No matter how disappointed Arsenal fans will be with another season that seems to be going nowhere but a fourth place finish at best, Arsene Wenger always finds a silver lining, twisting the truth and bending reality to make it seem like he’s doing a good job, and the season can be regarded a success.
As always, he talks about setting a good foundation for the future. About overcoming injuries. About underlining the FA Cup final, as if domestic cup finals should be the gauge of how good a manager really is. About Bayern Munich being in his way again, while making a small excuse about playing with 10 men in the first leg, and about coming out of a tough group.
Maybe each point while isolated from the broader context is correct, but Wenger can’t keep using the same excuses. Paul Scholes talked on TV about a month ago about how Arsenal always seen ill-prepared for the big matches in recent years, and that it’s always about “building for the future” and setting a solid foundation for the future.
But this isn’t 2007, and this isn’t a rebuilding team. A lot of players on the team aren’t that young. Mesut Ozil wasn’t signed to win two years from now. He was signed to lead the team to trophies now, but after a strong first half to the season, he faded away like Arsenal players and teams over the years tend to do.
Disrespecting the fans by trying to show a non-existent side to the story isn’t new, but Wenger actually claiming that this season can be viewed as a success might be a new record for the French manager, who has failed at almost every twist and turn when it was crunch time for his team against other top clubs.
Tactically, he hasn’t changed or tried to. His squad lacked depth at obvious positions and the same arrogant, “I know better” approach hasn’t made things easier or better for him. Arsenal will finish the season, at most, with a trophy that doesn’t really indicate anything. The league and Europe are what matter, and Wenger didn’t take a single step forward in those realms once again – the exact opposite of success.