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Whatever you think of Arsene Wenger as a manager, one thing cannot be in doubt - his bloody floor-length sleeping bag-style cocoon coat is ludicrous. It's just not that cold in England most of the time but at the first signs of frost, out it comes and he stands there on the touchline like a giant blue maggot, seemingly unaware that he looks vaguely ridiculous. In fact, it looks like the coat could stand on the touchline on its own without Wenger. Maybe they'd be better off if the massive waterproof tubular creation took over as boss.
I call it The Coat Of Doom. Like Gervinho's hair, while it can't be held totally responsible for them being rubbish, you can't help but feel that it's somehow a malign influence.
Even Steve McClaren, the last managerial exponent of lack of self-awareness, learned from his umbrella-based humiliation and has not appeared with one since. But not Wenger. Stubbornly he refuses to change attire, presumably in the belief that his choice is the right choice regardless of the fact that looking like a giant caterpillar undermines his authority and credibility. Clothes do, to some degree at least, maketh the man. You can't go into battle wearing a tu-tu and you can't manage a football club from inside a polar explorer's sleeping bag.
While his stubbornness can be seen as self-belief and firmness of mind; the kind of determination to go your own way which all top managers need, in Wenger's case, with an under-performing team, it just looks like the exact opposite. It looks like lack of character and understanding.
This trait seems to keep running through his side. There's no doubting the football ability of most of his signings, at least in theory, but it is all too often, for too many years now, undermined by lack of character. Too often for too many years, a multitude of players simply don't look like they fancy the going when the going gets tough.
The game against Bradford was typical in that respect. Suddenly, a team of very good footballers looks like a youth team who are playing the grown-ups and are intimidated by them. It's not lack of talent that defeats them, it's lack of guts and grit. This is visible in perhaps the majority of current Arsenal players. In fact, sometimes it appears that Wenger has bought them or selected them for exactly this limp, unfocused, lazy characteristic in the mistaken belief that it is football intelligence. At some point, skill isn't enough, you need balls, big bloody balls. Too often, Arsenal players appear to be eunuchs.
It is impossible to divorce this characteristic from their manager. This is his creation. It's not without quality but it so manifestly lacks strength of character on a regular enough basis that it is impossible to excuse him. They look like they need a big shot of alpha male in them but if they turn to the bench and see their boss looking like a massive puff pastry cream horn, it clearly isn't inspiring them very much or very often.
Too often Arsenal look like boys in a mans' world and their manager like a bewildered man dressed for a camping expedition.