Mails: Why I still support Arsene Wenger

Date published: Friday 19th August 2016 9:09

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Wenger is ‘the voice of reason’
Yes, we do exist, Arsenal fans who still support Le Prof, the man who gave the world Lord Bendtner.

What astounds me is how every single person who writes in about Wenger seems to think they can do a better job than he can. Are you lot being serious or is this all just satire and I’ve missed the memo?Arsenal is the club it is today thanks to Wenger. He has moved us to a shiny new stadium, paid off the debt for the said stadium, and keep us competing at the highest level while doing it. He has laid the foundations for Arsenal to continue being a success for many years to come. When did consistency become a bad thing? Oh and lets not forget all the trophies we won under him. And the invincibles,.

The fact that he is keeping his head when short term managers are spending money that the average joe cannot even imagine should be celebrated. In a world of excess, Wenger is the voice of reason and I wonder how long it will take for the world to look back on his press conferences and say, “you know what, that old fool was right”. I’m betting that when Jose wins the League, everyone will consider it money well spent. But considering that most of the “big clubs” are creeping up to (or have already passed) 100 mil, all of that can’t have been money well spent can it?

Buying players does not guarantee success, so stop whining like an unattended housewife. Wenger knows, and I’d bet my last cent that he knows more that our beer addled brains do.

I cant think of many mangers that are better then Wenger, except ol Bill down at the pub, who says Wenger should spend or be fired.
Pherain (In Arsene I Trust) Singh, South Africa


The other side of that particular coin
I’m pretty sure that Joram Kioto is missing the point of Wenger’s lack of transfer activity. It’s not that he doesn’t see what the team needs, or that he will not spend money no matter how good the player is, but that he is working to a specific plan, and won’t sign somebody unless they fit it absolutely. The fact that nobody else can see what he’s doing, or that people very inconsiderately like to point out that it hasn’t worked for the last decade isn’t Wenger’s problem, it just shows that you don’t understand this tortured genius*

We know that Wenger has been dry humping Barcelona’s leg for the past decade, and that he values playing football “the right way” far more than he values actually winning games. No Plan B for Arsenal – if you can’t win playing Plan A then you at least get to claim a moral victory and that’s what really counts. Basically they are the Crew Alexandra of the Premier League.

Barca’s model of the right way to play football is for everybody on the pitch to be comfortable on the ball and be able to read the game. Even the keeper, as Hart is finding out. So Barca, and thus Arsenal, aren’t interested in a shitehouse donkey of a centre half who has been trained since childhood to “get rid” whenever he finds himself with the ball having made a last ditch tackle on the line. They want a classy, skillful centre half who will read the game and avoid having to make last ditch tackles in the first place, and having elegantly captured the ball will then take it past six opposition players before threading it to their striker as he arrives at the back post. It would be nice if he is also a natural leader, but “leadership” is right at the bottom of the list of qualities that Wenger is looking for, in the “desirable but not essential” section.

Trouble is, when you find one, Barca and every other top team wants that player too and they can pay more, so Wenger is left with either trying to pick up the as yet unrecognised player who is cheap and might develop into the role, or to go with his default response which is to buy the right sort of player who isn’t in the correct position but is comfortable on the ball and can read the game and hope that they can be magically transformed from their currently square peg into a round one that will fit the hole that the team has. After all, Wenger’s legend is built on converting Henry from a winger, so why shouldn’t the squad be stuffed with slight, tricksy centre midfielders that he’s picked up on the cheap – they are just waiting to be moulded into strikers, defenders, whatever.

And if you see a ball playing centre half who’s comfortable on the ball but needs a lot of development not only does his current club put a £47m price tag on him, but a club with deeper pockets and a manager who’s a lot better at understanding the Barca model will actually pay that for him. To pick up on Ben Smith’s point, I don’t necessarily think that Wenger cares in the slightest whether Lacazette is currently in the French team if that is your criterion for why he shouldn’t be worth £40m, only whether he is exactly the right player for his pure idea of Arsenal…but unless he is exactly the right player Wenger won’t be shelling out £40m for him.

After sticking to this model for the last however many years, Wenger has painted himself into a corner and cannot now admit that it doesn’t work. Either he truly believes that this will somehow win him the league, once the stars align and the right players who play football the right way all become available for the correct price, or he’s too proud to admit that he’s been wrong for all this time. And like any true believer, he’s not going to let the absence of any evidence supporting his ideas change his mind.
Monkey Steve

(* for any Americans out there, this is sarcasm)


Just sign Lacazette, man
It’s really not rocket science is it, Arsenal have the money so why not just go on and sign Lacazette. As much as it pleases me and gives me great banter material to use against my Arsenal supporting mates it does make you often wonder how hard it could be to fix what’s broken?

I’ve always been a fan of Lacazette, he’s young and quick, has a good eye for goal and once in a better team with better players around him, could have the potential to be a world beater, so once he was Ligue 1’s top goal scorer in 2014/15 I was certain Wegner would seal his usual snatch of Ligue 1’s top forward á la Chamakh et Giroud merci beaucoup.

He can keep saying there’s no quality players available but surely Lacazette would be an improvement or a well placed compliment for Giroud. For everyone saying that he’s not good enough because he couldn’t make the Euro squad ahead of Gignac, first of all Gignac plays in MEXICO, second of all, did you see him at the Euros? Didier Deschamps (who did a shocking job with such a good squad) for whatever reason did not rate Lacazette, you could say its politics but if you asked me he would have been a shoe in for that squad any day of the week, a player who has scored 76 goals in the last 3 season ( I know its Ligue 1 but still). It was all fun and games at first now it’s just getting a bit sad, just pay up and move on.


Pogba will be Jose’s Lampard
He made his debut when he was at OT earlier. I dont understand how a debut can be made twice. Also, why is there so much hype as to what he does today?

He is a great midfielder, who will ensure that the more charismatic playmakers and strikers will operate freely and score goals. He is not going to score a goal or make an assist every game. If he adapts well, he can may be contribute like Lampard, which personally to me will be quite awesome.

But I never watched Chelsea to watch Lampard play, or for that matter even Chelsea fans ever did. They went to watch the Crepos, the Gudjohnsens, the Robbens and now Hazard. But what Lampard did was invaluable. He along with Makelele and Essien ensured that these stars can play freely and in critical times he himself scored goals to turn matches Chelsea’s favour through ownership, relentless stamina and determination.

If Mourinho has his way, Pogba is going to be exactly that. And we all should be extremely excited by it, especially the fans who love & prefer to watch the engine room players in their teams.

By next year, with Rooney and Mata hopefully replaced, its gonna be a fascinating transition of Man United under Mourinho. A team who played only 4-4-2 with wingers fizzing in banana crosses by Beckham & Giggs to fast, leg hurting, early ground crosses by Valencia will move to 4-3-3 (4-5-1 in defence) with breath taking counter speed. We should have Martial (Ibra in CL and Rashford as PL alternatives) leading the line with Mkhitaryan & hopefully Coman either side with Pogba, Scheiderlin and Fellaini in the middle. I feel so bad on Di Maria, he would have loved to play with Mourinho especially in this system.
Sagar Deo, Mumbai


I love you, Nani
It wasn’t a red card. Anyone who isn’t an ABU will admit to that. I will defend Nani to the end of my days.

I have just read the portrait of an icon piece on Eric Cantona. It was beautiful. It got me thinking about what makes icons in the modern game. I also just read the MediaWatch link to the interview about Nani.

Icons aren’t necessarily those with more natural talent than those around them. Nor are they those with more pashun. It takes a combination of both, together with a bit of luck (in terms of the team surrounding them and the league and times in which they play). I can think of a few examples of modern day icons – those who have transcended their level of talent to make a statement in the game.

That brings me to my point: what would it take for a player like Nani to reach the icon status of Cantona?

I believe there was a quote from Klopp recently along the lines of: ‘we don’t want to but players who want champions league football, but rather players that want to take us to the champions league’. I love the sentiment. Players these days seem to want to join a band of winners, rather than be the talisman. (On a side note, I love that recently players like Pogba/Zlatan/Hazard have taken up the challenge to drag a team to glory).

I look at a player like Nani and I think about what could have been. Imagine he “fulfilled his potential”. There is nothing many of these icons could do on a pitch (in terms of ability) that he can’t do. It has to be something other than ability. He seems to be a player too ready to join a champions league team (and contribute), than to lead a team to champions league qualification. It breaks my heart.

As a matter of opinion, I believe he did fulfill this potential. He was a player that could pull something out of the bag any day for United. Compare average day Rooney to average day Nani. He was undoubted quality. I think where he lacked is the ability to lead a team to achieve.

It takes a special kind of balls to win things. Ask Anderson (I kid). It takes a player of extreme confidence (in a sport where it seems no one lacks an ego) to lead a team to victory. Imagine Portugal didn’t have Cristiano in their squad for the Euros. He didn’t do much, but could you imagine them winning it without them?

I feel like I’ve taken the long way around to making my point. I guess the ultimate question is: what makes an icon?. Screw the times and the plaudits. How does a player etch themselves into the history and fabric of a club? How does Nani become Cantona?

Note: I am not comparing Nani to Cantona. Cantona had the talent+balls to pull a team in a direction, whereas (I believe Nani’s biggest flaw is), Nani isn’t the type to pull a team in a direction, rather he’ll follow the leaders and contribute some epic moments. Hopefully captaining Portugal in a Euros final, together with his somewhat sob story so far will turn him into a Cantona for Valencia at age 29. Hopefully there are kids out there today ready to witness the renaissance of a player who has everything to be an icon.

Hopefully he realises this.

Plastic in South Africa (if you’ve read this far, I challenge you to take your favourite misfit and see what exactly they could do to become an icon a generation from now)


Au revoir, Christian
When Rodgers signed Christian Benteke what seems like longer than twelve months ago, I wasn’t convinced he fitted our style of play. He’s more than a target man but he’s slower than required for the quick transitions imposed by Rodgers and then Klopp.

However as he leaves Liverpool now I feel he does so with his reputation enhanced and there will be other Liverpool fans with a sense of regret that we’re letting him go

Strangely, he scored more goals than Sturridge last season. They were also often decisive goals in 1-0 wins where we were struggling to find a way through. You could argue that the plan isn’t to sneak 1-0 wins but to annihilate teams with amazing attacking play -and buying creative goal-scoring types like Mane and Wijnaldum will help with that, but Benteke was a great plan B.

I’m not suggesting he should start or that he’s better than Sturridge or Origi, who are faster dribblers and better finishers. I just feel that there will be games where we need him and it might have been better to keep him on our books and build his confidence than to freeze him out.

Good for Crystal Palace anyway -he’s going to do well for them.

Paul in Brussels


Three games to watch
West Bromwich Albion – Everton. The Toffees are very much a work in progress, and we’ll see what kind of progress when they try to break down the Pulis boys, who looked in decent form against Crystal Palace. Romelu Lukaku, Yannick Bolasie, and Ashley Williams are at various stages of readiness. Ross Barkley, who looked tentative against Spurs, will have to prove himself under a new manager. But those English lads Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry can still play a little bit, and Idrissa Gana looks fine in central midfield. A 3-man defense seems unnecessary against West Brom, so will Ronald Koeman move Mason Holgate out to right back, or maybe play James McCarthy there? Last year Koeman’s Southampton side drew 0-0 at the Hawthorns, and a repeat wouldn’t be a surprise.

Sunderland – Middlesbrough. The tactics at Manchester City weren’t too hard to formulate, but now David Moyes has to find an attack in a derby game he’s expected to win. Boro’s reasonable overall performance vs. Stoke obscured that their two-man central midfield was often overrun. But if Jan Kirchhoff isn’t available to anchor the midfield, Sunderland will have difficulty taking advantage. He’d also be the best choice to neutralize Gastón Ramirez, who makes the Boro attack go. Watch Boro’s fullbacks carefully: Emilio Nsue looks like a weak point in defense, George Friend an exciting attacker. Will Moyes then go with Lynden Gooch (or Wahbi Khazri) and Fabio Borini wide? A difficult game to call.

Leicester City – Arsenal. You’ll be excused if you’ve forgotten that these teams finished first and second last year. Neither side will finish that high this time around, but that doesn’t make the matchup any less intriguing. Leicester expect to be able to use their counterattack more effectively against the Gunners. Wes Morgan has been beaten in the air for goals twice in two games, so maybe Olivier Giroud will play up front with Sanchez in a more suitable wide role. Laurent Koscielny should be back, maybe Mesut Özil too. To be honest, no one has a clue how Arsenal will respond after last week, or, given the latest injury crisis, how they’ll line up in front of the back four. But this is the sort of game they tend to win, and remember they beat Leicester twice last year.


What you could have had
I found an old Total Sport magazine the other day (I never thrown anything away) and was interested as it was a preview of the Atlanta Olympics (we had very different expectations then). However, as it was August 1996 there was also a lot about football. Two stories in particular caught my eye.

The first was the new television deal. This was the second deal of the Premier League era and the theme of the article was how clubs would deal with the huge influx of money and what effect it would have on transfers, wages and the game in general. This was all because the deal guaranteed clubs £8m a year. Eight million pounds a year. There seemed to be genuine handwringing at the morality of a TV deal which gave clubs £8m. There was also real concern at the spiral effects of the money on the game. In retrospect maybe they were right in terms of where the game was heading, but not with the concerns over that amount of money. That wouldn’t pay the wages of several current players and it would only buy you half a Jordan Ibe.

The second thing that caught my eye was that Bruce Rioch had been sacked. It wasn’t the sacking that caught my eye (I was aware he was no longer Arsenal manager) but that Johan Cruyff was quickly installed as favourite to take over. Arsene is always quick to point out the players he almost signed but Arsenal- look at the manager you could have had. How great would it have been for English football to have the great man involved for a few years?
Micki Attridge


Just saying…
Since the mailbox has asked Rooney supporters to justify their faith, I feel it’s pertinent to point out that Guy Shrimpton is in the head to head F365 fantasy football league.

And he didn’t pick Rooney.

In fact, due to it being his draft requirement, if Guy doesn’t have Rooney in his lineup this week he is fined 15 points at the end of the season.

If despite this he still doesn’t pick him, then I think the debate is over.
Tim Sutton.


Is it just me or have Liverpool player sales exceeded their spending.

Dare I say the phrase…n n n n net spend,

Filthy filthy mouth.
Dave Lfc


Of Gods and Kings
Another Portrait of an Icon tribute, and I do realise I am rather late and may not quite make the cut. But if Daniel gets to read this, and it brings a smile, I think it would be worth the effort.

For starters, I am most certainly buying the book, atleast 3-4 copies to be precise, because I have a weird knack of buying a couple of copies of my favourite books, and handing them around to those I think would appreciate it. Secondly, since all proceeds go to charity, it is simply a no brainer. Some readers have asked for a Christmas release, but I think I can stuff cash away in the piggy bank for March. Please let us know an rough/estimate price Danny boy, you can put me down for atleast 4. One for my coffee table.

My relationship with the king goes as far back as 1995. My dad was born in Manchester, but I’ve spent most of my life in Australia. I had no sense or love of football, but watched games with him nonetheless since i was 5 just since i had no choice. Dad watched football just for the fun of it, with no real support of a team being Australian. On a holiday to Thailand when i was 6, dad bought me a Cantona jersey, the fake ones on the street, you get for todays equivalent of 10$. I loved it and treasured it, and made me the red I was today. And because of the jersey, and the person it represented, I became the united fan i am today. And i have lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly being a United fan. Looking back, my dad could have bought me a 50baht cheaper Liverpool one and it could easily have gone another way.

As for the man himself, what a legend. A cult figure. Cult, in a way that to the devoted, even every sin is applauded, like we did for the infamous kung-fu kick back in school. Enough readers have talked about his on field talent, skill and charisma. I’m here to write in about his his perceived arrogance, and how closely similar he is to the Zlatan of today. Its more like he is putting on a show, the entertainment, than the actual belief or ego people perceive it to be. As with Cantona, and now Ibrahimovic, every single player who has worked, trained and interacted with him knows and speaks of how humble and down to earth both these men were in person. Kings and Gods they were and are, only to the media and people who chose to believe in the hype. To everyone else, the people who mattered, they were only human. Mistakes, faults, good and bad just like the rest of us.

As Daniel quoted Cantona, he was, after all, only human. I guess when the world screamed for a circus, you didn’t have a choice but to give them the act the wanted.
Stig, MUFC

(Life is but a series of events that could have gone either way.)



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