Sunday’s loss to Bolton did not come as a great surprise for many Arsenal fans. It was a painful reminder that, put quite simply, the current squad just aren’t good enough.
From being in the hunt for 4 trophies, to being in a position where the club may even have to fight for an automatic Champion’s League place, it is safe to say that all the talk of ‘mental strength’ was well wide of the mark. It is very clear that there are some players within the clubs ranks that do not have what it takes to be champions.
For a life-long Arsenal fan, this is a tough pill to swallow. Not necessarily for ending the season trophy-less, but to see the squad not fully committed and passionate is hard to take. Usually, this is a comment thrown at players too lightly, but I think it is justified this season.
I certainly do not expect Arsenal to win trophies year after year – one glance at the history books will tell you it’s never been that way – but I do expect our players to give their all. When you look at clubs like Blackpool, you can see every man working for the team. Whatever league they play in next season, I think many could learn a lot from their attitude.
Yet it is not this that angers me the most. It is the way in which the Arsenal fans have descended into an almost ‘civil-war’-type battle, with a section of the support calling for the curtains to be drawn on Arsene Wenger’s managerial reign.
I am not one of these people.
Many of these ‘supporters’ (and I use the term lightly) are levelling abuse at the man that made this club what we are today. Just as Herbert Chapman revolutionised the club all those decades ago, Arsene has done the same in this modern era.
Don’t get me wrong, I can entertain and understand many criticisms of Wenger, but the abuse levelled at him is absolutely disgusting. There is no doubt that things have to change in the summer – clearly ‘project youth’ can only take the club a certain distance. Now money has to be spent. Of that we are all agreed.
I would simply like to ask these people: who would do better? And if it is purely trophies you are after, do you really think that a change of manager will be a quick fix? To change manager at a time like this could be devastating. Let’s not forget that we are still in the top 4 and not in the bottom 3 (As we have been for the last 14 seasons). To change style and philosophy now could mean an even longer wait for silverware. Plus, If Wenger was to leave, we could potentially see players like Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas follow suit.
For anybody that doubts Wenger’s passion and commitment – and there are a few – you only have to look at the man in the post match interviews at Bolton on Sunday. He looked distraught and upset. It was the look of a man of the realisation that his trust and belief in some players was not being repaid.
Arsene Wenger may be stubborn. But he is certainly not stupid. Whatever he says to the media, he knows he has to change things in the summer. I believe he will, too. I am sure he will do his best to improve the squad and address weak areas. Fans should judge him then.
No manager is bigger than a club. But this man deserves just a little bit more respect than some are showing him at the moment.
What is that old saying?
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…
By Daniel Todd – Arsenal fan