Amidst the wreckage and the rubble of last night and the miles of prose this morning on social media, I would like to ask a question of all AKB fanatics. I apologise in advance here if I am offending any reasonable person who supports Arsene and does not consider himself a fanatic.
Do you think that for the last 5 years, Arsene has deserved £7/8m per year? If you do, would you kindly explain what criteria he has fulfilled to show that he has? I don`t want to hear history lessons of what he had achieved up to 2004. I am well aware of all of those. I am more interested in what he has achieved in the barren years since 2004 ( excluding the two glorious FA Cups).
How has he improved the team in the rest of the time he has been earning a leading salary? When you are considering your reply, please do not include his status as a man. We all know he is a man of principle, a man who keeps his word, a man who is loyal to his employer and his players. None of those attributes assist in assessing his capability as a manager. If they did, I`d like to present my CV for consideration for the job. Not everyone will agree with my self-assessment but if I did have him or her, I would be as qualified as Arsine on an objective assessment of his present status. I don`t have his glorious past or all of the experience which he has obtained for his 20+ years in football management, but in truth it is not doing him any good at present.
The Ostrichs of the AKB brigade choose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the failings he has and the mistakes that cost us points and titles in recent years. His failures in the transfer windows (the ones that got away,) his tactical naivety, his failure to assess the flow of the game when it is going against us and his inability to change tack.
Think of all the top managers today and we all come up with the same ones; Guardiola, Mourinho, Klopp, Ancelotti, Benitez, Tuchel, Conte and Allegri. All of them either have won more than him or are rising stars and none of them is British. I cannot blame Wenger for the lack of British managers but it does give a clue as to why his 20 years in London has not been reflected in greater knowledge of the game. If it had, he would be in the list of top managers.
The product of the last 20 years was on view last night. He fielded a defensive team with only one out and out striker in Sanchez, Ozil was a hopeful link between defence and attack and Oxlade Chamberlain was what the French used to call “the water carrier” or workhorse to carry us out of defence. Xhaka was there to provide the raking passes from deep, which would decimate their defence. For 25 minutes it worked. Kos and Mustafi played closer to each other than they have of recent weeks and Bellerin remembered that he was primarily a defender. Gibbs unfortunately was obviously given the same instructions as Monreal, which was to ignore his position on the left wing and instead patrol up and down the left edge of the box. That left the usual wide-open space on the wing, which the most dangerous winger in EU football was delighted to occupy. He inevitably scored a fantastic goal by skating past Gibbs and placing a wonderful shot inside the far post. The world and his dog knew that that was Robben`s trademark move and instead of sticking close to him, Gibbs let him drift inside and without a serious challenge he did the rest.
We weren`t finished at that point and indeed we managed to equalise. The main threat from Bayern was Lewandowski and he was being well marshalled by Kos and Mustafi, so we entered the second half with some optimism. That all changed when Kos had to go off injured. What was our solution? We have a very promising centre half in Holding who has not had much game time but when he has, he has played well alongside Mustaphi when Kos was off previously. Did we use him? No. On came Gabriel. A player of limited ability who has consistently failed at centre back. He has made many costly mistakes but Arsene thought he was the answer to one of the best CFs in world football,
There was an immediate effect. Panic in the ranks. No effective challenges at the heart of the defence, which forced our midfield to compress, back towards our back line. Thiago and Vidal strolled around spraying passes all over the place and it was a constant bombardment on to a defence, which crumbled. Time after time when we got the ball the player in possession did not know what to do with it. We had a collection of individuals who were shell-shocked and could not react. The malaise climaxed when Chamberlain gifted the ball to Thiago who fed it to Lewandowski and made it a nap hand. In fairness, until then, Chamberlain had been the pick of our midfield.
This morning, Wenger looked devastated and deflated. He did not try to protect his players with his usual banalities. They had no response. No spirit, no answers no mental preparedly and no fight. He might well have been looking in the mirror and describing himself. Had he prepared them for when things went wrong? Was there a plan B? Who were the focal points for the defenders and the midfielders to play the ball to? Was there anything he could have given them to deal with the onslaught that hit them after Kos went off? The answer was NO. As has been the case for at least 5 years, he could not come up with the plan or the tactics to change things when they go wrong.
What does he do now? Does he carry on as he has done for the last 10 years or does he buy better players? He has tried that and it has worked so well that his two best players have not re-signed yet and it is unlikely after last night that they will. If they leave, he will have to find at least five players who are as good or better than they are or we will sink even further. He cannot coach the players we have to extract better performances. He has proved that.
It is more than time to go. He should have gone two years ago while there was time for a top manager to improve the team we had, and buy two top class players. Draxler would and should have been one of them. As it is now, consider the list of managers above and ask yourself who would come here? Benitez would jump at it but he is not really top notch. Unfortunately, I cannot see any reason for an up and coming manager to come as they will get better rewards in the future from bigger clubs. I say that with a heavy heart, but the reality, which I dreaded has already happened. We are not an A list club! The other managers on the list are already with that sort of club or would only consider one.
Along with the accreditations that Arsene has earned, I am afraid that he is solely responsible for where we are now. It is like being on the Titanic when intelligent people knew the ship was going down whilst others who worshipped the Captain and believed all the hype about the unsinkable ship, turned a blind eye.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.