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On Wenger

A good result lifts the pressure on the manager, a bad result increases it. It is a rule that makes perfect sense in almost all debates over whether a manager should stay or go.

But when applied to Arsene Wenger, it makes absolutely no sense in either direction.

The idea that one good win strengthens the case for him to stay is as absurd as the idea that one bad defeat should strengthen the case for him to go. I’d even go so far as to say that just as one fine season should not merit a free pass for the next few years, one very bad season is not sufficient grounds for instant dismissal.

So while I happen to be one of those who think that his time is up, whether or not we secure Champions League status this year would neither strengthen nor weaken my sentiments. Had we missed out on Champions League qualification in 2005-06 I would never have dreamt of saying that alone was grounds for him to go and I would say the same now.

No, instead my sentiment is based on a very long view. The metric by which I make my judgement is that in 13 years, we haven’t once really, properly challenged for the title (as in been right up there in the final few games). Add to the fact that I don’t particularly see that changing and, there you are, I wouldn’t extend the manager’s stay.

But it is complicated. Firstly, because he is the most successful manager in our history and turning against him is the last thing almost all fans want to do. And secondly because what he has achieved since 2005 is, in it’s own way, remarkable. Not just Champions League qualification every season but progress to the group stages.

To dismiss that completely would be very foolish. Of course it matters. Winning significantly more games than you lose and playing in Europe’s premier competition year after year is not to be sniffed at. Not in any way.

And were Arsene Wenger investing money on my behalf and getting the equivalent decent but not spectacular returns of Champions League group stage qualification but no title challenge, I’d let him carry on investing that money, safe in the knowledge that my money was safe.

But he’s not investing my money. He’s managing my football team and I don’t need to be so cautious. Football is about daring to dream and accepting that just as things go up, things may go down. Carry on with Arsene Wenger and I can’t see us improving on where we are any time soon. Get rid of him and maybe his replacement will totally bomb. It would be a shame but that’s life. The reality is that when I’m old, it is those few great highs that will stick in my mind, not the great cumulative pile of steady decency. If that seems fickle on my part, then so be it.

What of those who run the club? They do undoubtedly have a role as custodians, one where they rightly act as a sensible counterbalance to the extreme ends of fan sentiment. But they also, inevitably, have their own self interest, one where the status quo is serving them OK. Here it is the job of the fans to act as the counterbalance and while few of us would feel comfortable actively protesting, I think we’re secretly glad that others do. I know I am.

I’ve already said how 13 years without a challenge and little prospect of improvement puts me in the no new contract camp. To that I’d add a fear that our place at the table we’ve occupied so consistently is becoming less rather than more secure.

The headlines and the viral videos are about fans scrapping in the stands and that is completely understandable.

I think it reasonable to argue that the club and manager should take some blame for this. That their refusal up until very recently to even acknowledge things were less than perfect has generated real anger.

But more than that the scrapping is an acknowledgement that this is an attempted footballistic defenestration like no other, one that leaves so many of us completely torn. I know I want him to go but then when I see him being bombarded with questions at press conferences my loyalty to a man who came into my life when I had only just started studying for my GCSEs suddenly kicks in.

It isn’t simple.

54 Responses to “On Wenger”

  1. Steve Rawlinson says:

    I am not secretly glad that others are protesting. I am undecided on the issue of whether Wenger should be offered a new contract but the protesting fans are embarrassing.

  2. Lexzy says:

    Arsene Wenger, as a topic, is becoming most divisive among us fans of Arsenal. The sad thing is seeing the man who has done so much, sacrificed so much becoming a subject of scorn. He has given the club a football identity that I fear he might lose all the goodwill his 21 years of service to club has given him. I am of the opinion that his undoing is his ability to provide and maintain a conducive work place for his subordinates (players, medics e.t.c.) to the extent that they are very comfortable.

    I, also, believe that his time is up. However, I don’t think the Board is prepared for his exit.

  3. Quentin says:

    For our great Manager to keep his legacy I’m of the opinion he must leave the scene at his own volition and be offered An honourable post up stairs

  4. slc gunner says:

    This is one where it’s time for the head to rule the heart. My best Arsenal-supporting years have been in the Wenger era. The Graham years were great too, but the football in the 96-06 era was simply amazing, and the good football still continues to an extent, but not the results. I started supporting the team in the late 70s – although we lost 3 of 4 cup finals in the 78-80 years, it was great to always have something to look forward to. Right now, we still have the FA Cup, but it does not have the same allure it once had, mainly because of the advent of the Champions League.
    I was willing to give Arsene the benefit of the doubt when his contract was renewed in 2014. We had just won the FA Cup, had our highest points total in years and the club had shown ambition with the purchase of Ozil at the start of 2013/2014.
    Three years on, the club has continued to show some ambition (although more could be shown) from a spending point of view, but we have stagnated. The excuse of having little money to spend, which was valid from 06-13, is no longer valid. Spurs spend less, Leicester spend less, and even Chelsea’s net spend in recent years (they have been clever with sales) has not been that high. We still play some good football at times, but we have not played well against the big teams. With the exception of Chelsea at home, we have not hit the heights against the rest of the big six in England, and we have been lacking in Europe against PSG (2 lucky draws) and Bayern.
    So part of me still wants Wenger to do the business and prove us all wrong. Part of me looks at the 2000-2001 season where we ended the season with 71 points (19 points adrift), but came back the following season and won the double. It took a while for players such as Pires and Ljungberg to “bed in”. But when it comes down to it, my head sees what has happened on the pitch this season and for those reasons, I have to side with the NoNewContract camp. I would love to see him go out on a high with the FA Cup, even if its allure is not what it once was.
    What do I think will happen: my gut feeling is that he will sign and stay. If he does, I will continue to support the team, but voice my criticisms at the same time.

  5. Scott Wheeler says:

    I agree with much of what has been said. But for me there is not enough recognition of the reality that we simply do not play good football anymore. So we haven’t competed for the league in 13 years AND we have been completely uninspiring to watch for several years. What’s left? What are we getting in return for our support? I’d rather have hope that the club truly wants success and that they want to return to a culture of playing high quality football – even if the two are not always delivered. Because if Wenger stays you can be guaranteed that neither will be delivered.

  6. PD says:

    These are dark days for anyone who loves Arsenal.
    I think Arsenal fans are (roughly) divided into 4 camps :
    1 – the loud, angry Wenger Out group. Those who think he’s a disgrace and done a terrible job for at least 10 years.
    (there are even some of these who think Wenger would have won nothing without being lucky enough to inherit THE back four)
    2 – those who want him out but are terribly sad at the prospect of him going, recognising that he is probably the single most important person in the history of the club
    (it’s him or Herbert Chapman let’s be honest – there’s no one else in contention)
    3 – those who have been frustrated by his performance the last few seasons, totally understand why a lot of people want him gone but would still like to see him stay
    (partly because of a vague hope he might miraculously turn it around but mostly because they’re terrified and/or sad at the thoughts of him going)
    4 – those who vehemently want him to stay because they still think he’s doing an amazing job.
    You know the type : talk up players Arsene has bought way beyond their actual capabilities, blame the referees/the FA/injuries/our fans etc etc for our woes.
    Anyone who criticises our players/Arsene is automatically no longer entitled to call themselves a fan.
    (if you want to see how far gone these people are just check out the response online to an interview with Charlie Nicholas a while back who basically said Coquelin was ok but we should upgrade to a better DM in the summer. Perfectly reasonable comment from one of the few pundits on TV who wears his Arsenal heart on his sleeve ? Of course not. Sheer outrage & personal abuse)

    2 & 3 are very similar in reality and a lot probably veer between both camps depending on their moods.
    1 & 4 are the problem. Like most people at the extreme ends in politics they see anyone who remotely disagrees with them as idiots & aren’t interested in any sort of reasoned debate.
    They would think it ridiculous if someone even told them their views were extreme.

    Sadly & predictably, the 2s & 3s are being lost in the noise. I’ve been strongly a 2 since the end of 2013-14 where Arsene (imo) threw away the league title. I said then I wanted him to go because the longer he stayed the harder it would be for : a) his replacement to get us back to the top & b) him to leave with the send-off he deserves.
    I would have loved to have been wrong but the last three years have proved me right I believe. 200m or so spent in the transfer market, a lot of it poorly. More money wasted on improved contracts for players who’ve done little to deserve it. (Theo for example) Contract extensions given to players with nothing left to offer for no good reason. (Rosicky,Arteta)
    A number of promising young players who haven’t developed as much as expected, or not at all. (Jenks, Gibbs, Rambo, Ox, Jack)
    The clear lack of leadership in the squad not addressed. The psychological scars inflicted on some of our best players due to their frustration with what’s happening around them. Alexis is obviously leaving because of it but I think others are suffering too. (Kos looks traumatised lately, like he can’t understand how it has come to this)

    I would also have to agree with Scott Wheeler. There seems to be still a lot of debate about sorting out our defensive problems but we really are quite a boring team to watch. Yes, we’re great to watch when it comes right but it happens so rarely it’s ridiculous. I think anyone would struggle to go through our league fixtures this season & come up with more than 10 games where we’ve been great entertainment.

    When it comes down to it though, I think all debate about whether Arsene will stay or go is irrelevant. He will sign, or more likely, has already signed. There is just no way he is leaving.

  7. longtallgooner says:

    This is a really well balanced post Goodplaya, and I agree with PD about being in camp 2. I think it doesn’t matter how successful your leadership is, if you’ve been in a position too long, yourself, the support team around you and the club become institutionalised and stale. I’ve not bothered commenting on this blog much this season because there has been absolutely no sign of any innovation. Other teams are quite happy for us to have possession and have quickly sussed out our defensive frailties, it’s largely ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ all over again.
    Three really sad things from this moment in our time: 1) Our young players were once held up to be the stars of the future, where are they now? 2) I can’t believe that with a defender of Steve Bould’s experience we seem to have so little defensive structure, we do have decent defenders when all is said and done. What is happening with our coaching structure and has Wenger failed to innovate at this level? 2) Why are we all dragged in to this ‘guess what’s in my head’ game? It’s bad enough having the Brexit uncertainty in our political lives without what is meant to be a bit of escapism giving us so much grief! The Board need to come clean about the direction of the club. They’re asking huge amounts of money out of us.

    If I’m feeling charitable perhaps Wenger is trying to deflect attention from the team and focus it on him, but what was once an injection of intelligence and style into English football, has now turned into a stubborn and almost bitter rancour – not pleasant to watch at all.

  8. MDP says:

    Some great words all round. I’ve definitely been in PD’s no.2 camp for 2 or 3 seasons now. I first came to this site 5+ years ago in defence of Arsene as I struggled to see who was better to replace him back then. I also felt he had earnt another chance and desperately wanted him to prove all the doubters wrong. I think most of us have only affection for Arsene which makes it all the more sad.

    The blueprint of the early Wenger sides of a solid, extraordinary back four, world class defensive midfielders like Vieira and Petit with sublime striking options like Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Overmars, Lunjgberg etc etc can’t be beat for me. I love that strong defence coupled with scintillating, speedy attacks. It was a tragedy that Arsenal just fell short in the Champions League but at least they will go down in history for the unbeaten season. I feel privileged to have so closely witnessed these sides but most importantly the answers for the future are all there in the past.

    Poor defending, weak midfield and sideways tippy tappy football has become so dull and ridiculously predictable. Sort out the back, dominate midfield and direct attack is what we all want to see back at Arsenal.

    It doesn’t matter which level of football you are watching (from top to bottom, country to country) , standing still and not improving can only bring a feeling of stagnation and boredom.

    I should again say, it’s not all about Arsene either. Stan, Gazidis and the board all need to be questioned alongside the manager. The club as a whole needs a complete revolution.

  9. MDP says:

    It should also be noted that although the early Wenger teams were exceptional to watch and certainly the best I’ve ever seen, the George Graham era stil holds some of my happiest memories. Personally speaking I feel others have a raw deal in not being immortalised as yet at the club. George Graham appears to be one of the forgotten men. The bung thing is all water under the bridge and it’s time that he was recognised. That Mickey Thomas goal will always be my favourite for the sheer weight of what it did and change it started. I missed the early seventies but I know others will have fond memories of the 71 double side. I’m really making the point that change ia inevitable, memories will always stay strong and now it’s time for change.

  10. Delve 348 says:

    Arsenal under Wenger are like The Labour Party under Corbyn. Still loads of support in the fan base/party, but some despairing in the fan base/party. Labour is comfortably a top four party. Arsenal have been a top four side for 20 years. Each has a decent man at the helm with honourable principles. Each is an organisation with history – but neither has any chance of winning the big prize. The idea of Arsenal winning another league title under Wenger is as fanciful as Labour winning a general election under Corbyn.

  11. King Henry says:

    Arsene Wenger has had plenty of time now to compete without a hand tied behind his back and he still looks a long way short. Arsenal have better resources than Liverpool and Spurs – and much, much better resources than Leicester. It is simply not good enough that Arsenal are not head-and-shoulders above these smaller clubs. That was what the new stadium was supposed to fix. It hasn’t. We were told we would be propelled into the European elite. We weren’t. The management has to be accountable. It isn’t.

  12. PD says:

    Here’s the killer for me. For the second consecutive season from Feb onwards, the biggest thing for every Gooner is the Totts not winning the league. They’re – unquestionably – a better side than us….and under the current two managers, it’s very hard to see that changing in future seasons. Nearly kills me to say that but it’s true….

  13. slc gunner says:

    Comical. Humiliating. Sakho back-healing out of his own box, chesting back to the keeper. It can get any worse than that. Big Sam lapping it up. I keep wondering how low this can go.
    No spine, gutless…not fit to wear the shirt as the fans sang loudly.

  14. slc gunner says:

    Don’t worry everyone, all is well in the world. Yaya Sanogo is back and banging in hat tricks for the U-23s.

  15. N7 says:

    Good post, ‘playa. As per, quality over quantity.

    This season is a particularly rotten one. I’d hate to see it all end for Arsene like this. Personally I’d like to see him come out any say next season is his last, and I’d be interested to see what a tweak to the squad and a a run at the league without the CL distraction would bring. If I could end the season now, I would!

  16. MDP says:

    Wow! Big words N7 after last nights humiliation. I don’t recall Arsenal ever playing this bad. It was a complete shambles especially in defence. Does this defence actually get any coaching? Don’t they teach you to stay on your feet? I’m literally speechless at times on how low we’ve sunk. I’m just cringing at the thought of playing out the season as things stand currently. The trip to White Hart Lane could be unbearable. Okay, Spurs actually haven’t won anything yet and are miles from matching our trophy haul but when have we ever dealt them such a blow? They managed to scrape a draw when we won the league at WHL, at least their team bothered to turn up that day. I fear how this could go now and whether our players have the steel to turn this around with Wenger managing them.

    The debate amongst ex professionals/pundits seems to toss between the manager and the character of the players. I think both are certainly in question here but when you consider that Theo Walcott was captain you have to question the guy who put this group of players together. The weak strength of character, lack of leadership and disorganisation amongst this group has to stop at the managers door.

    So, where do we go from here? I can only see one route which is Wenger walking asap. Yes, I would have loved him to go out on a high but he will always be held in high esteem with me regardless. It’s the only way I can see this being turned around and saving a bit of face even if we’re not to finish in the top four. Who’s out there that can shake things up a bit, apply some organisation and back to basics coaching? Is Steve Bould up to it? Could you bring Pat Rice back to work alongside Bouldy? Any other ex Arsenal pros? Any other out of work managers that are known for motivation, strong tactics and coaching? I think George Graham is a bit long in the tooth, hahahah!

    I don’t know, but things really are that bad. Can Jack be recalled from Loan? Is Mert fit enough to shake things up at the back? Would it destroy Rob Holding or make him if we puthim in there?

    This is really shit.

  17. MDP says:

    Just to clraify: My managerial replacements above are purely suggestions to see us out for the rest of this season. As a stop gap, were Wenger to leave with immediate effect…

  18. PD says:

    Didn’t even watch, I just can’t see the point any more.

    I’m amazed N7 you can see any benefit in Arsene staying another season; I just don’t see how that can help anybody.

  19. Delve 348 says:

    No one took me seriously when I said it would be one long slope of miserable decline after Mikel Arteta retired. But here we are. No point in blaming the Manager.

  20. 80's Gooner says:

    The Palace result reminded me of the Walsall defeat in 1983 which resulted in the demise of Terry Neil

    I think the fan protests over the last few weeks have not helped the team even though I agree with the sentiment

  21. slc gunner says:

    You know what Delve: you’re right. Things were never this bad when Arteta was captain! Now we have captain Theo to inspire us.

  22. MDP says:

    This Captain discussion is so pointless Delve, like comparing Bruce Rioch and Stewart Houston. If we want to aspire to have a great captain again, lets look back at the great Tony Adams for inspiration eh?

    We should be more concerned about the bigger picture. Even bigger than Wenger. The silence from the board is deafening. I hope to hear more demonstration against them in the coming weeks because their stance is even more frightening than the managers for the long term furture of this club! The rumours I hear are that Stans other sporting projects in the U.S are all fairly mediocre and I can’t help but fear the same direction this side of the Atlantic…

  23. Delve 348 says:

    Ah yes, Bruce Rioch, the bizarrely maligned manager who attracted Arsenal’s finest ever player to the club; Dennis Bergkamp.

    He didn’t last because the board took exception to him trying to knock some sense and discipline into a team of underperforming cocaine sniffers and alcoholics.

  24. P.D says:

    You do write some utter nonsense Delve.
    Rioch didn’t last cos he was only ever a stopgap while the Board waited for Arsene to see out his contract in Japan. Are you suggesting the club should have kept him on instead of hiring Arsene ?
    I don’t think he’s bizarrely maligned at all. He did an ok job for a year but he was never the answer long term…..he hardly set the world on fire elsewhere after he left Arsenal after all.

    As for Arteta…..God help us. Arteta is one of the greatest of all the Arsenal captains in the same way that Graham Stack is one of the greatest of all the Invincibles.

  25. slc gunner says:

    It was not pretty tonight, but at least we tried something different. I’m not sure that a back 3/5 is the answer but something had to be done. According to, Mustafi has a muscle injury, but I think he was due to be dropped in addition to Bellerin. The Cup should be the #1 priority now: will be interesting to see if AW persists with the back 5.

  26. MDP says:

    Phew! Glad that came off. If nothing else we can go into the City game with confidence a little better than rock bottom. I want to get to the cup final as much to build momentum and somehow not get humiliated at WHL than anything else. Can’t see much beyond that.

    I want to applaud The Ox first and foremost. It was his direct running and positivity that kept Arsenal ticking as others passed sideways. Okay, his finishing was a bit off but we would have been awfully static without him. Alexis had to take Man of the Match for his superbly taken goal and assist but it was The Ox that drove us on last night. Just think that needs mentioning.

    It should also be noted that Kos noticeably was showing a bit of leadership which doesn’t always come naturally to him. It just seemed that little more apparent last night. If we’re to do anything other than completely collapse this season then Kos has to be there. Even if he was at fault on their first goal.

    The back 3 was possibly a bit more secure. They still scared the life out of me and were far from perfect but there was a little more order last night with maverick Mustafi and low in confidence Bellerin out. Rob Holding is quality and would be nice to see him a bit more but does need looking after. At 21 he’s only a year younger than John Stones who is now regular for club and country.

    A wins a win. The confidence that filtered in to Ozil and Ramsey after they combined for the goal was notable. Let’s hope we can give City a game on Sunday.

  27. PD says:

    A win is a win indeed. I think it had a lot more to do with the (lack of) quality of the opposition than any dramatic change in tactics/formation. If Boro had taken their chances at 1-1, it would have been another bad night.

    Semifinal….I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m waiting for the first semi to be over before committing to a result. If Chelsea win, bring it on. If the Totts win, I will genuinely be hoping we lose. The thoughts of this Arsenal team against this Tottenham team in a Cup Final makes me sick to the stomach. There’s only one outcome that I can see.

  28. Jim McIndale says:

    Look how low Arsenal have sunk. Here we are cheering a narrow win against goal-shy relegation favourites Middlesbrough who are about as fit as a hospital XI to cement seventh place with a month to go.

    I thought the new stadium we moved into over a decade ago was all about joining Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at Europe’s top table. Pah.

  29. MDP says:

    It’s certainly a hard one to equate PD, I think most of us would take the quietest route to the end of the season now if we could. But instead we face the possibility of being ripped apart by our old rivals twice in the space of weeks which is indeed an unbearable thought. I don’t blame you at all for thinking like that PD. I can’t help feeling we’re about to face some games that could potentially burn some unwanted footage into the memory bank much like the stray Vieira pass to Giggs in1999, but much much much much worse and much much much much more humiliating. On top of that we’re relying on Chelsea to get us out of jail which is enough to make you wretch. I keep changing my opinion. Guess we’ll just have to fasten our seatbelts and see what happens.

  30. PD says:

    Yeah, Chelsea winning the double & Arsenal finishing 6th seems a decent end of the season at this stage. Pretty shocking.
    Fucking Giggs. Was standing right behind Seaman’s goal…can still see it happening in slow motion. That’s a sleepless night ahead for me now – cheers !

  31. PD says:

    Thank God for that. Come on you Reds. Give us a bit of joy and a cup final to end this shit season.

  32. MDP says:

    I now hope that a one off cup semi final, at Wembley gives everyone a sense of leaving the baggage at the door for fans, players and everyone involved at the club. If ever there’s a chance for Arsenal to throw everything we’ve got at a game and play to our full potential, it’s today. We’re the underdogs by some way according to the media and who can blame them but we have an opportunity here. Come on Arsenal!

  33. PD says:

    Wasn’t that nice ? I enjoyed that more than if we won 4-0. This Arsenal team showing character & desire & composure in a big game ? Long, long overdue.
    Well done to all.

    She wore, she wore…..

  34. slc gunner says:

    That felt good. Great team performance and defending in particular. Bring on Chelsea.

  35. MDP says:

    I enjoyed that! What a second half performance! Players taking responsibility. Particularly enjoying Kos marshalling the defence, Monreal being Monreal, The Ox of course, Welbeck the super sub, Holding for being composed, Sanchez for being Sanchez and everyone else involved. Keep it up Arsenal!

  36. PD says:

    Didn’t enjoy that so much but will take it. Top 4 still a possibility but unlikely. Not to Sunday : I’d settle for a draw to be honest. It would probably kill top 4 chances but it would get us out with our pride intact & hopefully hand the title to Chelsea. That’ll do me at this stage.

  37. MDP says:

    Ditto PD. If we win the next two, top 4 is definitely on and real but that seems like a huge huge ask. I think a draw Sunday is probably the best we can expect potentially putting Spurs 6pts behind chelsea and dodging a dose of humiliation before quietly heading into the summer. The way Spurs are playing right now, our new defensive formation needs to be water tight and the players up for it like they were at Wembley. Thankfully, I’ll be driving back home on Sunday so won’t have to sit through it. I honestly don’t think I can take a North London Derby right now.

  38. PD says:

    Fucking hell that was depressing.
    Thank God the result didn’t reflect the game. 2-0 & totally outplayed was bad enough but if they’d got the 5 or 6 goals they deserved….doesn’t bear thinking about it. Never finishing ahead of them again with Arsene in charge anyway, that much is clear.

  39. slc gunner says:

    The only posssible positive is that there is a realisation that we are a million miles behind the top teams. What Arsenal players get in the Spurs 11 – probably Sanchez, maybe Koscielny, maybe Cech. It’s funny – I should be mad, but at some point you’re so used to this kind of performance that it’s hard to give a shit.
    Only 1 more game that counts this season. Does Top 4 matter: it hasn’t helped us with player recruitment in recent seasons, so why bother. We might actually be competitive in the Europa League – sad as that sounds.
    Massive player overhaul needed. Manager too but do we see that happening. The bullshit has to stop and he needs to announce one way or the other.

  40. Elvis says:

    Arsenal. Oh yes, I remember I used to care. Like I used to care about my Amstrad computer and cassettes to play in the car.

    I can’t remember watching a game since Bournemouth away when I switched off at 0-3. It’s probably going to be sixth place and FA cup losers. I probably won’t even watch the cup final. When is it again? I’ll most likely be out shopping or washing my hair or something.

    To think I used to go on NewsNow several times every day and follow links with headlines like ‘Why this French Intenational is on his way out of Arsenal’ and find it was a paragraph all about Yaya Sanogo with 100 pop up windows. Years of my life I’ll never get back.

  41. slc gunner says:

    All we need now is Delve to tell us how we missed Arteta’s leadership on the day.

  42. Delve 348 says:

    slc – you took the words right out of my mouth.

  43. MDP says:

    I didn’t watch it but finally had a quick look at the highlights last night. It told us everything we knew already. This team has never really functioned properly. The balance has never been right. Wenger has always struggled with the defence and focused more on attack. We play one way giving players more freedom than they can handle. Change in tactics are a last resort. We might have a few characters but lack on field leadership. Keeping the manager will only prolong the problem.

    I still believe the problems are deeper than just Wenger. He is one of the issues but, you look at Spurs with Levy in charge and it reminds me of David Dein. We weren’t always harmonious with him as I remember but seeing him interviewed recently, Arsenal runs through his veins. I fear we will not see the great times return with Stan even if we do have money to spend.

    The on field solution as things stand is finding some quick fixes in my mind. Players like Mbappe will be way out of our league. Could a player like Benzema be achievable as just one example? Hitting 30 bit bags of experience. I’m also wondering how many chances we can give Ozil? I don’t doubt his quality but he’s not working. Is it time to cut our losses? Anyway, I’m accelerating ahead here just trying to see a way out of this complete and utter mess!

  44. PD says:

    At least if nothing else Arsene has a win over that shit Mourinho out of this crappy season.
    This ‘race’ for the top 4 is getting embarrassing given how poorly all 4 of the teams fighting for the 2 spots are play. The Crawl for the top 4 doesn’t quite have the same ring for Sky though…..

  45. slc gunner says:

    A brief feel-good moment in a lacklustre season. But I’ll take it. “Donkey off the back” or whatever the expression is. I think we deserved it, just about. Nothing to write home about from a performance perspective though.
    PD: you’re right, it is the crawl to the Top 4. I would not be surprised if we made it if we win our last 4 games. But that’s the big if. Can I see City and Liverpool dropping points: yes. Can Arsenal win 4 games on the hop against mostly mid-table opposiition: ??? Certainly possible, but it’s been a long time since we’ve strung 5 wins in a row.

  46. MDP says:

    It was pretty dull stuff up until Xhaka scored but enjoyable from then on as a one off game. Good performances from Ramsey, Xhaka, Kos, Cech, Ox and maybe a few others. Would be nice to build a bit of momentum up to the final even if it is a tricky task. I think many of us fear a cover up by the board if we improve for the final few games but a strong finish can only be best for the club.

    They still look unbalanced but I think the performances of Xhaka and Ramsey led to the victory. Whatever happens managerially this summer, the shape of the side is priority with departures and signings to compliment that.

    Personally I think City are home and dry. Liverpool on the other hand could still slip against West Ham on current form. Win all our games and it could get interesting. Do we really think that could happen? Stringing 5 games together does seem unlikely but if you base it on seasons gone by it would be just like Arsenal to sneak in at the death.

  47. PD says:

    Amazing really that we can still get 4th. Doesn’t change anything in terms of the future imo but it’s better to be in than not in every way for the club.

    I’m going to miss Alexis desperately if he goes. Worthy of inclusion in any Arsenal team. He’s a winner, it’s that simple. It will forever be one of Arsene’s lowest moments that he dropped him for Liverpool game.

  48. MDP says:

    Just great to raise a few smiles at the end of this shitty season and show that despite the cracks there’s still some quality there to work with. I’m still extremely concerned at how badly our club is being run right now, at the very top down but the stronger the finish can only be better for the future of the club. We have to hope that common sense prevails and the post Wenger era is being planned for (whether he leaves this summer or not) and they’re not going to throw away everything that has been built up. There’s still time to use the assets we’ve generated as one of the richest clubs in Europe. Not holding my breath mind you!

    Come on West Ham!!!

  49. MDP says:

    Well, that was a let down but quite a response from Liverpool. Just need to beat Sunderland in the week and see if we can take to the last day of the season.

  50. slc gunner says:

    You don’t want to put too much pressure on a young man’s shoulders, but did Holding’s run in the first half remind anyone of a certain Tony Adams. Now that is all predicated on anyone having watched the game. If there were more than 30,000 in attendance, I would be surprised.

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