After the 6-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday, It is time for Arsene Wenger to let someone else take charge of the London club.
It may seem knee-jerk, it may seem too obvious to bring up after a stunning 6-0 defeat, but there’s no avoiding the massive elephant in the room.
The time has come for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to step aside from the current manager’s role and let someone else take this team forward. He has been an amazing ambassador for the club, has turned the club around and brought a new way of thinking to Arsenal life, but he is close to over-staying his welcome. It’s time to go.
You can’t argue with his record, to take charge of 1000 games for one team is an incredible achievement, but with 501 games having passed without Arsenal lifting a single trophy, you wonder if he should have made it this far.
The typical British manager is slightly different from the mainland European model.
Here, the majority are in charge of everything; the signing and selling of players, the training, the tactics and all the press work. Arsene is still a master in-front of the camera. He may lose on occasion to Jose Mourinho, the real expert, but he is a great talker and always worth your time.
There is no doubt he has the ability to develop players at the highest level. Cesc Fabregas, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, all three have come through under Wenger, and there of course others, but some of the recent graduates raise more questions than answers about Wenger’s current philosophy.
A player of Cesc Fabregas’ quality, didn’t develop to his current level playing with similar aged players, he developed into a wonderful midfielder playing beside Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit amongst others.
If Fabregas were to make his debut at a 16-year-old now, would he have grown into the player he is today? Would Jack Wilshere be one of the World’s best if he had been able to play beside Vieira and Petit every week? Obviously we will never know, but it shows a change in philosophy from Wenger, a change that hasn’t been beneficial to Arsenal in recent years.
For too long the Arsenal side was void of any experience, any top-level experience, it was clear to all outside observers, but still Wenger refused to address the issue. How often were Arsenal fans crying out for an experienced goalkeeper, only to see Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny and Manuel Almunia between the sticks? Bring in an experience Premier League goalkeeper and you give the defence another layer of confidence.
Wenger can obviously still spot a good player, the defensive signings of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were good moves, but the support from both the goalkeeper or the defensive midfield areas has put the defence under unwarranted pressure, and it makes them look vulnerable.
How many of Chelsea’s goals from Saturday came from the midfield giving the ball away carelessly and Chelsea swarming over the back-line? There was not much the defence could do, the damage was already done.
It has been clear for seasons now that Arsenal need experience and grit in the middle of the park. Mikael Arteta and Mathieu Flamini do not offer this. Wenger’s refusal to buy experienced players, except for on the odd occasion, has turned Arsenal into a side with a soft under-belly.
Imagine someone like Rino Gattuso in his prime, even in his thirties, patrolling the Arsenal midfield, adding that layer of toughness that the Arsenal side lacks. Even now, players at the other big clubs, the likes of Nemanja Matic, Fernandinho, and Ramires would have added more fight to the Arsenal side.
Then this summer, when Arsenal were linked with a new “top-class” striker each week, someone to give Olivier Giroud competition, if not provide an upgrade on the Frenchman. Who did Wenger sign, that’s right, £42 million was spent on a creative midfielder.
One position that Arsenal really didn’t need the upgrade. It’s not to say that Mesut Ozil isn’t a top quality player, he is superb, but would it not have been better spent on a goal-scoring forward? In-fact there were a number of positions that Arsenal could have invested the money in, but Wenger chose Ozil.
If Arsenal played in Spain, Italy or France, Wenger would have mostly likely been moved upstairs, left to tend to youth development and player scouting, giving someone else the chance to assess the team, picking the players and work out what they needed to succeed.
Wenger has failed to do that for far too long now. It would be impossible for this to happen at Arsenal, the Wenger shadow hanging over the new boss would provide too much pressure.
Wenger has taken this side as far as he can. Arsenal needs a new lease of life injected into them. Wenger is too stuck in his ways to let this happen under his watch. Managing 1000 games is a great achievement, but there is little doubt Arsenal will fail to progress if he is left to make it to past 1010 never mind 2000.