Wenger at the Helm

“I knew when I decided to go for a young team what would hit me. I was prepared for that. I am pleased that I was not wrong but we have a long way to go and a lot to improve.” – Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger is truly a brave man. Not buying established players with experience but instead choosing to trust the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Alex Song, and Johan Djourou shows a large amount of faith and even more courage. Add the yearly-published lists of football’s richest teams that regularly show Arsenal F.C. to be among the wealthiest and you’ve got a very puzzling situation for both fan and neutral.

Some fans have panicked. Some have given up entirely. Many have criticized Wenger. The criticism has come from all sides and certainly from frustrated Arsenal fans. As results go, so goes the mood of the fan. Well, not all fans. Some are patient and can see the bigger picture. I understand the frustration of those that cannot see it or choose to ignore it but the calls for Wenger to be removed have always seemed strange to me. Not only has it become hard for me to envision an Arsenal side not managed by Arsene Wenger (obviously the day will come and I’ll have to accept it) but if we sacked Wenger today, who would we replace him with?

Earlier this month, the question was posed and from the many responses, I have selected the one below:

“I have been an Arsenal fan for 22 years and I am simply outraged that Wenger has lasted this long into the season. He has had his time, we need results and we need them now. A win at West Brom is not good enough. We are no longer a top-four side. The season is over for us. It’s such a shame, I once believed in his work. We are going to fall back once again into mediocrity. Like we were before but fail to forget: mid-table, boring boring Arsenal.”

This week is a good time to reflect on how we’ve done so far this season. It would take a total collapse by United and something similar by Liverpool and Chelsea for us to win the league. However we are well placed to finish in the top four and are mounting serious challenges for the FA Cup and European club football’s top prize, the Champions League title. The league crown is my main priority every season but I won’t bore you with EPL history of how only a handful of clubs have managed to win it. A cup double would be good compensation.

I would love to ask our fellow fan of 22 years if he still feels the same way today as when he expressed his outrage at Wenger. No doubt he does but it’s starting to look like he and many like him have lost faith in a team that is improving. The fact that Wenger’s position at the club is safe has been construed by some as there being no pressure on him to win – for he knows it’s unlikely that he’ll be replaced. The reality is that the man puts tremendous pressure on himself not only to win EVERY game but to build lasting stability at the club.

Debating the merits of the Wenger policy is fruitless. It is the chosen route. Wenger is our leader. That will not change bar a drastic turn of events. With Arsene Wenger at the helm, we will come good.

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