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Wenger Is Too Stubborn For His Own Good

Arsene Wenger Dejected Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after referee Andre Marriner awards Liverpool a penalty kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on April 17, 2011 in London, England.

What did we learn from Arsenal’s draw against Liverpool? No much more than we have seen already from Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Despite having some fantastic attacking talent in Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshere – two of which are in the team of the year, they ran out of ideas in the final third, and few clear cut chances were created for a goal scoring opportunity. The best came late on to Robin van Persie, who was thwarted by Liverpool’s reliable goalkeeper, Reina – another troubling position that Wenger has been slow to deal with.

We all love Arsenal’s play – so many mention it, so many praise their style, so many applaud the passing of the ball and the quick attacking play, but it often gets Arsenal nowhere. In other words, it isn’t as effective as Wenger believes it to be. Arsenal must invest in a clinical striker, one that will settle down well in England quickly, and one that is not prone to injuries. Manchester United found one for £6 million in Javier Hernandez, so Wenger doesn’t need to break the bank. A free transfer for Chamakh hasn’t worked, van Persie has suffered persistent injuries, and Bendtner shows up when he wants to, but blows his own trumpet as loud as anything.

When the whole squad is fit, Arsenal can form a brilliant team, a side which would give any team a real go, and often come out on top. The problem – the problem that Wenger is ignorant to – is that at some point, players will have injuries. In Arsenal’s case, a lot of injuries, and with top players out for a long time such as Thomas Vermaelen, as well as injuries which costs players months out like Djourou, van Persie, Szczesny and so on, they are often left with a weak, untested team, playing against a largely fit, capable side. The strength in depth is not there.

Look at Manchester United. Vidic and Ferdinand are the starting centre backs, but if one of them is to suffer an injury, there are plenty of players available to step in. There is Wes Brown – not the greatest, but strong and experienced and ready to step in, Chris Smalling, not the most experienced, but certainly proving capable and reliable, and Jonny Evans, again, not the greatest, but certainly able against tough opposition.

On the other hand, Arsenal had Vermaelen out for the whole season, and were left with only three first team central defenders, two of which are in their debut season; Koscielny and Squillaci – and the latter has not settled in England very well at all and therefore not having the trust from the rest of the team. Then when Djourou suffered a dislocated shoulder – more woe, more problems, and a far weaker back line.

His reluctance to spend has been both praised and criticized by Arsenal fans, but it has cost Arsenal trophies this season. Again. A side with a solid back line, with at least three injury free, top class central defenders, a clinical striker, and a midfield who knew when to pull the trigger, would not have lost the Carling Cup Final to Birmingham City.

Wenger sticks to what he believes in. He is strong minded, and, because of this, is often delusional – for example not accepting that the penalty Eboue conceded against Liverpool was a foul or worthy of a penalty kick. He will not spend money, which has, and will continue to cost Arsenal trophies. It is good that he is passionate and believes clearly about what he wants, but a man once said “never let your persistence and passion turn into stubbornness and ignorance.”

Wenger must improve his squad this summer, he must not be afraid to dip into the transfer window to add to his team, and with the new billionaire majority shareholder, he surely now has no excuses. He doesn’t need to spend the amount Manchester City or Chelsea have, but he needs to spend enough to buy decent back-up for his team.

Wenger needs his, and Arsenal’s priorities sorted. Does he want a trophy at Arsenal or not? Because if he does, he must listen to the concerns of fans, and spend some money or face having to change his whole team set-up. Arsenal will fall behind the pack next season otherwise.

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