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Arsenal ‘Crisis’ – Is It Really All Arsene Wenger’s Fault?

A look at how Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career has derailed in recent seasons and whether he deserves more time to try and turn things around at the Emirates.

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How the mighty have fallen. That may be the best phrase to describe the unbelievable slump of Arsene Wenger’s managerial career at Arsenal.

This is a man who has garnered a remarkable 11 trophies for the London club in 15+ years at the helm. But what has led to fans calling for his head? The fact that Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League for 8 years and without any trophy since 2005.

As they say, every good thing comes to an end. It seems to be getting to that time for the Frenchman, who is affectionately called Le Professeur (the Professor) by pundits and the media. Despite the plethora of achievements he has managed since 1996, many ardent, loyal and passionate fans of the club are calling for a change.

Life is cruel. That is the bitter truth. It seems a distant past now that Arsene led the Gunners to a staggering 49 match unbeaten run which brought about their 3rd Premier League title and 13th English top flight winners’ medal. That season they were captioned as the ‘INVINCIBLES’. Now the same man who brought them so much joy, success, fame, and glory is now under increasing pressure.

Some might say the fans are ungrateful, but in truth, they have been really supportive of their manager through thick and thin. It hasn’t been easy watching other teams claim trophies year in, year out. Perhaps what angered them most was the way in which the London giants fell to Birmingham City in the 2011 Carling Cup final. A game that represented the chance to end a 6 year trophyless drought.

This aside, they have also watched Spurs become the team to reckon with in London. That hurts, considering the fact that the Lilywhites have until now been in Arsenal’s shadow under Wenger’s tenure. This season has been a different story entirely as Harry Redknapp has turned his boys into title challengers and along the way, have played some of the best football in Europe.

Patience they say is a virtue, but even the most virtuous Arsenal supporter has lost it because of another dismal season that can only get worse. In the space of 3 days, their only 2 remaining chances of claiming some form of silverware went up in flames at the Giuseppe Meazza and the Stadium of Light. Maxi Allegri’s AC Milan left no stone unturned in their annihilation of Wenger’s wards. The 4-0 demolition was followed by another disappointing ouster from the FA Cup at the hands of Martin O’Neil’s Sunderland.

The fans have seen and witnessed just about enough. The only thing they look forward to now is 4th place which has become a major priority in the last 5 or 6 years. Prior to 2006, Arsene Wenger had never finished outside the top 2 since he assumed managerial duties at the club.

It is in adversity that you can easily point out a good, capable and efficient manager. It is when the going gets tough, that a great man steps up and attempts to turn things around in his favour. Despite the near misses and numerous set backs, Wenger has still managed to qualify for the stages of the Champions League in all of his 15 seasons at the club. That is a phenomenal achievement. But the fans are tired of feeding from crumbs. They want the whole meal and they have every right to demand for it. The million dollar question now is;

Should Wenger throw in the towel? Is this actually his fault?

We could lay the blame at his feet because he is the team leader. It is quite normal because when a ship capsizes, the captain is held solely responsible and rightly so. But this goes well beyond the Frenchman.

Name a manger today who has been successful without being backed by adequate funds to purchase quality players to complement the ones at his disposal. It could be argued that between 2005 and 2012, Arsene has had fantastic players and also bought decent ones. But it can also be pointed out that he hasn’t been given enough money to secure the services of world beaters who can propel the team to domestic and continental dominance. His most expensive buy (I stand corrected) is Andrei Arshavin who came for about £15 million. You can’t work miracles when you don’t have the capacity to. For a great club like Arsenal, much more is expected. That is not saying purchasing the playing rights of a quality player automatically makes a club successful (like in the case of Fernando Torres), but it does promote your ambition to compete with the very best in the business.

This season, Wenger brought in experienced hands like Yossi Benayoun, Mikel Arteta, & Per Mertesacker. Seasoned professionals who have paid their dues in every respect. He also lured the prodigiously talented Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain from Southampton to join forces with the North Londoners. He also lost his captain, Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and his best player last season-Samir Nasri to Manchester City. Losing a captain a few days before the commencement of a new season will unsettle anyone. Despite the setbacks and a disgraceful start to the current season, he is still fighting with Chelsea and Liverpool for 4th spot, with both clubs having spent at least 150 million pounds between them in the off-season.

I am not exonerating Arsene of any of the fans’ accusations. All I’m saying is that he should be given a chance to turn things around. It is common knowledge that he is the most successful manager in Arsenal’s history. That alone should buy him some time and earn him the respect he deserves.

The OX has come to the fore in recent games, playing probably the best football of his career to date. That is a good sign. RVP has also been the best striker in the league this season with 22 goals and a handful of assists, the result of a world class showing in the last year or so. His contributions have been astonishing. Players are finally returning from injury and we’re getting our squad back.

The team will have to give their all to the fans and their manager on Sunday when the Gunners host fierce rivals and high flying Spurs at the Emirates, in an attempt to get their season back on track. This is truly going to be a season-defining game.



  1. Kevvy

    February 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    The answer to the question is YES. Wenger has built a club he hasn’t got the ability to manage. He doesnt seem able to manage big name players unless he creates them himself. He doesn’t want to spend the funds he has available. Time to go Arsene, your time is nearly up!

    • Mike

      February 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      Lol – isn’t past your bed time plastic….

  2. Keith

    February 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Yes he’s the most successful arsenal manager but that doesn’t mean he is untouchable!if he can’t change his policies,arsenal is ready 2 make another most successful manager.

  3. Phillip

    February 25, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Fistly,why has anyone not looking into the quality of the people at the back room from the chairman down to the manager and see where the problems is coming from.Secondly,all this people are only concern about their interest they gain from their share of the club not the success and pride the club will give,just look at this it’s only Arsenal fc among the top 4 that is still runing by many business minded people who are not ready to gamble with there money.Why then are supporters calling for mangers head.I could remember someone among the board saying that arsenal is a business club.

  4. yusuf

    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm tryin to be loyal to the board/player by not tellin the truth,i think he knows the problm.

  5. ron ware

    February 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    No and yes
    cescs team, the spanish experiment has failed but the team were in all competitions till late last year.
    wenger has added central defenders and altered the style. was he guilty of trusting nasri? yes but he cannot be blamed for wilshire gibbs or sagna injuries.
    he definatly deserves the chance to build another side.
    some doubters play championship manager and think that they could do it for real.
    i doubt that anyone else could have worked with the money restrictions and still have a team consistantly in contention.. thats what we have been.. always in contention..
    some of you need to get a grip !!

    • Kevvy

      February 26, 2012 at 1:47 am

      He overplayed Wilshere last year and that’s why he got injured. He also knew he wouldn’t be back much before the end of the season and didn’t get in any reinforcements. Look at what happened with TVM5 last year, almost missed the whole season.
      I agree the injury to Sagna was unfortunate but Gibbs is more injury prone than Rosicky.
      If I had a injured ankle and I saw an Arsenal physio coming towards me, I’d hop away as fast as I could.

      • Andre

        February 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        ok i think i will just add the fact that it wasn’t just Gibbs and Sanga its also their back ups Santos and Jenkson that were injure and just as sanga made a comeback Mertasacker is out.
        wilshire wasn’t meant to be out the whole season he had injury set backs CM is the last place we need to bring in reinforcements

  6. kay

    February 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    wenger is the cause of arsenal’s problem because he does not want to spend financial.

  7. AnONYmouse

    February 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Here is what I think. AW did not spend money to buy because he acted as a grandfatherly figure to the players he recruited and intends to keep the promises he made when he lured them to Arsenal. Buying would make them feel they don’t stand a chance and will leave eg Merida, Norveilt, Bently, Pennant etc. Because he was with the club for so long, he saw the kids grow up to adulthood and kind of wanting them to have a future (as a father would be)and would not want to disappoint them. Managers like Mourinho who stay only a few year care more for his own glory than the young ‘urns so he buy and buy and to hell with the young players’ future.

    Remember AW once managed in the Far East. He may have picked up some Eastern and Confucian philosophies which may make him see life and football from a humane point of view.

  8. yinka

    February 26, 2012 at 12:56 am

    One tin I do belief is dat wenger lacks dignity nd ambition, wen d board claims money is avaliable nd u don’t object, then sumtin is wrong somewhere. football is a game of result nd @ d end of d day wenger ‘ll b judge not on aw well he made d club stable finacially buh on trophies he won. 4 God sake ferguson as spent more yrs nd won more trophies nd d hunger is still dere 2 win more.

  9. Pingback: Tottenham’s ascent leaves Arsenal with bitter lessons to learn – The Guardian (blog) | Arsenal Football Club Stuff

  10. Jim

    February 26, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Any manager in his position would fight the board for the transfer budget? What did he say when he was told there was a 70M transfer budget? “I’d return it”.

    Any manager in his position will recruit new players of the same calibre after selling top players to maintain the squad quality and depth. Has he ever done that? Selling, yes. Buying, only cheap bargains.

    His obession with Project Youth is all and above everything else, above his own legacy and the club. He can’t spend, because he doesn’t want to admit that his Project Youth is a failure. He’s still paying Diaby, Almunia, Denilson and the likes 60K a week though. Djourou just got a new contract with a salary raise!!!!

    To those who hold the view that Arsenal has been in financial problems, just do a bit of research and you will find out that Arsenal is the 3rd richest football club in the world. You’d be surprised at the size of Arsenal’s cash reserve. Yet, we are spending at the same level as Wigan.

    Will Arsene Wenger ever change his transfer policy? I doubt it. There’s no evidence in the last 15 years to prove to me that he will ever change.

    • Kevvy

      February 26, 2012 at 1:40 am

      Spot on Jim! I don’t believe there has been any real shortage of money at Arsenal, just Wenger’s reluctance to spend it? How anyone could justify extending Djourou’s contract is beyond me!
      How long would Wenger last at Real Madrid with this attitude? That’s why he’ll never go there. Any good ambitious manager with no money to spend would leave!

  11. apollo

    February 26, 2012 at 2:16 am

    There is no doubt that Wenger is solely responsible for Arsenal’s demise. He has wasted the club’s money on stupid outrageous salaries on unproven players, or players who are consistently under-performing, and he keeps renewing these contracts, each and every time increasing their salaries. Why should Almunia be on 60000 pounds a week? Squillaci on 50000 pounds a week? Djourou 55000, Carlos Vela 50000, Bendtner 52000 , Diaby 50000, Rosicky 60,000 , Ramsey 55,000 and many more similar salaries. These salaries could have been freed to buy better players, instead sticking to players who have failed to deliver time after time. This is criminal. WENGER OUT!!

    • Matthew

      February 26, 2012 at 3:19 am

      So you believe that these funds were available? the board deal with transfers and negotiations Wenger has a say, Why did the board not offer enough for cahill or mata, why did we lose out? why did the board not refuse to sell nasri if we are rich why does it matter if we lose out on him.
      Gazidis has even said that finishing out of the top four does not bother him, something Wenger didnt agree with. Wenger also said he would not lose both Samir and Cesc as it would send the wrong message to others about the clubs ambitions, a week later they were gone.
      Everyone thinks Arsene runs everything, yes he has a say in a lot and probably involved more than other managers, and yes he is stubborn. but you are stupid to believe wenger is happy with what is happening at the club. This is a man who said he would walk away with his friend Dein and i think it is his love for arsenal that is letting him take ALL the blame for people alot higher than him. your an idiot.

      • Jim

        February 26, 2012 at 5:28 am

        Why does the board not offer money for transfers? Because the manager doesn’t ask for it, doesn’t insist for it. doesn’t fight for it.

        Wenger is on record declaring that he would return the money, if given by the board. If you are a member of the Arsenal board, of course why should you spend money at all, when your manager is reluctant to use it.

        He believes he can win trophies with kids by throwing 50-60K a week at them. He doesn’t need to sign any, except at bargain prices. Only after the Old Trafford humiliation that he would rush to panic buys (panic buys, not quality buys).

        At every football club, big and small, there’s always a manager who wants to spend as much as possible, and there’s a board who want to spend as less as possible. At every club in the world that is, except at our club, with our board and our manager.

        Then, to make the fans happy and hopeful to fork out money for season ticket renewals, there are always talks about spending on such and such players, to only end up with nothing happens. The same tricks will be repeated this year, as they were last year, the year before and the year before, and….

  12. John Lokaala

    February 26, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Yes, I think we need new blood to invigorate our energy. Arsene is not telling us where the problem is… we are meant to understand that there is money in the transfer kitty each year… wht happens to the money?

    Cesc was our main anchor man in the Midfield, Wilshare was an option but got injured… Le Proffeseur did nothing to replace Cesc of whom the team was built from…

    I think it’s time for him to rest and not to tarnish the good record he created in years. The policy has failled and now we play flat football not build on skills, intelligence and strength…

  13. stanwood

    February 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Sorry, AW is the manager and everything to do with the success of the club is entirely his responsibility. If, in any respect he denies responsibility then he should not be the manager and if he believes that he cannot bring success to the club because of any financial restrictions the board place on him, then he should be up front about it and not make stupid promises that he knows he can’t deliver. He has dismantled what was probably the finest team to grace the premiership and replaced them with under-performing and under-talented players. RVP would be mad to stay and why should he invest the rest of his career in a club that refuses to invest in itself.

  14. Andre

    February 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    MERTASACKER- 10,000000
    ANDRE SANTOS- 6,000000
    CHAMBERLAIN- 12,000000
    GERVINIHO- 10,000000
    PARK- 3,500000
    JENKSON- 1,0000000

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