Game Over. New version required.

Howdie folks… A short blog today, as am writing this on the Eurostar on the way back from Paris and Marrakech. After a 6 hour delay in Morocco, I’m heading back considerably later than I thought I would!

This weekend and the game against Bolton was the final nail in the coffin. Another loss and another failure to get easy points – for a team that is trying to be Champions that is. 6 points from the last 7 games and only one win in 10 games. It’s not championship form – in fact it’s relegation form.

Personally, I am at a loss to how these same players can win some tough games home and away earlier in the season but crumble when it really counts. I recently talked about how our 4-5-1 formation and lack of adapting per game and during games affects – something relatively surprising in itself, especially from such an experienced manager… But more recently, I have begun to think it’s something much deeper.

The formation and personnel was good enough to get us into the position to win the league in the first place, so there must be more to it than that – and in addition it does put the manager’s lack of changing it into perspective.

Against Bolton our line up was our strongest team – Szcznesy, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Jack, Song, Cesc, Theo, Van Persie and Nasri. On paper, an unstoppable force capable of beating anyone. Personally I think Arsene is a little bewildered that despite our injuries getting better and us finally being able to field our first team, the results have been so bad. In fact, the more players we get back from injury, the worse our form gets!

Questions do come to mind…

Has the manager not been able to motivate the players?

To have such a talented group of players who have shown how good they are previously – but yet not be up for it when it counts – does that cite a lack of motivation? If playing good football and finishing in the top four good enough for the club, and the manager constantly repeats such a statement in the press – then does this filter to the players? Do they get demotivated by lack of the club’s ambition? When our players play badly but our manager backs them and continues to play them – we become a club and a team that accepts mediocrity.

Have the players let down the manager?

It’s clear to see that these players have the ability to play better – we all know that these players have other lives – the reason Niklas Bendtner was omitted from a crucial game in the run in was due to injury – but he’s out partying and clubbing. Cesc is too busy worrying about his twitter follower count and putting his want to play Barcelona ahead of himself keeping fit.

When called upon to deputise our second string has been woeful – not being able to beat the likes of Leyton Orient or Huddersfield is simply not good enough.

We have a massive wage bill, players on long term contracts and well looked after. In my opinion, they have let the manager down big time. They’ve cruised the recent games and in some games, they not tried hard enough. We have a big squad of under performers. It’s down to youth – but despite youth, you’d expect more from the players.

Is the squad simply not good enough?

Surely the biggest question. The fans have believed that the likes of the team that played against Bolton to be good enough to win titles. Last season’s excuse was injuries during the run in – but this season’s excuse is…

I have learnt that our first XI is simply not good enough – partially down to some of the formations and tactics but mentally and technically they are not the team that we think they are. Our first team is a big factor of experience away from being there – and our reserve players, the likes of Eboue, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner and Chamakh aren’t good enough for the Arsenal. Before you say that I’m being harsh – the question to ask is whether any of the aforementioned list of players would get into United, Chelsea’s or even City’s first XI – the answer is hell no!

So where does that leave us next season? First, is Cesc staying? If not, replace him. Build a team with the rest of the first XI. Go back to 442. Get in a good number 2 – get in a world class striker and centre back. Get rid of the overpaid fringe players and make them hungry for success.

We are close to something, but we’ve got to figure out what that something is before we can make it happen!

Til tomorrow my friends…

  • AmriGooner

    Has the manager not been able to motivate the players?
    No NO NO.
    Just look at his reactions in those recent games. The man still has a lot of passion for the club and always want to do the best.
    I think it was more down to the players letting him down over and over again despite putting a lot of faith in them.
    Really I expect some real actions and changes toward those who didn’t deserve such faith in them.

  • Berth

    It was more of obsession than passion from Wenger. His obsession to prove people wrong cost us. Instead of taking his emotions out of the equation he kept on displacing his obsession so glaringly; it had absolutely nothing to do with the players.

    Belief me this very team could have won the league if the manager was less obsessive.

  • Fo

    @ AmriGooner:
    You’re right – accepting 2nd best infiltrates to the players – they don’t actually have the passion for the win as the manager is happy to be 2nd best and has all the excuses in the world.

  • Fo

    @ Berth:
    Definitely agree – Wenger is obsessed with proving people wrong – people say he needs to buy a GK, so he doesn’t buy one. People say he should buy a CB, so he doesn’t buy one. People say he should buy a DM, so he doesn’t buy one.

    Stubborn as hell, and for the wrong reasons.

  • yemi

    Speechless

  • alfie

    I can’t believe this ManCity are 5 points adrift of us with a game in hand, wenger you have really gone and done it this time, I wonder where are all the fan who were saying nothing’s wrong were second in the league, this season is not a disappointment????
    It is not a coincidence that we have not won a trophy for 7 years something is very wrong BUT hell i knew that about 3 seasons ago.

    Wenger am sharping my blade for you this summer, I am convinced that your intentions are simply for personal gain and to hell with everybody else, well that’s ok BUT you should not complain when people question your judgment. You have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are tactically inept and that is a cardinal sin in modern football
    And people are here blaming the players who the hell bought them ???
    Wenger all the blame every single one is on your shoulders cause if this team had been successful you would have been praised so ALL, every single blame is on you shoulders. You blatantly refuse to address the needs of the team just to say i told you so (Personal gain) Your selfish.

    We make a whole lot of money YET we by in the basement, AND to compound that an increase in ticket prices. Arsenal is like a hotel that charges a $5000 a night BUT the rooms, food and drinks are cheap, I think the only looser here would be the patrons.
    Some one once told me to make my argument logically BUT when a club does the samething over and over and over again and get the same result BUT refuses to change where is the logic………………
    By the way ManCity play westHam next …………….

  • Arsefan101

    @ alfie:
    Agree – a while back Arsene was saying how 2nd was okay this season as the team were close, but now when MC win their game in hand, 4th looks like the most likely option!

  • jefffulham

    Good Afternoon all i have been reading this forus for a while but havent posted. I also read Arseblog which is a great forum and although more pro than anti- Wenger, is still a great read and very balanced in its views. It makes a very good point today about our wage bill being on a par with United and Chelsea, but that the latter clubs’ players have earned their money whilst ours haven’t. It asks who will buy Denilson when he’s on £60k a week.If you then include other failures and mediocrities such as Eboue, Almunia, Diaby and Rosicky who one presumes are all on around £2-3m each, it’s no surprise none of them want to leave.Additionally, who will buy them anyway at such extortionate wages? Debating who will come and go is pointless, even if Wenger finally wakes up after slumbering for four years and admits that maybe this team is not good enough to win trophies.Two or three signings here or there will make no difference. There is a collective malaise that afflicts us every season when there are medals to be secured. For some time now, people here have said we “challenge every season”- well we don’t actually. We do until March and then when we play decent teams, or anyone who decides to have a go, we collapse and then as in 2008, 2010 and this, we collapse. Why is this- does the Stadium refinancing suddenly then affect us, does the lack of big signings then hold us back, as others on here suggest? No, the reason we cannot respond, as Arseblog states, is because who is going to put their necks on the line, when mediocrity will still be rewarded? The mnager saying we are “winners, have mental strength, the best squad ever” etc can only breed complacency. How many players in this team really want to win and look gutted when they don’t? Three or four, the rest will probably have forgotten about it by the following week.Wenger then cannot change things because our reserves are not good enough even if they are averaging £50k a week in wages

  • devday

    Alfie – I had to spam your last message as it was lifted directly from football365 – please can you avoid copying and pasting large chunks of text from other sites. Thanks.

  • harry

    why he puts himself through this torture is the biggest mistery of our time. He has the funds, and he certainly has the ambition. Now he stands in shame, with no proper reason why he didnt assess at minimum our central defence alert. He is not only frustrating us fans, he is also waisting the good years of the world class players we got. Instead of building strong collective winner mentality, he is doing the opposite, it shows in the reactions of our players, they get scared and paralyzed at times, surely haunted by old ghosts. These players have a few years to make it. That is why Cesc would leave, and who can fault him, he is not obliged to stay loayal to AWs fairytales.

  • Steve

    Interesting read, I read this column daily and find WOA a great read and the comments as well (unlike others sites). I agree with a lot and disagree with a lot – which is great as the other point of view is put over – makes you think instead of blindly commenting.

    But the end of this season has got to me – I’ve posted a number of comments over the last weeks – that’s how bad its got, normally read and pass not comment.

    The Bolton game got to me so here I go:-

    Wenger: The old clash song may be going through his head “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now!

    My answer is stay but think the back room staff may need a re jig. Some of the The Invincibles back line in the coaching squad would be an idea. Or as I have suggested before Steve Bould in as assistant manager especially if Pat Rice is on his way (Does anyone know about this as I class it as rumour at the moment). A certain Denace the Menace to teach these kids shooting is not bad!

    Formation: It’s worked away from home but not at home – we need to be flexible

    4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 @ home
    4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 away

    Squad: Where do you start!

    Strikers: I think most agree RVP is one but who should play with him? or who plays wide?

    Out: B52, Arshavin (or play him up from as a 2nd striker he is no midfileder!)
    Stay: Theo, Vela, Chamakh (I see the main post disagrees but 11 out of less that 1/2 a season good from my point of view – when B52 was fit Wenger played him in place of Chamakh)
    In: Hard one this but a proper CF – on the bigger side with good feet and head (stating the obvious). A proper winger or two.

    Mid Field: Eternal question Cesc ! Needs to be sorted immediately. Although I’m more concerned about losing Nasri.

    Out: Eboue, Denilson, Diaby (he is not Viera)
    Stay: Cesc, Nasri, Jack, Ramsey, Song
    In: Scott Parker

    Tactical Change:

    Move Koscielny into a holding midfield player providing backup to Song (arguably one of our best players this year but a little prone to yellow cards)

    Defence: Long one this so by position

    Full backs: keep what we have but a decent right side backup
    Centre Back: Where so I start!!!!
    Out: Squillaci
    Keep: Vermaelen, Djourou, Miquel
    Tactical change: Koscielny > Midfield
    In: one of Cahill, Mertesacker,Hangeland may be 2

    Keeper:
    Out: Almunia, Fabianski,
    Keep: Szczesny, Lehmann (only joking but think his attitude scares the living daylights out of some into performing better!), Mannone ??
    In: I’d like to see Given buy he wants No1 football

    What do you think?

    Remember, we watch all the other clubs changing manager, look at Villa – Martin O’Neill there OK now ….Lpool same again King Kenny is back and motivation, Man City is driven by pay packets look at UTD they have stuck with him thick and thin thou thin was mainly at the start. I think Chelski would have been better if Ray Wilkins had stayed and the title race would be over by now.

    Wenger inherited a good squad but not a Championship squad – he took em to the next level the ultimate – unbeaten. That’s hard to replicate. He is now building a squad in his image but I think he needs to look a little back to go forward. A bit of Mr Graham in there would be nice. He gave us a taste for success and AW gave us more.

    I am not upset about a trophy less year but surrendering 2nd or even the though of 3rd does.

  • Berth

    Steve sounds like your reading everyones thought. Though Roger Johnson seems a better defender than Cahill; boy can he defend.

    Petit and wright said we need Englishness in the squad to improve us mental wise. That I agree a million times.

  • punkos

    Same here as steve, read the forum daily, and find WOA a great and interesting read, i don’t want wenger out, has done amazing for the club, if only we had bought 2 or 3 experienced players this season, leaves me wondering what if?????. Can’t bear to think this but, what happens if we beat utd, then chelsea beat utd, leaving the league open for chelski…. nnnoooooo

  • richiebacardi

    I honesly think that AW should openly start admitting after the matches, that the team just didn’t perform well.

    This instead of saying that the reason we drew or loss or threw away a lead was because of a few bad decisions, or the pitch or something else.

    I have been watching the games recently and Arsene spends more time moaning at the 4th official or the referee than shouting at his players. That needs to change.

    Simples.