Wenger Reactive and Conte Proactive =18 Point Gap – Are we Optimistic this is Changing?

Reactive not Proactive

After our performance in the FA Cup final defeat of Chelsea, optimism levels for next season, rose substantially, amongst many of our supporters. Justifiably, some would say. However, whilst I was delighted with the way we ended last season, I am not yet convinced that Arsene has miraculously rediscovered what it takes to lead us back to the pinnacle of English football.

I have seen supporters lauding Arsene for successfully changing our formation but the first question that comes to mind, is why did it take him so long to make the change? It is easy to coin the ‘it’s better late than never’ phrase and granted the change of formation played a significant part in our FA Cup success. The reality is though, that it came too late to arrest our descent into fifth place.

One of my frequent criticisms of Arsene is that he is not proactive in terms of reacting to in game situations. Anyone who watched us play regularly last season will testify that it was evident that changes needed to be made in terms of how the team was being set up tactically, in order to get the best out of players such as Granit Xhaka for instance.

Like most things these days, Arsene usually gets there eventually; it just takes him longer than the rest of us. Another example of this in my opinion is the delayed inclusion of Rob Holding on a regular basis. Some supporters will argue that his performances towards the end of the season, proved Arsene’s decision to hold him back, to be correct.

However, with the exception of the opening day defeat at home to Liverpool, Rob looked confident and composed in his early season performances. Whilst he made mistakes, like all young players do, he was able to quickly recover from them. Often playing his way out of trouble in a manner that we have rarely seen from the likes of Gabriel, if at all.

Holding held back to long

It is clear that Holding is an exciting prospect but I wish the supporters who have titled him the new ‘Tony Adams’, believe me, there has been a few, would give it a rest. Why Arsenal supporters are obsessed with labelling young players or new signings, as the new anyone is beyond me. As a fan base, why can’t we let him develop without any added pressure and allow him to be Rob Holding?

Finishing eighteen points behind Chelsea, in fifth last season, should not be acceptable for anyone associated with the club. An opinion that I retain, despite our FA Cup success and one that even the most hardened supporters of Arsene, should agree with, but most likely, won’t. The sizeable points gap between Chelsea and us just serves to further demonstrate the difference having a proactive manager can make.

Antonio Conte’s decision to switch to three at the back was the catalyst for Chelsea’s title success. Who knows what could have happened, had Arsene not waited until the latter stages of the campaign? At least he has acted early in this summer’s transfer market. The additions of Sead Kolasinac and record signing Alexander Lacazette, will improve us, on paper at least, in two positions that many supporters had long identified, as being in need of strengthening. Particularly a centre forward.

New Boys

At times last season, I questioned whether Nacho Monreal was finished at the highest level. His performances were well below the high level that he had consistently delivered in previous seasons. However, I also suggested that this was perhaps down to him receiving very little protection or assistance from Alex Iwobi. A player, who was overplayed as much as Rob Holding was underplayed, by Arsene.

In a similar manner to the rest of the players, Nacho’s form improved significantly after we changed our formation. With him becoming arguably the most impressive performer of our central defenders, when playing as part of a back three. A role that may become his permanent one, following Kolasinac’s arrival. The Bosnian appears, unusually, physically imposing for a full back, which should help him adjust to the demands of English football.

The signing of Lacazette, is one that divides opinion amongst supporters. What doesn’t these days? Some believe him to be world class, whilst others see him as a second rate, overpriced flat track bully from a poor French league. Whilst I consider it premature to call him world class, that is an overused term; his goal scoring pedigree cannot be questioned. With him scoring against both Monaco and PSG and netting seven goals in European competition last season.

Some will point to Bafetimbi Gomis, formerly of Swansea, scoring twenty league goals in Ligue 1 last season, as evidence of a lack of quality with the French top division. Others have suggested that Monaco progressing to the semi final of the Champions League, last season, demonstrates a higher standard in Ligue 1, than its given credit for. Although I do not think the strength of the top side in any league, is necessarily a good indicator of the overall standard.

Debut goal will be first of many

Admittedly, in some of the games that I have seen Lacazette play, his first touch and work rate, were not always, overly impressive. Still, all players have off days and I am more than prepared to give Alexandre the benefit of the doubt because of the attributes that he does bring. Which is pace, movement and clinical finishing. I have every confidence that he will deliver goals for us and when you see clubs paying £50m for a full back; his transfer fee could prove to be a bargain in the end.

With new players joining the club, inevitably some will be leaving it. Although the process of allowing those considered being surplus to requirements or deadwood, to leave, has not yet begun. After not being given a fair crack of the whip by Arsene, it would appear Lucas Perez is one player certain to depart. I would expect Kieran Gibbs, Matthieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell to join him for a start. Sadly, Wojciech Szczesny is likely to be heading for the exit door too.

Matured in Rome

Ability wise, I believe Szczesny is the best goalkeeper we have. He combines the shot stopping of Ospina with the height and presence of Petr Cech. His attitude problems have been well documented but after two impressive years in Italy, without any behaviour issues, I would be prepared to give him an opportunity in pre-season to prove that he has matured on and off the pitch. Unfortunately, despite getting a lot right this summer, I don’t think Arsene sees it the same way.

The addition of Jens Lehmann to the clubs coaching staff is another positive move on Arsene’s part this summer, provided he has not mellowed into a yes man in recent years. He could not have, could he? Let’s hope Arsene continues to get it right before the start of the new campaign. It would be nice to start a season with optimism instead of the feeling of frustration from recent years…

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7 Responses to Wenger Reactive and Conte Proactive =18 Point Gap – Are we Optimistic this is Changing?

  1. Richard July 16, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    AW is not even reactive as he only changes when the situation forces him to. What’s going on at present has nothing to do with the Arsenal
    Heritage just the Wenger ego and his determination to leave on a high, it’s just taken him 10 years + make changes that the supporters could see, just not the experience one. Go before you do anymore damage and your reputation is like you, a busted flush.

  2. dharma_steve July 16, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    Great Point. Chesea just signed Tiemoue Bakayoko . We have been underbidding for Thomas Lemar for over a month. If the Mr Bean tribute act, Arsene Wenger, would have put up 50mill we would have Lemar and Chelsea would have had to struggle to get Tiemoue Bakayoko. I remember Wenger faffing around with Juan Mata to reduce his 17mill buyout clause, for ages, and then Chelsea putting their money where their mouth is, and of course buying him. I like Wenger but he is damaged goods. Something is wrong inside, he has no urgency. Right now Riyad Mahrez and William Carvalho want to come to this club, and only Arsene can snatch crap players from the mouth of the Lion of top players. We cannot even get quality players who WANT to come to this club. What a ninny.

  3. Danny Richards July 16, 2017 at 11:54 am #

    On point. Le Fraud is years behind the younger managers when it comes to tactics

  4. Richard July 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Mmm you say conte is proactive yet he only changed system after defeats to Liverpool and us , that would suggest he is reactive but just a little faster than arsene wenger.
    You then go on to point out about a need for a centre forward now this is utter drivel again your blurting out a regurgitated trope to prove your point about wenger. Why is your point about a centre forward drivel let’s look at Chelsea Tottenham and city now all had twenty plus centre forwards but only one of them wins the title. Now of course it’s not also the best defensive that wins regularly the team with best defensive record finishes second so the team that wins doesn’t always score most goals or concede the least amount of goals but is somewhere in between. The thing most common is they fight for each other they are consistent in their performance levels.
    Many people say wenger is past it he needs to go they regurgitate points made by media and people with no irrefutable evidence to back their claims. What other manager has gone unbeaten in the premier league era not ferguson not the self proclaimed one not conte not Mancini not ranieiri only wenger and he took the team on a 49 game unbeaten run. Yes in the past I know but the manager is still the same person and I always watch games back on the TV after I get home from the match because like anyone the emotion of winning and losing clouds judgement so I re watch the match afterwards and I can tell you wenger is as hurt and annoyed when the team loses especially if they are poor with their basics I have seen it now I will use an example the league cup exit to Bradford now I went to the match and as you can imagine I was despondent and angry after the game yet as always I watched the game back. There was point when it’s uite clearly picked up by microphones when we were giving ball away wenger saying just pass the fucking ball, now this Ivor me shows his passion desire and need to win.

  5. Danny Richards July 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    Blah Blah Blah, pull your head out of Le Frauds arse Richard. Took him two decades to realise that he can change formations but its people like you who accept mediocrity and keep him in a bloody job. Moron.

  6. Victor Thompson July 17, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Nick, I am amazed. I have to say that it is uncanny how much of what you have to say is exactly what I have said in past comments and articles. I am delighted that there are other like minded fans. I wrote in October, that we needed to change to a back three including Holding. I have mentioned the flaws in Monreal and questioned the lack of cover from Iwobi whilst at the same time suggesting that Iwobi was a big boy for his age and perhaps he had outgrown his energy. I agree with you that he was getting too much play time too soon. He did suffer from “burn out” at the end of the season.

    Three seasons ago we were interested in Lacazzete when he played his team in the Championship and he was anonymous. As I recall he played for Lyon at that time. I wait to see how he performs now, before I pass judgement, but he is certainly not one of the big names who would make you lick your lips at the thought of him playing for Arsenal.

    As for the two comments above, I prefer Richard to Danny Richard and I hope we see more of sensible debate than insults.

  7. Danny Richards July 17, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    Jog on victor

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