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Is It The Beginning Of The End For Arsene Wenger?


Many have compared Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates last night to Manny Paquiao’s demolition of Ricky Hatton. In all honesty, it is clear to see the similarities – Hatton and Arsenal were brushed aside by opponents with more speed, power and all round ability.

The intention of this article isn’t to wax lyrical about Manchester Untied though. They were very professional on the night and showed why they are European champions. For the record, they will probably retain their trophy.

Instead, it seems significant to see how this result can affect Arsenal. First of all, it means that another season has passed by without a trophy. The last piece of silverware they picked up was the FA Cup in 2005.

For a club of Arsenal’s size, this isn’t really good enough. Arsene Wenger has been a fantastic servant to English football, the Premier League and of course Arsenal, but how long can a club with their pedigree go without having something to show for their success?

It was mentioned in the build up to the Champions League games with Manchester United that the relationship between Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson had improved in recent times. The reason for this is simple though – Ferguson and Manchester Untied no longer see Arsenal as a threat.

It is no coincidence that Ferguson and Rafael Benitez have been the main ‘mind-game’ operators this season as their teams aren’t to far away from each other in terms of the Premier League title.

Arsenal on the other hand have only made their way into 4th position in the last month or so. At one point, it seemed as though Aston Villa would pip them to a place in next year’s Champions League. This would have been devastating.

There have been murmurs of Wenger coming to the end of his spell in charge in the past, but don’t be surprised if this goes up a notch between now and the end of the season. There is only so long that the word ‘potential’ can be used after all.

In the end, it will come down to what Arsenal want to achieve as a club. Are they happy being a top-four Premier League side with lots of young players who often fall short of the major prizes? Or do they want to become the Champions of England, Europe and the World like Manchester United?

The answer, presumably, is the latter. Arsenal is such a fantastic club. They have brilliant fans, a marvelous stadium and some hugely talented players. So why haven’t they been able to win some silverware in recent years?

This question probably can’t be answered with a simple response. However, could one reason be that Wenger has become obsessed with bringing the youngsters through? Should he look to bring more experienced professionals to the club? Should he bring in more players like Andrei Arshavin who have proven themselves at the highest level?

The most successful Arsenal team of recent years, ‘The Invincibles,” contained a lot of experienced players. Martin Keown, Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp to name just a few.

With this in mind, why has such a different approach been adopted in the last two or three years? Considering Arsenal’s lack of trophies, should they have taken the Carling Cup more seriously and played their strongest team throughout? Silverware is silverware!

I appreciate that lots of questions have been asked in this article. It’s just that I am desperate to find out everyone’s views on Arsenal’s situation. They are a fantastic team to watch and provide plenty of entertainment; it’s just that this might not be good enough anymore.

One final question – if Wenger refused to budge from his current youth policy, is it possible that he could be asked to move on? Is this something Arsenal fans are even considering?

The gulf between Manchester United and Arsenal was so great over the two matches and this will act as a real eye opener for the Gunners. Perhaps it is the beginning of the end for the current regime.

Looking forward to your views on this.

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  1. ylli KOSOVA

    July 23, 2009 at 6:21 am

    he issssss a LEGEND ARSNE WENGER love ARSENAL

  2. Marc Williams

    May 8, 2009 at 9:51 am

    It may be true that Arsenal play free flowing,beautiful football when they are at the top of their game, however the real nemisis for Arsenal is the lack of grit when playing the lower club teams, we have seen Arsenal at their best against the likes of Chelsea,Liverpool and Man Utd, but have struggled against Hull, Stoke,Fulham etc. While I dont pretend to be the infinate wisdom I feel that Arsenal are lacking some brute strength and the ability to “mix it up”. When we refer to the invincibles we had the likes of Viera, Adams, Keown who were prepared to play gritty unnatractive football, so while we ponder signing big name players, what about a few home grown, prepared to fight English players?
    As for Wenger, would your boss allow you four years of promises and dreams and no results to show for it?

  3. Ja'far Mahmoud Tabbal

    May 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    IF Wenger is the one refusing to spend than he must go surely…

    The problem is that he isn’t doing so…the board are surely obsessed with his game of youth which is saving crazy cash…look at Man Utd player costs, Man Utd should retain the CL title because their players is way more expensive than Barcelona, they have FOUR 30M players, Arsenal will not pay such money any time soon…

    This team will continue being so YOUNG and I think Arsenal fans must live with it, EVEN next season; Wilshere, Ramsey & Merida must be added to the team, they should start developing or maybe Arsenal will lose them…they are going to be better than Rooney and Ronaldo…

    Wenger must try as much as possible to get a World Class Defender (with experience) in addition to a World Class Midfielder (with experience)…

    In a dream the ideal recruits would be Vidic & Essien…Add them to the current squad to while selling Gallas & Adebayor…and watch Arsenal win EVERY game next season…Wilshere MUST get KEY involvement…

    He should have been allowed to take Arshavin’s place on Tuesday night but I know that one of Wenger’s weaknesses is that he FEARS to do any such risks.

  4. Morgan

    May 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    They are bringing up the youth because they have a big fat mortgage to pay on the Emirates and they do not want to be in debt like the other big clubs in Europe.

    Otherwise, I think he will not be back next year, but who would replace him?

  5. Jay

    May 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm


    Get us some legit defenders!

  6. gunners4ever

    May 7, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Yes get rid of arsene wenger – that will solve all our problems!. We expected this kind of story in the wake of our defeat and all the anti – wenger brigade of english football aka tony cascriano, stan collymore etc are loving it. The fact is we were outplayed over the two legs and dont deserve to be going to rome but before people slag off wenger take these facts into opinion

    1. The most important point and one that most commentators conviently forget- Man us bench cost MORE than our ENTIRE staring eleven – we are competing on a significantly smaller budget than most of the big four – manu lpool chelsea city – since 2000 it would not be an exageration to say that cheleas and manu have spent at least 20 times more on transfers than us – porbly about 200 million in chelseas case – wenger has done remarkable to compete with that and name me ONE manger who would dop a better job

    2. whether you like it or not our squad was destroyed by injuries – on tues we had no gallas clichy roiscky edurado – throughout this season we have been missing at least 4 -5 of are staring eleven with players injuried for more than a month cesc – 4 months, eduado – basically the whole year,gallas – end of season run in,clichy – end of season run in,ade 3-4 weeks, rvp – 4-5 weeks,wlcott – 4 months- roiscky – whole season – and that is to name a few-if i took vidic,ronaldo rooney and evra from the manu squad they would be nowhere near as good – just look at how the lost to lpool and fulham without ferdinand – you can call this an excuse but it is the truth

    3. Some bloggers/newspapers are obbsesed with this ‘four years without a trophey’ stuff – I would like to you to name one successful club that hasnt went four years in their history without a trophey – any there are only three proper trophies to win and with other clubs throwing millions at winning them it is going to be hard – this year we got to fa cup semis, champ league semis, fourth at least in prem – it may not be trophies but it is progress – the trophies will come- and remeber look at southampton, leeds , tottenham 95% of clubs in england are in a worse position than us

    Hopefully in the wake of this defeat Wenger will look at the team and add the quality required to get to the next level – but to suggest that another manager could do better on our budget is so short sighted- why dont we do what newcastle do sack the manger every 6 months- look were that gets you!!
    In Wenger we Trust!

  7. jamie

    May 7, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I really feel wenger has to go back to 2004 to the invincebuls and buy big strong players to really get stuck in the likes of cambell veaira henry all them big strong and even fast i dont no why he has adopted this new way of small players they clearly have the skill but not the power or in my opinion the heart to get really stuck in to win the big games ..he needs a new keeper centre back defensive midfielder and a striker ad needs to be sold …so he really to get a hole new spine to this team to challenge next sesion….do any of you gunners agree with me ….keep the faith in wenger

  8. Dave

    May 7, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Maybe Arsenal is waiting for Man Utd and Liverpool to crash under the weight of their massive debts, so that they’re able to climb over them and retake the title…

    Simply put, Arsenal need help in the back. Silvestre is a joke, and Gibbs was burnt to a crisp on Tuesday night. If Wenger goes out and gets some high-quality defenders this summer — even if he decides to sell off Adebayor to pay for some of them — we’ll see some renewed hope at the Emirates next season, and the talent in attack — Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Van Persie, Eduardo, Walcott, etc. — should shine through a bit more as a result of better defending.

    Let’s not forget that the Gooners were only 4 points from the EPL title in 2008, and they might have gotten those points had Eduardo’s leg bone not snapped in half and seen the light of day. The board at Arsenal isn’t going to let Wenger go unless he defies them entirely and buys nobody. The Arshavin purchase proved he won’t.

  9. Don

    May 7, 2009 at 10:33 am

    The biggest frustration for the fans is that we genuinely believe this current squad with the addition of 3 top, top players, I’m talking like £20m players each (3 Arshavin’s if you will, although obviously not all offensive minded) would make a significant difference over the season. £60m might sound like a lot in consideration of the financial commitment of the stadium and the economic downturn, but we remind you that Arsenal are the most expensive Club side to watch in World football and seldom do we go ‘break the bank’.

    The other ‘problem’ Wenger has is post the 2004 ‘Invincibles’ is we’ve had sweetners that have glossed over the failings. In 2005 a very fortunately won FA Cup arrived. In 2006 the Club reached it’s first European Cup final, which was seen as an achievement within itself. In 2007, nothing except a Carling Cup loss to Chelsea. 2008 saw us fall only 4 points short of becoming Champions, a feat which looked odds on until February time. And now in 2009 a couple of decent Cup runs have led to comments like ‘4th place and two Cup semi’s aint a bad season’.

    The reality is that the consistency (a quality which Wenger talks highly of) has decreased alarmingly.

    The Club is genuinely at a cross roads and decisions which are made this summer will effect the outlook of the Club over the next 5+ years. I am Wenger’s biggest fan but nobody remembers what you tried to do; they remember what you did.

  10. jm

    May 7, 2009 at 10:09 am

    It is true that the calls for Wenger’s job will increase (and they already are, see the Arsenal News Review). I think it is folly though.

    There is a true criticism of recent Arsenal sides, which the author has touched on. He has passed up signing the one or two key experienced players he needs to improve the team in each season. Perhaps driven by concern about blocking the development of his young players, and perhaps driven by worries about the club’s economic position with the price of good players skyrocketing. Either way, it is true that the team needs a few more dependable, experienced players. Arshavin was clearly one such signing.

    I think it is a mistake though, to then infer that Wenger must go. It rests on some premise (or, more likely, combination of the two) like the following:

    1a) Wenger will not buy the experienced players the club needs.
    1b) A different manager could retain and advance upon Wenger’s success.

    I think both of these are false. The Arshavin signing is already evidence against (1a), and so too are the numerous “experienced” signings he has made in his career. His recent comments also seem to illustrate a willingness to sign that type of player. As to (1b), given the vast improvement at the club since Wenger came aboard, I am suspicious of the notion that a new manager could even retain his high level of success. A number of players, notably Fabregas, have expressed a personal loyalty to Wenger. If Wenger were to go, I don’t think you’d see the same team inherited by a new manager.

    Arsenal have been fortunate to have one of the best managers in the world. He may have made a couple of errors (at least from my unschooled vantage point), but that does not mean that we’d improve in a post-Wenger Emirates.

  11. Claude

    May 7, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Midfield, disaster. Youth is great when there is enthusiasm. We see none. Gallas is right to call people out.

  12. brian

    May 7, 2009 at 9:32 am

    our identity seems too be gone as well, with all those geniuses from places we never heard of coming too our club and delivering jack_shit and eating all our broccoli and yogurt and using the training facilities at conley too pump up them muscles.wenger dose not understand what he inherited at arsenal and a lot of his success was due too what george grahan and the highbury system left behind.too the (arsene knows brigade)NO HE DOSENT AND ALL YE ARE DOING IS MAKING A MAN WHO IS INADEQUATE AT HIS JOB MORE STUPID.

  13. kenny

    May 7, 2009 at 9:26 am

    wenger will see the gap. whether or not he sees his team’s true talent level is a different question. they desperately need to revamp their defense. Toure is good enough but not the level of Vidic/Ferdinand/Terry/Alex. Same goes for defensive midfielder – Song and Denilson are a good young players but nowhere close to the level of Carrick/Mascherano/Essein figures. Their attacking players are good enough, but I don’t think they were completely fit for the game. Fabregas hasn’t completely attained his level, Van Persie has been out a lot the last few months, and Adebayor hasn’t gotten into a rhythm with his injuries this year. Nasri is probably a bench player and Arshavin obviously wasn’t able to play.

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