Sunday 18 August 2013

Arsenal lick self-inflicted wounds - 'match-changers' needed

As regular readers of this blog (yes, all 2 of you! Ha ha!) will know, I'm no Wenger apologist. I'm quite neutral, in fact. Despite all his achievements, I've never been a huge fan. Why? Because if I was a professional footballer, I'm not sure I'd want to play for that kind of manager. Nothing personal. I just prefer Jose Mourinho's style. Someone with a lot of charisma and who goes down to the finest detail (i.e. analysing and nullifying the opposition), when it comes to match planning.

Having said that, I'm still not sure I want Wenger out, as I don't necessarily think there's anyone out there (who's available) who will definitely do a better job. Therefore, replacing Wenger involves a lot of risk. That's why I'd stick with him. But then again, I'd only do that if I knew for a fact he'd not been penny-pinching when it comes to transfers.

Clearly, the 3-1 home defeat by Villa highlighted the need for new blood. New players add adrenalin. They're eager to please. They're not complacent. They make the current crop work harder to retain their places in the team.

This Arsenal team played in the comfort zone with plenty of possession. The only problem was, they rarely looked like hurting Villa. If Higuain or Suarez had been on the bench, the fans would have felt that a match-changer could have rescued the situation when we went a man and a goal down. Belief is important. Wenger often says that. Why then, did he leave it so late to bring on Podolski? Does he still believe in him? If not, why not buy a replacement? And if he does think Poldi is a match-changer, why not bring him on earlier?

All I can say is something's not quite right at the club. If Wenger's in sole control of transfers, then he's solely to blame. But in that case, why have we heard Gazidis, Law and Miles (who sound like a company of solicitors!) do all the negotiations? Also, why do we tour the Far East, as we all know Wenger prefers to go somewhere closer to home pre-season?

We know the reason is money. Profit before points. But we don't know who's calling the shots. Arsenal were called 'the Bank of England club' before Wenger became a part of it. Soon after he arrived, we were bringing in superstars like Marc Overmars to the club. Surprise, surprise, a 'double' was won in Wenger's second season.

Anyway, in short I'm not convinced Wenger is solely responsible for that. He's not known to change his mind easily. However, he may have, as he certainly hates wasting money. Of course, that's a good thing in itself, but it's gone too far. It's damaging 'the spirit' of the team, which he holds so dearly.

The players want him to strengthen the squad. The fans want him to do it too, as yesterday's chants made clear. So what's holding him back? We'll find out one day. Until then, let's try (I know it's hard) to keep the faith and not panic.

We're not that bad. That team fielded by Wenger should have won. No doubt. But now Oxlade-Chamberlain is out for a while, he can't field it again. So get the wallet out, Wenger!

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