Wenger - from legend to lunatic

I’ve been very busy with work of late and therefore haven’t had time to focus on Arsenal Truth or write any posts, but last night was very telling. I was in the gym trying to regain a semblance of fitness when I received a mocking text about Arsenal changing goalkeepers. That’s strange I thought - why?  Because I had no idea Arsenal were playing last night.

With every day, every week and every season, I seem to care less and less about the club that captured my imagination when I was a 10 or 11 years old. I can honestly say that whether I went, watched or listened to Arsenal, I never missed a single game in over 30 years. It was more than a passion, it was a ritual.

But that seems like a different life right now, and it all changed when it eventually dawned on me that unlike any other Arsenal manager I’d ever known (including Bruce Rioch), the club is basically dead for as long as Arsene Wenger is at the helm.

Slowly but surely, the futility of his decision-making and all-round ideological ignorance just wore me down. At some point, around 5-6 years ago, the penny dropped, and if you’re reading this and yours hasn’t then you probably don’t have one to drop.

I knew there would be wins and good performances from time to time, or a lucky domestic cup victory if the draw was favourable, but ultimately I knew that competing at an elite level was comprehensively beyond Wenger or any manager in possession of such stale, one-dimensional ideas and tactics, no matter how much money he has.

At most clubs, managers only get a few years to live up to expectations, and that gives supporters hope – hope of change. That hope is critical, yet as an Arsenal supporter there is no hope, no future, just the same complacency and bourgeois mistakes being repeated ad infinitum.

I also began to detest the manager’s evasiveness and lack of transparency, his refusal to admit or accept the burden of responsibility, not to mention his all-round pig-headedness. Slowly but surely, the man that should have been forever ingrained in my memory as one of the greatest Arsenal managers of all time had eroded his reputation to the point where he had become a figure of fun - a clown, a buffoon.

I didn’t need last night to tell me that Wenger is not only done as a top flight manager but hanging around like a bad smell. He is outmoded, outdated and has nothing left to offer the game. His tetchy media protestations are the derisory flailings of a manager that no longer has any semblance of how ridiculous he sounds. His boundless propensity for emitting lame excuses is an insult to the intelligence of any right-thinking supporter, and his pompous ego is distasteful. Following yet more inexcusable embarrassment in the Champions League last night – a competition Wenger is not fit to manage in, he snarled defiantly at the media through gritted teeth “I know things that you don’t know”.

So what are they then, you senile old fart?

In Wenger, I no longer see a football manager, I see a neurotic zealot failing miserably to hide his narcissistic personality disorder. The obstinate ticks and twitches that flare between his wrinkled eyelids whenever he is questioned gave the game away years ago - the fear of losing control, the desire to shut people up before they say too much, his reputation forever hanging by a thread, propped up by wheeled-out ex-players and equally clueless bloggers.

This revolving pantomime has ceased to be about football anymore, but a perverse window into the irrational mind of a manager driven by a duplicitous hunger to mask his own incompetence. It’s almost like those early Wenger years were the behaviours and actions of a completely different person. If you look at him then compared to now, the transformation is startling.

I start every season enthused, not necessarily to write about Arsenal these days, but to write about the Premier League as a whole. But the PL is in the doldrums right now. Success is cyclical, but with every competitor floundering there lays a golden opportunity to fill the void, currently being wasted by the perpetual mediocrity of a mentally unhinged manager who has decimated his reputation through his own hubris. And to add insult to injury, he is aided and abetted by the utter ignorance and complacency of everyone at the club, from the money laundering Gazidis and Kroenke to the puppet Chairman and the majority of the club's own dopey supporters. There should be mass protests after this sort of accumulated shite, but no, they'll all be sitting there again come Sunday pissing their money down the drain with their brainless optimism.

One wonders exactly what would have to happen to get Wenger out. The selfish cash hoarder who hasn’t got the bollocks to spend the club’s money in case a loss might make him accountable, knows he’s incapable of performing to the requisite level, yet refuses to do the decent thing and step down in the face of the board’s gutless refusal to act.

On a lighter note, I watched a great video on ArsenalFan TV last night. The channel interviewed John Lydon, someone I really admire and almost got to spend some time with recently. Alas it never happened, but I’m consoled by the fact that there will be other opportunities.

Anyway, in this video John talks about Arsenal, and he’s very entertaining as always.


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Is Gabriel a cheat? [video]

I see it as my job to be the only unbiased Arsenal blog. I hate hypocrisy, blind loyalty and excuses, and was therefore amused when I saw this ludicrous piece of gamesmanship by Gabriel, trying to get a fellow professional sent off.

It's all swings and roundabouts folks. You can either try to use gamesmanship to your advantage or let it get the better of you. Either way, you run the risk of paying the consequences for your actions if you get caught.

Referees don't cheat. They have a hard enough job trying to get decisions right in a 100-mile-an-hour game, and can do without having to babysit idiots like Gabriel and Costa.

24 hours after the event, Wenger and his fans have their excuse. No need to analyse why Chelsea scored from a set piece, why Sanchez missed a sitter, why Cazorla was reckless, why Arsenal have no self-control or leadership, and why they only ever have one tactic.

However Arsenal would have lost yesterday - and I've no doubt they would have, Wenger and co. would have found an excuse. 
Costa made it easy, Wenger should thank him.

Round and round and round we go. 


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Arsenal fail to manipulate Costa

As predicted, yet again Arsene Wenger ended up on the wrong end of a defeat against Chelsea, in what was a scrappy, ugly game at Stamford Bridge.

There was little ‘football’ to be seen, although Chelsea were marginally superior in the first half. Instead, the game was governed by controversy as numerous players let themselves and their clubs down.

First, Diego Costa. Now this is a player I really admired. Great hunger, strength and technique – a lethal finisher and a winner, but today his behaviour was offensive to the sport. Childish, unsportsmanlike and a liability to his club, his pantomime villain act is the sort of thing that turns me, and no doubt many other spectators, off the game.

However, what the whining, lamenting Arsenal supporters will no-doubt fail to compute tonight is that Costa’s behaviour was not a disadvantage to Arsenal but an advantage. Gabriel Paulista had already escaped a clear-cut penalty claim for shoving Hazard off the pitch while making no attempt to play the ball, yet following a physical clash, where Costa was lucky to stay on the field, a booking for each player actually put Arsenal in the stronger position.

It was Costa for whom the red midst had descended; walking a tightrope with every petulant gesture, but yet again it was Arsenal that self-destructed after Paulista got himself sent off for deliberately kicking out at his opponent minutes after receiving a yellow card.

As we have seen so often in the past, this is not bad luck or an accident; this is a team without a leader. Prior to Gabriel’s misdemeanour, someone in that Arsenal team should have dragged him away from the situation, calmed him down and told him to wind up Costa, sit back and reap the benefits. But no, as usual it was Arsenal’s inability to control the situation that cost them any hope of a result.

And I’m not just talking about the fact that the Gunners had to play with 10 men. As in Zagreb midweek, instead of regrouping and modifying their tactics to stabilise the situation and earn themselves some sort of foothold in the game, they let in another stupid goal from a set piece, thus playing directly into Chelsea’s hands.

Even then, there was still something for Arsenal in this game. In the second half, Alexis Sanchez fluffed a great opportunity to equalise, and with Chelsea growing increasingly desperate to hold on to their slender lead and sinking forever deeper into their own half, Santi Cazorla earned himself a second yellow for a totally unnecessary late tackle on Cesc Fabregas.

So Chelsea won the game 2-0, and while Wenger and co. will throw their usual tantrums, the fact of the matter is, Arsenal shot themselves in the foot yet again and got what they deserved, nothing. Apart from a decent spell in the first half, I thought Chelsea were terrible and Arsenal, as expected, one-dimensional and blunt, with the brainless Walcott unable to read the line, perpetually running into offside positions.

Mourinho will be delighted; the victory could be the confidence boost his players need to get their season on track. And with Man City inexplicably losing at home to West Ham, the points deficit that could so easily have spiralled out of control, is now cut, and with it, the psychologically pressure that Chelsea have clearly been struggling to respond to.

As for Arsenal? Same old, same old. Nine times out of ten on the wrong end of a result against a big club, due to their tactical and mental naivety and lack of leadership embedded at every level of the club.


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Hilarity at Zagreb

Enjoyed watching Arsenal get stuffed by Dinamo Zagreb last night in what was Wenger’s 50th defeat in the Champions League – a new record.

To be honest, I wasn’t watching the game that attentively. All I noticed was that Giroud missed a sitter, got frustrated, Arsenal played like they’d just got out of bed, let in a goal and then the knob-end got sent off.

Was that decision harsh? Well, what would Arsenal fans have shouted if the boot was on the other foot?

Arsene Wenger was right about one thing, however, the referee was appalling. In the second half, David Ospina ran half the length of the pitch and raked his foot down some kid’s knee, but the official let him off. Then Joel Campbell, who looked more psyched up than Giroud, got booked before violently clumping the back of a Zagreb player’s calf – another booking on most occasions.

So, yes, terrible refereeing, Arsenal should have been down to 8 men.

But trailing 1-0 they still had a chance, as long as they didn’t do anything stupid, like letting in a goal from a set piece.


That’s what happens when you take an unnecessary risk, i.e. field Kieran Gibbs, one of, if not, the worst full backs in Arsenal history.

So why else did Arsenal lose to a tin pot Croatian club that haven’t won a Champions League match since 1999? Arrogance I’d say.

Wenger thought it would be a walkover and made six changes. Perhaps if Arsenal were at home, he could get away with it, but away from home in the first Champions League game of the season? Lunacy. Yes you can blame players, but the manager sets the tone and Wenger’s selection told them this match was no more important than a Carling Cup tie.

However, note to Mr Wenger and AKBs, just because you have a big game in five days’ time is no excuse for getting turned over by a team that cost 12m quid.

The most insightful ridicule came from Dinamo Zagreb coach Zoran Mamic:

“Arsenal is one of the best teams who ever played here and they did exactly what we agreed they would do. We thought it would be very important to close the middle, to stop the fast passes. That’s what we did and it’s nothing new.”

“We have already seen other teams who beat Arsenal use the same tactics. This is a good way to beat them.”

So there you have it, a novice manager in his first job, given to him by his CEO brother, both of whom are reportedly on bail under investigations of corruption, stuffs a manager paid £8,000,000 a year on tactics. That’s how amateur Wenger is when it comes to tactics and preparation.

On Sunday, Arsenal face Mourinho’s Chelsea. Will Wenger ever have a better chance to beat his nemesis in a league game? Nope. Do I think Arsenal will do it? Nope.


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Kroenke, Gazidis and Wenger laughing all the way to the bank

Arsene Wenger loves his job. Even Real Madrid couldn’t tempt him apparently. They could offer him the cold hard cash but not an environment where no matter how dismally he performed he’d still keep his job. Only one club can promise Wenger that, and it’s been making his bed and plumping up the cushions for over a decade.

The transfer deadline has been and gone, and Arsenal are the only club in the whole of Europe to not have signed an outfield player, despite only being able to field one semi-convincing striker and having a reported £200m sitting in the bank.

Where do you think that spare cash is going folks? Reinvested in the team? Evidently not. Used to lower ticket prices? No chance.

After a terrible start to the season, where Arsenal have been lucky to earn three points in any of their opening four games, all hope of a title challenging has almost certainly dissolved, and you can bet that Arsene Wenger’s appalling record in the Champions League will only end in more tears of frustration – your frustration.

Many pundits have cited Wenger’s refusal to strengthen the squad as “bizarre”, but some have also aimed their target at the Arsenal board for not overruling the manager and ensuring that players were signed above his head, irrespective of his complete and under indifference.

However, one person will be very happy – Stan Kroenke. As Arsenal’s owner, he doesn’t give a monkeys about whether the club challenge for trophies. Sure, he’d prefer it, but he’s not going to go out of his way to get rid of a manager that earns him the sort of Champions League income that enables him to stuff his pockets with cash for “strategic and advisory services” – under any other name, a dividend.

And Arsene Wenger knows that, which is why making money - hence protecting himself - will always come above what’s best for Arsenal as a footballing institution. After all, what has Arsene Wenger to fear? Year after year he’s underachieved, and what’s become of it? Nothing. He gets to keep his job and enjoy the fruits of a lavish wage packet that is almost unrivalled among his managerial peers.

Life carries on for Wenger regardless. His dream of creating an uber team of small, technically gifted players remains unchecked and untainted no matter how repetitive and obvious the shortcomings.

When it goes tits up, the fans scream and shout a couple of times a season then get back into bed whenever there’s a winning streak. For the most disgruntled of supporters, the club has learned its lesson and disabled questions from the floor at AGM and AST meetings, protecting the manager from public criticism.

The media are afraid to push any ‘Wenger Out’ agenda too far for fear of getting thrown out of their comfy press conference hot seat. When questions are asked, they’re deflected with ease as Wenger resorts to clichés or a sudden inability to master the English language.

CEO, Ivan Gazidis - employed by Wenger, is clueless and spineless – don’t expect him to ever change the narrative, he’s too well paid and knows where his bread is buttered.

The big Arsenal websites could feasibly sway opinion by admitting the obvious and sustaining pressure on the manager, but prefer not to upset the apple cart – or their Google AdSense income. Only if there was a huge uprising would they jump on the bandwagon.

So Wenger is protected from every angle. He can fail as often as he wants to fail and will never be held accountable. A few wins and the fans, the only people that can truly make a difference, pipe down and suck the Wenger comfort blanket they always return to for fear of admitting their beloved manager has made them look like plonkers.

Arsenal is a mirror image of UK inc. A huge money-making machine, where the political establishment is untouchable and the ruling elite (bankers) plunder all the wealth and leave everybody else to suffer their tomfoolery.

Gazidis, Kroenke and Wenger have rigged the game – they all protect each other’s backs then pay each other off, while the 'Plebeians' fight amongst themselves on ArsenalFan TV.

I’m out of it. No one’s financially raping me. I don’t get hurt, don’t get upset, don’t care – but I remember when I used to and I do feel sorry for a lot of Arsenal supporters that cannot give up their fix. When will the minions ever learn? At Arsenal, never it seems.


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