It hasn’t been an easy Saturday for Arsene Wenger. He watched his team become the first Premier League side to drop a four goal lead (which was achieved in 26 minutes, nonetheless) to a clearly inferior Newcastle side to what will now be remembered as comeback-classic for years to come, an amazing 4-4 draw at St. James’ park. This is also the first time an Arsenal team has lost a four goal lead.
Luckily for Wenger, Manchester United lost to Wolves, ending their ‘invincibles’ claim, a title which only the 2003-2004 Arsenal side, managed by Arsene Wenger. Beyond the historic claim, Arsenal are still very much in the title race, theoretically, at least. They are now 4 points behind Manchester United, both teams playing 25 matches. On April 30 United arrive at the Emirates for what might be a title decider. Despite the good fortunes of United not widening the bridge between the two rivals, Wenger doesn’t have too many reasons to be pleased.
This is isn’t the first time Arsenal have dropped a comfortable lead, failing to win a game. The latest example coming in their November home loss against Tottenham, giving up a 2-0 lead against their historic rivals, on to a 3-2 loss. Wenger didn’t enjoy that collapse one bit, as expected. Yesterday was just more gun powder for the critics (me among them), showcasing the enormous talent the Gunners have, probably more than any other team in the league, but also their mental frailty and the quick descension into panic and chaos when a bit of pressure is applied. You can talk all day about the players not being strong enough mentally, tough, winners. All might be true, but still, when this stuff happens again and again, the finger has to be pointed at the manager.
Wenger is to blame, at least partially. His usual frustrated, disappointing, lack of encouragement type of look and stares at his players as they helplessly look for some guidance while sinking each time just shows how poor his game-time management is. His inability, after six years for looking, trying and breeding, to find at least one player with enough charisma and leadership skills to keep his team from falling apart like this, again, might be THE main reason why Arsenal haven’t won a league title since 2003-2004. United don’t have the talent, at least since Ronaldo left to Madrid, but they have plenty of mental toughness.
About 18 months ago we called out Wenger and said it’s probably about time he left. He won’t change his ways, and possessing an amazing eye for talent won’t hand him a title. Wenger talked about who he thinks should be his successor as Arsenal manager – Dragan Stojkovic, who became a Internet sensation with his amazing goal during a J League match. Just to remind you, Stojkovic is a coach.
Stojkovic is managing Nagoya Grampus, the same team Wenger headed a long long time ago. Stojkovic also played under Wenger there. His imagination and commitment to attacking play would make the perfect replacement when the time comes, says Wenger.
I don’t believe Wenger will be looking to take on another team when his time at Arsenal is up. When will it be up? I think he still believes he can win a title without spending ‘crazy money’ on one-two players, superstars. His criticism over the transfer frenzy last week involving Torres, Carroll and the rest probably made his employers very happy. After all, having a CEO who really cares about the boss’ cash, as if it was his own, is hard to find.
I wouldn’t be surprised that when Fabregas finally leaves Arsenal and head back to Barcelona for a hefty pile of cash will also be the day Wenger hangs up his suit and leaves the managerial position with the gunners. It’ll be a sad change, as Wenger made Arsenal a fashionable side, winning three league trophies and making them one of the more fun-to-watch teams in the world. Still, his stubbornness has gone too far. His mold of Arsenal just aren’t good enough, and if the gunners want titles, they need a man willing to step outside of his myth about being a player developer and make the right and sometimes expensive purchases.