Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughAn exercise for Arsene supporters - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough An exercise for Arsene supporters - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

An exercise for Arsene supporters

The battle between those who still love Mr. Wenger and those who no longer do bats to-and-fro absurdly, and I admit to being a small part of it. When we lose 11 points out of 12 in the transfer window (while buying / borrowing NO additional full back) the growing Anti Arsenes are vocal. Then we trounce the 10 men of lowly Blackburn and the Pro Arsenes demand we apologise to the great man. Now we are humiliated by AC Milan who were far too good for us … and  etc. Let’s hope we can scrape another win against Sunderland.

As results have broadly disappointed and as Le Professeur’s decisions have bemused so many the Antis have multiplied – based NOT ONLY on performance but on clear examples of team policy, tactics, transfers (ie. Hard Evidence).

The Pro Arsenes have surely shrunk to a hard core by now but their opinions seem based – NOT on Hard Evidence but – on blind loyalty which they demand we should all follow.  They seem to have little to say about team tactics and  selection, substitutions, transfers etc.

But let us examine some Evidence and we could play a sort of game. Below are set out claims from us Antis and the Pros can take the opportunity to argue back. Like no it was not a mistake because …. ?  And I don’t mean foul insults with nil logical footballing argument.  Come on, It could be great fun.

We the Antis say the incessant 4/3/3 formation, with 2 genuine wingers, is not always right because those 2 – while threatening in attack – often lose the ball and fail to contribute enough in midfield and defence so that our main midfield is too often outnumbered and indeed over run.  OK now the Pros should reply … NO, the 4/3/3 is always right  because …. ?  … Geddit ?

We the Antis say it is crazy to use the same formation in every game, with no variety, no changes according to opposition and circumstance. Other teams  do shrewdly use alternative formations. Meanwhile every opposition knows exactly how Arsenal will play and how they should prepare.  Now the Pros need to respond … NO, we should never change the formation because …. ?

That’s it, well done, you are starting to get the hang of it. Here’s another one…

We the Antis say Arsene views some players completely out of line with most fans.  He has given (say) Djourou a new contract while we think he is a ball watcher and very error prone.  AW has wrongly kept on favouring Walcott, Arshavin, Denilson, Bendtner etc. The Pros disagree … because …. ?

We the Antis  say Arsene has brought the Worst out of players converted (forced) to play within his inflexible formation in roles to which they are unsuited. Obviously Arshavin but also Eboue, Denilson, Bendtner, Vela (plus Wiltord and Reyes). A Manager like Redknapp adapts formation to find a role which brings the Best out of (say) Modric. The Pros disagree  … because …. ?

We the Antis say several seasons ago we lost the winning balance between attack / defence ; technique / strength ; passing / shooting. Le Professeur has since then obstinately clung in error to his inflexible, attacking, technical, purist principles.   The Professeur Pros …  reply …. ?

We the Antis say we were nearly bottom of EPL in August/ September when it was left till the last 2 days (after an 8-2 loss) to bring in replacement players who could not integrate over night.  I still don’t know how much of that was the Manager and how much the Directors (ie. Kroenke). But hey .. the Wenger Pros think last August was not mismanaged … because …. ?

We the Antis say a defenders’ injury crisis was obvious in December and early January we should have bought / hired an experienced full back to tide us over. We did not and then took 1 point out of 12 (!). That had to be The Manager – not the Directors. The Pro Arsene fans say there was no mismanagement in January … because …. ?

Now to change tack…  I would say Arsene, at Arsenal, has always been a top notch Director of Football – one of the best in the world.  Training techniques and facilities ; fitness and diet ;  scouting network and sheer knowledge of clubs and players. Overmars, Henry, Vieira, Kanu, Pires, Petit, Anelka, Fabregas. I believe he also handles the young players well and certainly with great loyalty (which they mainly do not return).

But he has never been a coach. Why ?  Because his team selections, substitutions, lack of tactical awareness … all say so. I remember when he used to make extraordinary substitutions some years back (like Cygan as defensive left wing !) but we were good enough in those days not to notice. He has also  never been a coach because various ex players who won many international caps and played in lots of top Euro football say so. They are the first to agree he has done wonders for the club but he is … no coach.

Arsene himself is quoted as claiming his greatest achievement was to keep us in the ECL for 3 or 4 years – via mainly young, inexperienced players – at a time when the stadium debt (and UK property market) meant there really was no money to spend.  I agree, that was a great achievement.

When it comes to winning trophies .. under Arsene we won plenty.  But they  were late 1990s and early 2000s since when the game has moved on. David Dein was right when he argued for a big, big money backer (and was kicked off the Board !)  Many of us claim that Arsene would never have won those earlier trophies if he had not inherited the old back 4/5 … plus Keown, Campbell, Lehmann thereafter. We have since displayed no clue about defending.

To repeat, the game has moved on and … very sadly, Arsene has been left behind. But perhaps the Pro Arsene camp can explain – with hard Evidence please – why that is not true ?   I am afraid …  “ be blindly loyal “ is no argument. Nor is  “ eff of Fentiger.“  That would simply show a total lack of counter argument.

Chris. D. Fentiger

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