Diagnosing Arsenal’s Malaise: Arsene Wenger Has Too Much Faith In Mediocre Players
By Chris Wright
Let’s be right: With things ‘as is’, if Bayern Munich played Arsenal 100 times the German behemoths would win 100 times – such are the relative fortunes of each side (to be fair though, being soundly whipped by Bayern could’ve happened to anybody last night given their current form).
Last night’s result came as a surprise to quite literally nobody. Along with their rollicking momentum, one quick cursary glance at the line-ups showed that Bayern had stronger, more adept players in every single position, man-for-man and including the bench.
Bayern are pissing the Bundesliga this season and Arsenal are out of their depth and treading water in the race to finish fourth in the Premier League. Ally that with the fact that Bayern have a talented squad with a cohesive nucleus and Arsenal only seem to employ players who successfully fail to tear their way out of a wet paper bags during their medicals and you could see the result coming a mile away.
They’re just a bit namby pamby is all, though Arsene Wenger’s failure – or at least his apparent failure – to recognise this has been the club’s most pressing concern for a good while now.
You’ve heard him say it many times of the last few years but Wenger once again trotted out the old “this squad is better than people think, they’ve just got to prove it” line before the Bayern game. He’s been saying the same thing for four or five years now, each season his assembled squad getting gradually weaker and weaker.
There’s just too much faith in the self-sufficient vision, while reality continues to ravage all around.
This is what £11 million’s worth of “nowhere near good enough” looks like
Take away Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere (who isn’t exactly peerless.. yet, at least) and just who in the current Arsenal side is capable of standing up to the rigors, both mental and technical, of elite club football? None. No-one. Nada. Europe’s biggest sides wouldn’t touch the likes of Gervinho, Giroud, even Lukas “Crown Prince of the Flatter-to-Deceive Brigade” Podolski with a ten-foot bargepole.
Mikel Arteta’s a decent player no doubt, but he should’ve been at Arsenal about three years before they actually signed him – another symptom of the club’s thrifty decline.
Too much filler and only trace amounts of killer.
Personally, it seems like Wenger has had far too much faith in his players since his Invincibles moseyed out of town. For years now he’s implicitly trusted players that simply weren’t or aren’t good enough to play regularly for a club with aspirations of silverware. He needs to be far more ruthless with his bairns, expressly to toughen the soft little sods up a bit.
Would Sir Alex Ferguson still be starting Aaron Ramsey this far into a largely wretched season? Would he heck as like, yet still the Welshman is picked as one of a woefully reedy front three to face a rampant Bayern in the Champions League round of 16.
Too long have Arsenal’s tyros been mothered. Now they’re in need some fathering too.
Anyway, here’s one parting thought for all the thoroughly depressed Gooners out there this morning. Let this be a crumb of comfort: While it may smart to see your club deflating like a farting bouncy castle before your very eyes, football is nothing more than a cyclical soap opera at it’s core.
Relatively speaking, Arsenal are still a very good football team when it suits with a very good manager at the helm. Things will be better again, in time. “Bluebirds after the rain” and all that…
Three seasons in League One leads a man to that kind of blind apathetic optimism.