Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Arsenal FC
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Soaking in these last 7 weeks has been hard. The club was in 4th, looking at a run of matches that looked a perfect setup to get up to third. Our competitors all had a run of bad form and what do we do? Do we capitalize on it by defeating teams we should have? Nope. We kept pace, maintained the status quo, the expected it seems for our club now. Flounder whenever possible and use the mountain of excuses at the ready to justify our situation.

That’s the problem now isn’t it? We have too many excuses to why we are where we are. We don’t spend enough, we’re too young, we have too many injuries, the refs don’t like us, other clubs spend too much, etc. Where do the excuses end and when does someone step forward and say, “You know what, that’s my fault.”

The last six years has been a constant dilemma for Wenger. First manage the books while we move into our new stadium. Then manage the books while we turn the team over. Manage the books while we let the youth grow into a cohesive unit, and now manage the books while we try to clean up this mess.

He is good at that Wenger is, managing the books. One has to wonder though, why he didn’t manage his tactics, this is where I put aside my admiration for the man, the Arsenal legend, and look at the facts. After selling our stars in the mid 2000’s, while he was managing all that he was asked, he failed to realize the players at his disposal didn’t, couldn’t in fact, live up to those before them.

Cesc was never going to be anything like Bergkamp. Theo was never going to be Henry. Rosicky was never going to be Pires, well you get my drift. So once that’s painfully obvious, as a great manager do you swallow your pride and simplify your tactics, or at the very least mold the tactics to fit the, pardon the pun, arsenal at your disposal?

There is blame enough for the board. The lack of spending, the lack of ambition, frankly, the lack of vision. There is enough blame for the players. The lack of character, the lack of effort and the lack of unity. I also believe there is plenty of blame for Wenger.

The kids he was forced to buy and settle for while “managing the books” were set up for failure from the start, and Wenger hasn’t and still doesn’t realize it. Were and are they good enough to compete? YES. That’s the frustration. There is plenty of talent on the squad to compete on all fronts, but the tactics needed to be changed long ago. The system needed a tweak and it never got it.

Players have left the club, due to frustration, and we are left with players with little confidence in themselves when the going gets tough, frankly because the shoes they had to fill were simply too big, and the system they were asked to run was and continues to be beyond them. We see it week in and week out. If the other team fights hard enough we fold. If we are pressured in midfield, we fold, it’s happened time and time again for the last four or five years.

On the pitch we need a change in tactics and we need a change in the system as a whole, if that can happen with Wenger on board and continuing to “manage the books”, great. He will always be a top judge of talent so we will always have that in supply. Unfortunately for us the type of talent we need for the system “Le Prof” wants to run is beyond our budget now. If he can simplify and adjust, we can surely put to good use the talents at his disposal now, but he HAS to change, he HAS to adjust.

If he doesn’t, then we will continue to deal with almosts and what could have beens. At a certain point the players deserve not to be set up for failure, to have the confidence to run a system they can execute to the best of their abilities that will compliment their talent. If that means a new manager, then I’m afraid that’s what we need.

At the end of the day, no one is bigger than the club. The free rides for past accomplishments must stop sometime. We as supporters deserve better, Arsenal as a historic club deserve better.

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