Forget “Belief” & “Spirit” Wenger, Squad Depth Is Needed
Arsene Wenger begins answering almost every post match question with two words which are becoming his trademark. As the interviewer lifts the microphone to the Arsenal managers’ mouth in anticipation of an answer to the preceding question…
Arsene Wenger begins answering almost every post match question with two words which are becoming his trademark. As the interviewer lifts the microphone to the Arsenal managers’ mouth in anticipation of an answer to the preceding question, you can quite easily predict that the answer will start with the words; “I believe.”
The sort of “belief” Wenger talks about in interviews and press conferences are, of course his opinions and convictions on a certain issue, however, he expects his Arsenal team to play with a very different sort of belief. It is the psychological belief with which his players should perform, with a certain amount of confidence and mental strength to trust each-other and themselves, often added to by Wenger with the word “spirit.”
Wenger puts a lot of trust in this “belief” and “spirit.” He has shown how patient a human being he is in his time at Arsenal, especially during the past 6 years in which Arsenal have won nothing, much to the frustration of the fans. However, despite increasing pressure to do so, Wenger has always been reluctant to spend a lot of money on big, established players and has relied on his youth heavily.
It is his trust in the psychological side of football which he uses as an excuse to avoid the real issue of squad depth so as to prevent the need to spend money on more players. It is frustrating for fans who have shown loyalty to the club and Wenger for so long, yet the clear issue for most people does not seem to register too urgently with Wenger.
The plain fact is, “belief and spirit” will not help an injured player, unable to walk on two feet, nor will it help a team severely lacking in strength in depth. Of course Wenger is right, players need to have a strong mental attitude, with desire, belief, spirit and leadership, but where there are constant injuries during a long hard season, once a side loses games and morale is low due to heavy expectation, the spirit and belief in players needs a little help from new, fresh recruits.
With the loss of two quality players in Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, as well as the sale of Gael Clichy, Arsenal are lacking in numbers. When you compare the squad size to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and now Liverpool, who have all spent big on new recruits despite not losing as many players as Wenger, the weaknesses are clear.
Unfortunately, signing Gervinho, Jenkinson, Joel Campbell and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain do not address the immediate issues Arsenal have, and while they have a very decent and respectable first team, when you take injuries and suspensions into account throughout the season, they will not be strong enough to compete against the best.
Fortunately for Arsenal fans, it seems Wenger is making some movement, with rumours of Yann M’Vila, Marvin Martin, Eden Hazard among others in midfield as well as defensive reinforcements like Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill on his transfer wish list. So while Wenger has more spirit and belief than a priest drunk on vodka, I believe it is quality in depth that counts. Over to you Arsene.
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