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Arsene Wenger and Arsenal: A Beautiful Relationship in Need of Change

‘One nil to the Arsenal’ was the famous song that emanated from fortress Highbury during the lengthy and successful tenure of the pragmatic George Graham. They were the team that were the very antithesis of Kenny Dalglish’s latest incarnation of the Liverpool dynasty that was so full of flair with Barnes and Beardsley and Molby and Nicol. The solid Arsenal line-up of the day were the main competition in the late 80’s/early 90’s (i.e. before the Manchester United machine) and were the personification of a powerful, hard to beat team. With the early days of the famous ‘back 5’ and the remaining influences of David O’Leary and Alan Smith the muscle was only broken by the enigmatic Paul Merson and then eventually Ian Wright. The format was successful, and league success was joined by cup victory, an unprecedented League Cup and FA Cup double, followed by the 1994 Cup Winners Cup.

The unfortunate circumstances that followed due to the ‘bungs’ that resulted in the one year ban and obvious departure of Graham brought to an end that era and as it turned out, that style of football. After a few barren years under the skilled but unsuited Scotsman Bruce Rioch, highlighted by the signing of one of the Premier League’s greatest ever, Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal were soon to be taken over by the little known Frenchmen who was in charge of Nagoya Grampus 8 in Japan, Arsene Wenger. The man nicknamed ‘le professeur’ would revolutionise the Arsenal style, exciting players such as Nicolas Anelka and Marc Overmars, as well as the likes of Emmanuel Petit and the revelation that was Patrick Vieira, soon followed by the man who would become the clubs leading goalscorer; Thierry Henry. Arsenal would become the entertainers, playing a brand of football that nobody had seen before in the English game. A league and cup double in just his second season followed by further success in the league and in the cup was just a prelude to the ultimate achievement. In 2003/04, Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten league run encompassed an entire league season without defeat, an achievement never before seen over the 38 game distance.

After the following year’s FA Cup triumph, icon and captain Patrick Vieira would leave for Juventus, and after the ’06 Champions League final defeat record goalscorer Thierry Henry left for their opponents that night, Barcelona. Within a few short years ‘The Invincibles’ as the team from the undefeated season were named, would break up entirely, along with Vieira and Henry- Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Gilberto Silva, Mathieu Flamini, Ashley Cole and the last of the bunch Kolo Toure  would all leave within just a few years. And alarmingly for the supporters, they were not sufficiently replaced.

Even more distressingly, the success dried up. Without a trophy for season after season whilst Chelsea were busy overtaking them as London’s top club. Suddenly the seemingly flawless Wenger was being questioned, first by the media scholars, and then by sections of his own support. The summer of 2011 was one that saw the heat from the Arsenal support turned up on Wenger, the early departures of the previous seasons stars Cesc Fabregas to boyhood club Barcelona, and of Samir Nasri to oil rich Manchester City, the out-and-out refusal to sway from his principles, Arsene Wenger would not and did not spend the money on new talent, capable of replacing such established stars. A Crushing 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, the team that less than a decade earlier, Wenger and Arsenal were in a constant battle for supremacy in the English game prompted a swift reversal and a deadline day spree of panic buying. Whilst Mikel Arteta was suited to the club, the unusual signing of the powerful but lumbering German international centre-half Per Mertersacker, along with Brazillian left back Andre Santos, Korean forward Park Chu Young and Premier League journeyman Yossi Benayoun were rehabilitating for the season, but ultimately uninspiring.

So to the future, and the question is, does Arsene Wenger have a future? With this article written just a few short days after an inspiring but eventually unsuccessful comeback in the home leg of the Champions League tie against Italian champions Milan, short term impressive results, of which there will still be a few, is not the point. The basic fact is that Arsenal with their current squad are not and will never be good enough to compete with the title contenders, let alone Europe’s best. The current squad do not have the ability to play the style of football that Wenger made famous, but are still impressive possession artists.

Of course, he still has a future at the club, and he has not turned into a bad manager overnight. However his policy in the transfer market needs to change. The club, as a whole, needs to stop their excessive masturbation over their favourable financial status and their ability to make a profit compared to the other top clubs, and realise that they need to back their manager and force him to spend. Having lost ground on Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea (despite this year’s regression) and even Tottenham has demanded that Wenger can no longer rely on kids, and building a team for five years time, they need to buy their way back to relevancy. This calls for the need to buy established, quality players in order for the third most successful club in terms of league success in the country, to return to their place as a serious threat in competitions.

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  1. bal

    March 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    What was the point of this article? It provided zero insight or new information. Nothing but a rehash of old opinions that have been all over the papers for months.

    Get better.

    • Scott Fulton

      March 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Thanks for the feedback lads, those of you that disagreed, hopefully you’ll see an improved writer on my next piece.

  2. gbenga

    March 11, 2012 at 5:40 am

    The club had suffer a lot since many year,hoping dat d younger boys will catch up for trophy.let change for d next season and d club management should support d managerwith big transfer money.

  3. Sam

    March 11, 2012 at 1:49 am

    What the financial fair play rules will do is keep the small clubs small and big clubs big. These rules will not have an effect on man city and clubs like that because I dont see uefa kicking man city and others like real madrid out of the champions league for failing to meet requirements. Also, clubs will use all tricks in the books to get around the rules. For example, man city owners can pay players through other companies they own in form of sponsorship deals and then pay them less through the club. They can also increase the revenue in the team by have companies set up deals with the club for random sponsorship deals.
    In terms of arsenal, I think they can maintain champions league status for years to come. In terms of Wenger, I just think he needs authority at the club (he needs to answer to someone) but right now its like he owns and runs the club. Remember that fans are fickle….in december when we made a good run after the awful start he was seen a great again and then bad in january after the losses and then good after 3-0 against milan and back in 4th spot closing in on spurs.
    How many other managers could have kept arsenal in the champs league playing good football during the construction of the stadium?
    Maybe the penny had dropped and wenger finally realized that he needs a better squad because players will not wait around (he was upset that nasri and cesc left before their prime years) because in previous years players that left spent their best years at arsenal.

  4. RodGoonerInTtown

    March 11, 2012 at 1:49 am

    So if everyone here commented on how sh*tty the article is, why did you read it, obviously If it doesn’t interest you why read it? I don’t read Lverpool blogs cuz I say f@$& them, I don’t care what the think, f$&@ off and quit reading sh*t that doesn’t interest you…. Good article BTW I understood the point, we down to 4th because we don’t hav a sugar daddy or rely on getting players w money we ain’t got, what’s so hard to understand???

    • Scott Fulton

      March 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      I appreciate that boss.

  5. Sam

    March 11, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Firstly, this season has gone very badly in terms of the summer transfer window (player losses and late replacements), poor start to the season and some very bad results. Despite all this we are in 4th place and within 1 point of 3rd place if we win on Monday. Again, we have had major injuries and still look like qualifying for the champions league.
    Given what has happened the past years the club seem to have realized the importance of bringing in quality players if the reports of Podolski are to be believed. Getting business done early this summer hopefully will give van persie an incentive to stay and let us start next season with a bang.
    With the money being spent in the game now I don’t think arsenal will win the league without major signings and luck with injuries but many clubs will run into financial trouble because the current model is not sustainable. Man City and Chelsea can buy players because of rich owners. Man U can buy players because they make money from football operations. Liverpool wont spend like they have the past 2 years because their owners wont bankroll the club. Arsenal will be in good shape if they make wenger accountable for results and ensure we have a good quality squad by ensuring we get our preferred transfer targets rather than low balling offers and then signing others players when we get rejected.

  6. JerZGooner

    March 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

    I have no idea why these anti-Wenger pieces keep coming out on this site. Seems like fishing for page virews.

    • The Gaffer

      March 11, 2012 at 8:15 am

      I could care less about pageviews. If I wanted pageviews, I would write about Man United and Man City all the time, which I/we don’t.

      If you’re an Arsenal fan and you want to write about your club or one of the others, send in an article to get published. Learn more at

      The Gaffer

      • dlink09

        March 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm

        don’t have some editiorial process gaffer.. same sh*t gets repeated again and again..

        • The Gaffer

          March 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm

          There is an editorial process, and I’m it. Different viewpoints from different writers. If you’d like to write a pro Arsenal story, learn more at

          The Gaffer

  7. jtm371

    March 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    part of me thinks the financial fair play will not be put in place or it will be so watered down that it will not really change over i will piss off all the AFC fans Wenger France National Team manager and D Moyes as AFC Manager.let the slings and arrows begin.

  8. GunnerArchitect

    March 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    We are not being able to compete for titles not because of Wenger… but because the 2-3 clubs ahead of us are all in massive debts buying players and paying over the top wages…. But then some clubs who spend more than us… Chelsea, Liverpool are below us….

    Wenger has a net spent of 3mil… same as David Moyes…. when you write such shit articles also talking about some finance… because that is also a very important part of football…

    Statements like “This calls for the need to buy established, quality players” is just garbage…. do you know how much they cost and how much debts City have gone to get them? Barca and Madrid buy players from here and are in debts… have unfair TV deals…

    No one cares of about financial fair play….

    and then you post such garbage? Cool!

    • Why?

      March 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Gunnerarchitech you seem to be confused. The 2-3 clubs above you don’t have debt in two cases and in the other case the debt is nothing to do with spending on players rather the owners saddling them with it, If im not mistaken Arsenal have more debts than both City and spurs. I know city don’t have any at all. Kinda messes up your point.

    • Scott Fulton

      March 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Spurs aren’t in much debt, nor are City despite how dubious that deal was. United are in debt, and that is a problem, but it is all quantifiable. They are in no worse a situation that Real/Barca

  9. Moe

    March 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    The Article should be about the board not giving Wenger funds to buy not how Wenger needs to change. Where is your article about liverpool and King Kenny 10 points behind Arsenal and not in the CL for 3 straight years. What about the fact that Arsenal by winning on Monday will be 1 point below Spurs greatest team ever if they win against New Castle. The point is there are much bigger stories out there and Wenger should be praised for what he has done with this squad and if Arsenal finish 3 he has to be the manager of the year

    • Scott Fulton

      March 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      The board have repeatedly said the money is there.

  10. Jose H.

    March 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Just spending loads of cash on players doesn’t guarantee a winning club.

    Look at Chelsea and Liverpool for example.

    City crashed out of the champions league and just got beaten in a europa league game against sporting even with all the quality players purchased with their sugar daddy’s cash..

    Also, with financial fair play coming soon, all teams are going to have to begin building teams of “kids” coming from their own academies.

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