Arsenal Crushed by the Weight of Wenger’s Waiting Game

Is that a wave? Or a 'wait'?

Is that a wave? Or a ‘wait’?

Will he stay or will he go?

Not sure about you, but I’m really sick of Arsène Wenger’s new contract saga and, for one, found absolutely clumsy – at best – and disrespectful what he said post-West Brom, when he claimed he made a decision and “we will know soon. Very soon.”

This is not a f***ing reality show, Arsène.
We don’t need any of this suspense, at all, especially after four losses in the last five games.

Glad you made your decision, please inform everyone so that we can move on and focus on the most complex top-4 run-in we had in years.
The sooner the better, whatever the decision will be, so that we can finally focus on our games, try to put together some acceptable performances and stop this pathetic pantomime that I refuse to call football.

Whatever the final outcome will be, we will certainly face a very difficult summer as Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil are yet to agree new deals – and most certainly won’t – while other players like Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey will be out of contracts within a year; there are talks of a new sporting director being hired but my feeling is that nothing will change – except a few players here and there.

Once again, we’re reading of a war chest at Arsène Wenger’s disposal, a list of new players being scouted, a fresh new approach on training and tactics – exactly what we were told last summer, and the one before, and the one before…

Let’s not forget that our stingy manager spent over £ 250m in the last four years and the team doesn’t look any better than it did four years ago; it does, on paper, but certainly not on the pitch.

The manager spent big and well but the team isn’t clicking and we are regularly overplayed or overrun by opponents.

The backbone of our team, composed of Petr Čech, Lauren Koscielny, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez could have been fantastic but reality is telling us each of them has failed to deliver, although in different ways.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper is experiencing arguably the worst season of his entire career, conceding very avoidable goals and looking less assured as days go on; our captain is probably our most reliable performer but, at almost 32, not one for the future; Granit Xhaka isn’t the finished product we hope we had already, I am adamant he’ll turn into a fantastic playmaker but he isn’t played to his strength, at the moment; Mesut Özil is slowly drifting away from the team, after a brilliant first-half of the season, and has become the scapegoat to all Arsenal’s shortages, while Alexis Sánchez is scoring a lot and also providing assists but is completely incapable of playing for the team, often looking for the individual moment of brilliance instead of putting his undoubted qualities at the team’s disposal.

What is Arsène Wenger going to do about this, if he’s still in charge next year?

As little as I know, compared to the +2,000 games managed by the Frenchman, I see a team with almost half of the players who are approaching the end of their contracts; I see a team enduring the worst spell of results in nearly 20 years and facing a real challenge to break into the top-4, with some big games looming and the confidence level not really sky-high; I see a team tactically lost, not good enough to play the élite possession-based football we see at Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona but also not resilient enough to play high-intensity, counter-attacking football we see at Chelsea, Atletico Madrid or Borussia Dortmund.

Of course I am not an established football manager but I see a team where performances don’t win or lose you a place in the starting XI, a team where a soon-to-be 32 years old player got injured in consecutive seasons – Santi Cazorla – is so vital that whole idea of how the team should play football has collapsed and a team who lost any fighting spirit, commitment and desire.

In all of that, the board is silent and Arsène Wenger is allowed to publicly talk about whether he will or won’t sign a new deal; basically, the man is self-employed and his employers are happy to hide behind his imposing although divisive figure.

Arsène Wenger surely is a man of principles, a man of honour and a complete class act but his positioning within the team is becoming unhealthy and counter-productive: no employee should be allowed enough power to decide his own fate, his own timing and mode to call it a day and – if we consider that no player is bigger than the Club – then no manager shouldn’t be, either.

Arsène Wenger seems to believe he can turn things around and prove doubters wrong, which I don’t have any problem with, but at this point I would expect the board to come out and publicly confirm the signature and the full support to the manager; of course it will generate a proper s**tstorm within the fan base but it would at least consolidate the manager’s position and send a clear message to the players.

If, contrarily, the board is going on with interviews with other managers, they should be equally bold and finally cut the rope that links Arsène Wenger and the Club since 1996.

Instead, they playing a very convenient waiting game.

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