Under Arsene Wenger Arsenal Will Never Have a Winning Mentality
Written by Chris on April 21, 2010 10:40
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Wigan will go down as one of the most shocking chapters in the season of Arsenal.
When Silvestre scored the second in the 48th minute, we were three points away from Chelsea and with plenty of time – more than forty minutes – to try and improve our disappointing goal average record. Instead, it was late drama.
If you read what many are saying after last Sunday, you’ll end up with a sense of déjà vu and it’s not because you are discovering a hidden gift, it’s because last season, at this stage of the season, the same words, from the same people, were being pronounced. Seriously, I could kick someone in the shin if he tells me that we’re finally getting there and next season will be the “one” because we have one more year of experience under our belt.
We Are Not a Winning Team
Did Lionel Messi play yesterday? I didn’t see him you know. My prediction that he would do nada against Inter Milan was confirmed in a game where whenever he was on the ball three blue and black jerseys were around him, making sure to give him no space whatsoever.
Surely the same cannot be said of the Camp Nou game in which we let him score four as if we were facing someone who is complete new to the game. We played more than 60 games this season and if you ask me how many times this squad showed the right spirit, Stoke City away would immediately come to mind, maybe a couple of more games, but that’s it. Surely when it mattered the most, the players did not raise to the occasion.
Why, you may ask? The answer can be extracted from Samir Nasri’s latest interview. If you read what he said, you would think it is someone like Armand Traoré speaking, one who is yet to secure a regular place at Arsenal. Instead no, this is the same player who many compare to Zinedine Zidane, who many believe can be one of Europe’s most talented players. Maybe it would be fair on Zidane when the comparison is made to say that Samir is like Zidane MINUS the winning mentality.
I mean, how do we expect to go forward with the objective of winning the Premiership, Champions League or both, when the players who are supposed to be the crème de la crème speak like this? You know, when I look at our regular squad I see many players who are just happy to play, players who know perfectly that if they were at a different club they would never, never keep their regular place after failing to deliver over and over again. I’m talking about Denilson, about Abou Diaby of the first and last part of the season, of Manuel Almunia, Andrey Arshavin and others.
These players were a huge disappointment this year, yet they were never dropped. You cannot even say that Denilson was dropped for Aaron Ramsey, a much better player, because the Welshman was promised 21 games by Wenger and believe me, Arsene would have never given him more than that.
See, we are talking about players who do not deliver yet keep their regular place, with Wenger probably telling them the reason for that is that they need time on the pitch to improve and reach an acceptable level, one day. The result? Failure. The player no longer goes out there with the intention of winning, with the intention of giving it all. No, the player will go out there thinking that his main objective is to improve, even if this means losing the game.
Are we supposed to be a winning team like this?
What Is This Obsession Of Making Changes Only After The 66th Minute?
Shall we move on to something different yet similar to what I wrote above? After the Wigan game I switched to the Italian Serie A for the Rome derby, AS Roma vs SS Lazio. At the end of the first half Lazio were 1-0 ahead with Roma simply not knowing what hit them. Instead of waiting, like the famous 66th minute Wenger loves so much, Claudio Ranieri made not one but two changes for Roma that made me gasp.
And that is because he didn’t replace a no name, he took off Francesco Totti, who is considered a God in his city and Daniele De Rossi, another key player in the Roma midfield. Result? They went on to win 2-1 and stay top of the table which is pretty amazing if you ask me. For us it’s different. The day I see Arsene make two changes at half time with the likes of Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri coming off because they are not delivering will be the day donkeys grow wings and fly.
Sometimes I ask, why is it so hard to do it? Is this man, who many consider a genius, not good enough to invent a plan B when things are not going according to play? And then I realised what could be the reason: Arsene will never have the guts to analyse the first 45 minutes of a game, see that a player was a complete failure and replace him without hesitation. He’s too soft to do it, he thinks that if he does it the player will go in the corner in tears and would not recover for weeks.
Sorry Arsene, this is not right attitude. For how long Manuel Almunia would have been in goal if we had someone like Jose Mourinho in charge? If you ask me, Manuel would be lucky to still be an Arsenal player if the Portuguese was his boss. These players are not mature enough and it’s hilarious to read Wenger after the Wigan game describing them as ‘immature’ and ‘ill-disciplined’, expecting people to take him seriously. Mea culpa anyone?
Any Solution To Fix All This?
No, I’m afraid. Remember the Liverpool game? According to Cesc, Wenger “was really disappointed in the first half and said we didn’t deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt if we played like that”. That was only four months ago and I believe we can easily use the same words after the Wigan game, so what changed in four short months?
When these players are accused of still being boys and not men, many of you get upset and start hiding heads in the sand in order not to admit that, well, it’s true. I mean, how else can you call someone who has his boss yelling at him and accusing him of something as serious as you don’t deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt and not listening?
I mean, am I the only one who thinks that between manager and player there are different levels of communication? Such as sitting down and talk, shout a little bit, throw a boot at them and the last one, the most serious, is accusing the player of not deserving to wear the jersey? How more serious can an accusation be? Yet after four months the players are back to square one and you expect people not to consider their mentality and match approach the one you would expect from a little boy?
Arsene is a flawed genius. He managed to do things at Arsenal Football Club that I believe no other man would have done considering the financial power made available to him. But he’s stubborn, incredibly stubborn and this is killing all the good he built and does for the club.
What is obvious to many fans is not to him. Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski and not good enough to protect the goal of a team as ambitious as Arsenal. And, if Robin van Persie suffers a long-term injury, he is to be replaced. I’m not saying replace him with someone as equally good, but at least try to secure the services of one of these penalty area nuisances who are always on the move waiting for the right ball to put it in. You know, an Eduardo-like player.
Anyway, I’ve been writing this article for three days, it never happened to me since I opened this website, usually I write my thoughts down in less than thirty minutes. I wish I could say it’s because I wanted the article to be perfect, instead it’s because my thoughts were all filed with negativity and believe me, it’s not a nice feeling.