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Does Arsene Wenger deserve the praise he is currently receiving?
Arsenal sit top of the Premier League table having won 5 games on the trot, top of their Champions League group after a emphatic victory over Napoli and into the 4th round of the League Cup with the youngsters scraping past West Brom on penalties.
There is no doubting that Arsenal have started the season fantastically. The signing of Mesut Ozil has transformed the team not only in their style of play but also in raising the confidence throughout the club. Aaron Ramsey is currently the most in form player in England, Olivier Giroud is looking a complete forward and on top of these Arsenal have finally found defensive stability with the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, protected brilliantly by Mathieu Flamini in front of them. The team looks balanced, combining flair and clinical finishing with a solidarity that has gone amiss so often over the last few seasons.
For this Arsene Wenger deserves a huge amount of credit but my question is does he deserve to be praised as highly as this after his worst period as Arsenal coach (albeit being financially restrained by the new stadium) and after years of people questioning whether he is the right man for the job.
My point is that Arsenal have been successful after finally spending some money- doing what the fans have been demanding for years. It didn’t take a genius to see that Arsenal required some defensive training, a holding midfielder and a creative player to challenge the big boys. This has been asked of Arsenal for 5/6 years now and finally after changing their ways success has followed. Its quite simple really, sort out the frailties and normally things improve.
But why did it take so long? Hundreds of players have been and gone over the last few transfer windows yet Arsenal didn’t compete for them because the squad was always deemed good enough.
It just seems to me that Arsene has only done what was necessary of him. He hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary or something that we were not capable of. He realized that a mobile holding midfielder with tenacity and aggression provides the platform for a balanced team unit- he signed Flamini. Granted a masterstroke but only after letting him go 5 seasons earlier.
Arsene has only addressed the areas that Arsenal needed to address- surely that’s the job of any worker in any profession? So why is he being praised as if he is Jesus in human form for doing the bare minimum for a club which had a £70m transfer kitty.
I say this because I still look at Arsenal’s squad and see that there are still issues. I understand the bad luck in the injury department that we currently have that happens every season and the glaring error is still the issue of a forward. Olivier Giroud is in the form of his life and he completely deserves all the success he is making for himself for his hard work. But say he had been playing like last season? Where is the competition to push him to play better? Its quite embarrassing that Nicklas Bendtner is still at the club and playing football. If he was close to leaving the club then surely he was deemed not good enough. However his move fell through so why after that does it mean he is talented enough for Arsenal Football Club. He is only there because we are stuck with him, so headlines like ‘Bendtner can be unstoppable’ are frankly embarrassing.
I am writing this article not because I feel Arsene Wenger should be fired, not because I am negative but more because I feel the media loving of Arsenal is very premature. We are 6 games into the season with a very thin squad, albeit performing brilliantly under the circumstances and Wenger has finally got his group of players believing in themselves and playing some of the best football I have seen since 2003-04.
But it’s more because I don’t think that currently the praise is entirely deserved. All that Wenger has done is sign the players the club needed to and provided a competitive squad. We haven’t won the league yet so I feel that this praise should be saved for then if the time comes. If he can get the squad playing the way they have been all season and adds a striker in January then Arsenal will compete no doubt. But give it some time; we know how quick the media are to get on Arsenal’s back after a few bad results.
I think that Arsene may have forgotten how much a new signing can change the mood surrounding a football club. A £42.5m signing puts bums on seats and the excitement to see a new player is one of the best feelings as a fan. Signings also boost the team, new players inject a new lease of life into a side and shake it up a bit. Players feel that they have to step up their game to avoid losing their place- the benefits are never ending.
Modern football has changed, spending money is obligatory to succeed and normally when you spend it in the right areas trophies follow. After years of spending very little Arsenal have loosened the purse strings and are pushing the financial heavy weights. They have bought where they needed to, if they didn’t they would be left behind again. But does this warrant such high praise from all corners of the football world? For me, doing your job and putting right the wrongs is what is required from a football manager.
Lets not take this article in the wrong way, I am as delighted as the next fan about the way Arsene are playing and doing so through their own sustainable method. The signing of Ozil was incredible and alongside Flamini, Arsenal look like a real football team once more. I just don’t want to get too carried away because I know how fickle Arsenal fans are- 2/3 bad results on the spin will bring negativity and will completely reverse the positive vibe around the club at the moment.
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