have predicted just how below par the campaigns of some of our expected title rivals would be and whilst it is true that we can only beat what and what is put in front of us, were we to go on and win the league this season, it would be have to be put down to a variety of reasons. Yes an improvement in some areas on our part but also being heavily assisted by the poor campaigns being experienced by other clubs. Last season’s champions, Chelsea, currently sitting twenty two points off the current league leaders, Leicester City, in fourteenth place as well as Manchester United failing to deliver once more, offering clear evidence of that.

Ozil now Mr Consistent

Ozil now Mr Consistent

The most obvious areas of the side where I can acknowledge that improvements have been made this season are unsurprisingly associated with the form of Mesut Ozil who has finally become our Mr Consistent after two seasons of inconsistency where his displays were either brilliant or simply anonymous. Of course in between the posts, where Petr Cech has performed admirably in a position that some of us had frequently criticised Arsene’s failure to address an obvious weakness that had, up until recently, existed since the departure of Jens Lehmann at the end of his first spell at the club. Whether a replacement first choice goalkeeper would have been targeted this summer had the opportunity to sign Cech not been presented on a platter to Wenger, remains a subject open to debate.

Top Class

Top Class

The continued improvement and consistency displayed by Olivier Giroud and the unsung hero that is Nacho Monreal is also deserving of praise. As is the team and managers new found realisation that we don’t necessarily need to dominate possession in order to achieve victory and at times a more pragmatic approach to proceedings can be equally beneficial.

Another situation that has become predictable and increasingly tedious is when the same players are continuously targeted for criticism or abuse by supporters whenever the team has failed to secure victory, with Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud being the biggest scapegoats. Whilst I accept that both players have their faults, most noticeably Mertesacker’s obvious lack of pace and Giroud’s inability to convert some of the openings that come his way, I do feel that some of our supporters lack the understanding of the game which would enable them notice the qualities that both players do bring to the side. Per regularly makes vital interceptions due to his ability to read the game and Olivier’s hold up and link up play is superb, quite simply neither are anyway near as regularly culpable for disappointing results as some would have you believe.

Undeserving scapergoats

Undeserving scapergoats

Whilst criticising individual players should perhaps be discouraged, it is neither Mertesacker or Giroud that have been failing to perform at the required standard in recent weeks, with both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain putting in very disappointing displays of late and looking the players most susceptible to losing their places in the side when the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin begin to return to full fitness.  Both England stars have  arguably fallen behind the steadily improving Joel Campbell in the pecking order due to his far greater work rate. Fingers crossed that both players are quickly able to rediscover their confidence and form.

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On a final note, it is time some supporters realised that criticising the manager, or the players come to that, does not make anyone less of a supporter and none of my criticisms of Wenger have never been of a personal nature or ‘hate fuelled’ as some suggest about those of us who dare to point out his mistakes and although I am of the opinion that further successes could and perhaps should have been achieved during his tenure when you consider the players and teams he’s had under his guidance.  I will always be grateful to Arsene for what he has achieved and may yet still achieve during his Arsenal career, moments that I count not only as my happiest days in football but some of the happiest in my general life too. At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for the club, we just have different views on how to achieve it and for me it’s quite simple, if the manager makes the decisions that I perceive to be right, then he will regain my support.

Time to stick together and, as always, get behind the team, starting with this weekend’s visit of Chelsea….

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12 Responses to Arsenal are in a position to win the Premier League BUT should Wenger take all the credit?

  1. udozo January 24, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    Am concern with the way we expose our player to the other opponent on blog,it doesn’t gaurantee them safety,they should be careful how they talk of there effectiveness

  2. gunnerpete January 24, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    Well Nick, as a life long AFC supporter aged 31, you have not really seen any of the shite times that real supporters like me aged 73 and a Gunner since I was seven. I followed the team for so many years not just without a trophy but without even finishing in the top 10. Think on that son whilst trying to justify any back stabbing remarks about Arsene. With my vast knowledge of the true AFC I can tell you and your mates for nothing that winning all those trophies at the start of his managerial term, plus agreeing to surviving without funds for 6/7 year whilst giving us a fantastic new stadium, is a masterpiece of management. Something that Fergy and Maureen would never have managed. These super star managers hailed a great have only proved to me that if you have £200 mill per year to spend ,you can buy several trophies per year. That is not management. Management is keeping your club in the top group without funds and having to sell your top players (that you personally have made) to keep the club there. I like the thought that a lot of the anti Arsene group are feeling quite embarrassed now that Arsene has created history again making us the greatest FA cup team ever, and being the first manager to win the double twice. But I suspect that most of the doubters most of whom are too young to think) will never be happy until he retires. My own opinion is that he may bow out if we win the title this year… ending his fantastic career with two FA cup wins and a title plus our super new stadium. God bless him.

    • Danny Jacobs January 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

      gunnerpete what a load of bollocks, you class yourself as a real gooner but not someone who’s life long because they are younger than you? Nonsense, people can only judge on what they have seen and Nick talks sense. He’s no less of a ‘real gooner’ than you just because he’s younger. Lose the chip on your shoulder

      • gunnerpete January 28, 2016 at 9:59 am #

        What a sad little git you are and I assume too young to every base your bile on facts. Comapre Arsene with ALL the others you admire and think ‘what if he had been given half the money that Maureen or Man C or Fergie had to spend every year, what would he have achieved’? The fact is that before his agreement to go years without funds and to sell our top stars to help fund HIS stadium, he had already become our most successful manager ever…BUT there is no way you will agree with the truth sunshine because I guess you are of school age and have never stood in all weathers for 18 years with even finishing in the top four let alone win a trophy. One day you pray for an Arsene to come along believe me.

        • Brian Barnes January 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

          Gunnerpete, it would seem that you are unable to articulate a response without becoming bitter, patronising or insulting towards anyone younger than you. It makes me laugh that you say ask what wenger would he have won had he had more to spend, well in the last two or three seasons he’s had the funds funds available and not spent them. With a bit more tactical nous and some tweaking of his philosophies, we’d have won the league title not just a couple of FA Cups, which for the record, is a competition that is 3rd on the big clubs list of priorities, we would also be 5 points clear of Leicester instead of 3 points behind. What you have seen in the past holds no reverence to the present and you are nothing but a silly old fool who has his head buried in the sand if you think it does. The author hasn’t been completely negative either but your pompous arrogance won’t allow you to see that, you sir, are a moron.

          • gunnerpete January 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

            Oh dear another genius with no experience of what it is to be a true Gunner. So again in your eyes ‘don’t bother to win the FA cup’ its only 3rd rate. What a pillock you are mate. I rather be a moron and old and talk facts than sit back with a sanctimonious attitude your comments a riddle with. Go and support a Ruski or Arab team mate and leave AFc to real fans

          • Danny February 1, 2016 at 11:31 am #

            I knew it wouldn’t be long before you resorted to telling those on here who dare to disagree with you,to go and support someone else as that’s the usual immature nonsense that comes from those who believe Wenger can do no wrong.

            Reading through the comments, Brian didn’t say the FA Cup was third rate, just that it would behind the Champions League and Premier League league title on the likes of Man City’s list of priorities and I completely agree, would you really choose to win the FA Cup above the other two competitions?

            If you would then it’s nothing short of laughable, I’m 52 and have been going to every home and away game for over 40 years so I certainly feel that I’ve earned my stripes when offering an opinion.

            Stop twisting the words that people write on here to suit your own argument and read what people are actually writing, you might learn something but I very much doubt it, you seem like the kind of fellow who would walk in on his wife being given a good seeing to by Wenger and solely blame your wife, in fact I’d guess that you would probably stick yours in Wenger for good measure.

            Enjoy the sand that your delusional head is clearly buried in.

  3. Victor Thompson January 24, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Good morning Nick,

    I agree with your article100%. I was going to write an article myself but there is no need to. You have said everything I would have done. I take your point about the abuse anyone who criticises Wenger gets, even if your criticism is balanced with praise for the good things he has done.

    If you look at the comments on the circular Graham Perry is getting on “The Gooner” you will see many examples. Graham is a very intelligent writer and always provides interesting and balanced articles but according to some of his critics he is almost an illiterate moron and a traitor.

    I welcome debate and constructive criticism, it shows a healthy diversity of opinions; but the bile directed at genuine fans by those with tunnel vision who blindly follow everything Wenger does, with an alternative opinion is sad.

    I think you should brace yourself for what is to follow.

    Victor Thompson

  4. Tasos January 24, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    IF, and it is still far from certain, Arsenal do manage to win the Premier League this season then Arsene Wenger will certainly not deserve all the credit.

    Just 99.999999999999 per cent of it.

    Arsenal’s greatest ever manager.

    Merci beaucoup Arsene Wenger.

  5. The Prince January 24, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    you sound very intelligent with your argument , very intelligent indeed , tell me something , if Mr Wenger fails to win it , who are you going to blame ? Don’t answer that , we all know the answer , its people like you with your negative unjustified criticism who ruin everything , am almost your age but clearly I can see what this man has achieved , if he deserves to be bashed by people like you when results don’t go our way , he deserves to be given all the credit when the team lifts the big one , until then you and Piers can trade notes .

  6. John Stepney January 25, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    The Prince, I think if you read the article again you will find that it is you who is actually negative, a negative person chooses to focus on the perceived negatives after all.

    In the article, it says that the team and the manager have learned how to win games without dominating possession and talks about what Mertesacker and Giroud bring to the side, all very positive if you ask me.

    The article also states how thankful the author is for what the manager has and may still achieve but typically, an AKB like yourself only chooses to read what they want to read.

    Pull your head out the sand and then you might just see the faults of Arsene Wenger that the intelligent ones amongst us can see.

    Good post Nick, Wenger showed his faults yesterday with the substitution of Giroud although Mertesacker let you and the rest of us down yesterday mate.

  7. Nick Birch January 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Thank you for the comments everyone.

    I know from previous articles that we have similar views Victor and I completely agree with what you have just said,it never ceases to amaze me that some people completely ignore the praise or positives that I write about Wenger because they are almost too outraged that I have dared to criticise him.

    We are all human and we all make mistakes, if someone makes a good decision then I will praise them in the same way I will criticise them if they make a bad one, it’s not personal and never has been, I simply tell it as it is.

    I have publicly admitted that Campbell has proved people wrong, including me but Arsene is incapable of holding his hands up to his errors, which is a bad trait in anyone.

    I’m now considering penning my thoughts regarding the Giroud substitution on Sunday…..

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