Swansea 3-2 Arsenal | Wenger can’t cover the cracks any longer

Once upon a time Emperor Wenger paraded around north London naked, trying to convince everyone his team was as good as any in the land. Some folk were doubtful, but wanted to believe him so much that they were easily placated by talk of ‘mental strength’ and the return of Prince Henry.

One day little Swansea pointed at Emperor Wenger’s team and said “But they’re shit. Here, I’ll show you.” And ninety minutes later the rest of the people could see — Arsenal were just not good enough.

Emperor Wenger shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he growled “The penalty was a complete imagination. It was a dive. We have lots of injuries…” and carried on walking even more proudly than before.

The sad thing is, there are still plenty of fans out there who continue to believe him. People who think that once our full backs return we’ll climb the table. Or that the referees keep robbing us. Or that Henry will roll back the years and save our season.

Well, I’m not buying it. Why? Well, although I accept we have lots of injuries and many refereeing decisions do seem to go against us, I keep seeing the same mistakes repeated every week, no matter who’s playing.

Mistake 1: Lack of desire
Today we were outplayed and also — unforgivably — outfought by a team who wanted it more. How can that be? Why weren’t we chomping at the bit to take advantage of Spurs’ draw yesterday? I saw Swansea players work their nuts off to close us down at every opportunity. I lost count of the times Song casually dawdled in midfield, turning into trouble as the white shirts descended on him. Did I see the same commitment from Arsenal? No. Despite the big talk from the likes of Walcott about how we want to emulate Barcelona’s high pressing game, I didn’t see enough effort from those in a red shirt to regain the ball. That’s why we ended up with 45% possession and they were able to play around us with embarrassing ease — Swansea played more like Barcelona today and I take my hat off to them.

Mistake 2: Under-estimating supposedly inferior opponents
Is it just me or are we only properly focused on the big games? Think of our really good performances this season, ones which made you proud to be a Gooner. I’ve got Man City away, Chelsea away and Udinese away. I suppose the 4-0 win at Wigan was pretty good too, so that’s three of our four best games which were against top teams. Coincidence? Think back to the disastrous ending to last season. In between losing to Stoke, Villa and Bolton we managed to raise ourselves to beat Man Utd at home. That defies logic, surely?

Something is wrong with our attitude. We are not focused enough against inferior sides yet we put on a good show in the glamour games.

Mistake 3: Persisting with players who are clearly not good enough
A few years ago Wenger put the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Almunia and Bendtner on huge wages, gave them far too much playing time and then had trouble offloading them. And he’s still doing it now. Djourou, Rosicky, Arshavin and Squillaci have been kept on when they should have been sold ages ago and replaced with quality signings. When we have to turn to these players in times of need (like today) they are found wanting.

Mistake 4: Lack of a killer instinct
Today we scored early, took our foot off the gas and dropped points. Ditto Fulham and Wolves. Not forgetting the debacle at Blackburn of course. Where is the ruthless streak that every good side needs?

To be fair I think the latter is also linked to our lack of goalscorers. Only van Persie hits the net with any sort of regularity and our striker shortage brings me nicely to the key, most important reason we will continue to underachieve.

The club’s misguided transfer policy.

Nathan Dyer celebrates his goal

Dyer shows Arshavin how its done

Whether it’s decided by Wenger, the board or a combination of both is irrelevant. The fact is our ethos of the last few years has been to buy as cheaply as we can to finish fourth.

Consider this example — a couple of years ago we needed a striker. We targeted Chamakh because he was nearing the end of his contract and so we waited a year to get him on a free. While we were waiting, we only had van Persie and Bendtner as strikers. When they got injured Arshavin had to go up front for a while, remember? All because the board/Wenger was too tight to buy a decent striker and wanted to wait to get Chamakh on a free.

Fast forward to the present day and the same thing is happening again. Wenger needs a striker, so we bought as cheap as we could (Park) and when he turned out to be worse than anyone thought possible we took another cheap option (Henry). Forget Podolski, we’d have to pay the going rate and that isn’t how we operate.

It is this false economical policy that is causing our club to fall behind not only the Manchesters and Chelsea, but even Spurs too. Our chances of a top four finish are now slim which means van Persie will leave next summer. How is that good management of the club?

I wrote on Monday that Henry’s goal against Leeds had papered over the cracks. I was accused of being negative, as I have been all season because I keep pointing out our flaws, but unfortunately I’ve been proved right. Not only did the cracks appear today, but they were a lot wider than people thought.

So please Wenger — abandon your skinflint ways, wake up to the reality that you must speculate to accumulate in modern day football and buy yourself some proper clothes before it’s too late.

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  1. Declan

    Good article mate.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  2. Gerg

    Don’t leave Walcott out of this – on average he is awful. Wenger does not seem to have any tactical sense. The formation remains the same. The same players fill the same spots. Why not try a 4-4-2 or play some other players. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results is Wenger.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  3. doug

    Emperor Wenger! thats a good one. I agree with all mistakes listed, especially no.3, and 4. although i do sympathise with the Emperor, his best players are out including TV (for both) the Fulham and Swansea and my favourite, Santos. Hoping a few injured players can return real soon, and Ramsey can take a rest as well as a few others including Song. The team performed very well up till end of December. Probably running on empty. A quality signing can make a big difference or return of a big player like Wilshere. I remember the time Arshavin came in and made a huge contribution to secure 4th spot in a season it seemed unlikely. Also Im surprised that Arteta didnt play. The team was unlucky against Swansea, thats football!

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  4. Greenhorn

    Great article pal. Pointing out the flaws is not negativity. Only those who are willing to listen and accept criticism will improve. Sadly those who only offer excuses won’t.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  5. S J Little

    The previous reply says it all.
    We fans are just simply now insulted.
    What sort of Board or PR is there at Arsenal that can’t at least tell Wenger
    he is now becoming a Pathetic looking figure in his ringside seat and makes us sqirm with his after match excuses.
    If the Board are in hock to him surely at least they can order him to take some
    notice of the fans as the fans have been proved right over and over again. You
    only have to run through the awful list of overpaid players on Arsenals books,only ask where are we going with even the likes of the better players such as Song,and Ramsey. That they would quality for first selection in a real top team
    is insulting never mind the likes of Walcott etc
    Has Wenger never been reminded by anyone at Arsenal that no Championshi[ team has ever got anywhere with an International goalkeeper,proper defenders,goalscoring wingers(Limpar,Overmars,Wiltor), or goalscoring forwards like (Wright,Henry,Pires,Bergkamp,etc)
    Just compare the present Arsenal players with these mentioned plus Edu,Flamini,
    Dixon.Adams,Kweown,Bould,Winterburn,Petit,Viera,Parlour,Reyes,Seaman,Thomas,Davis,Merson! Well does that not illustrate how poor the present lot compare!

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  6. tired of being an AFC fan

    Hi everyone, yesterday AFC proved to be a 2nd divsion team against Swansea.
    Arsenal was simply “OUTMATCHED” in all the technical areas while the Swans were all playing and roaming like a team belonging to the Top 4 of the EPL.
    After 2 consecutive loss in the EPL and losing against low profile and yet hardworking teams + lack of desire and willingness to invest in the transfer window and arguing with the Ref decisions, it seems clear enough that a new “boss” is needed at the Emirates,,, and by the way better not to watch AFC suffers a “terrible blow” in its own stadium against ManUTD.
    I’m simply fed of this AFC team and mostly because of Wenger, and all the staffs of AFC

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  7. PistolPete

    Remember wenger saying that we have to buy a full back cause it would be silly to drop points why we don’t have any full backs, well HELLO you plonker. Why dose wenger not spend on players? what is the problem.
    Well i think the problem is that even though we all can see who the problem players are , wenger can’t . He has lost the ability/aggression to drop players in the team who are not performing and that is a fundamental of coaching.
    I’m sorry but people who say we can’t survive without Wenger is crazy. There is a time when everyone has to move on, and this is wenger’s time. WE HAVE NOT WON A THING IN 7 YEARS, SO WHAT WILL WE BE MISSING

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  8. Sunnie Ovie

    Wenger dnt hve a business complainin about d referee. It was a clear penalty committed by ramsey who 2 me luks lik he sold our match 2 his country club. All tru d match ramsey was loosing balls, benayoun was lost. It was d same ramsey dat caused d 2nd goal. I tink we need 2 buy a gud midfielder so dat ramsey wil sit on d bench n also sel diaby, we r tired of waitin 4 him n also bul a left ful back. Our results r no longer bcomin funny. Am scared dat wit our results we wil b forced 2 sel Van. p at d end of d season cos we r no longer competitors.

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  9. arsenal4eva

    sad sad saddddd..that assene wenger doesnt want to accept the reality that we are in a bad position and we need to do something about the inconsistency we are experiencing…The first step to healing is acceptance..dnt blame the refs and all dat shit of injuries…hw funny does this sound..arsenal beaten by swansea..shieeet, seriously..10yrs ago if someone said dat, my response wud be lyk..wtf is swansea?…cmon man, cmon arsene be real..yes we accept injuries happen, thea there but the people filling in for the injuries are just not quality, not versatile enough..deal with it, change smthing if things are not working out..

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  10. don

    spot on! covered his mistakes accurately but forgot 1 big flow that a disciplined/winning manager doesn’t have ‘favouritism,’wenger doesn’t encourage competition in his team,he has his players,eg,rosicky slots more than perfectly in ramsey’s position when the latter is injured/rested but will be benched despite his better performances,oxlade not used despite his technical abilities n decisiveness over walcott.reality is we have more than plenty midfield n attacking players of quality,but with injuries or no injuries he has a fixed squad that if plays like shit will still be guaranteed a start the following games,behaving like a dog that eats its own vomit,n also playing players out of position eg AA while ramsey is struggling with creativity.wenger lost it a while ago n i don’t think we’ll achieve anything again with him,because for basics i really doubt they go through the games to pin point mistakes that always re occur,that is the norm in arsenal.in africa there is a saying,’you can argue till the cows come home,’believe me,they graze from 6am to 6pm,wenger will not change his policies or achieve anything with his current fixed mindset.

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  11. IndianG00ner

    Hi….i’m an Arsenal fan from India….over here we can basically watch matches from a third person’s perspective and decide whom to support. Sadly, majority of the ppl here support ManUtd and Chelsea…i’ve been an Arsenal fan because of the style of football they play….which is gr8 to watch….or i should say, which has been gr8 to watch….sadly, over the last few seasons, i do not see the same confidence, arrogance i daresay, that the Arsenal of the old had…we were known for our deadly counter-attacking…..now, nothing is right….we need a world class LB/RB…some creativity in the central midfield area, sumone with natural dribbling abilities and great vision, goal scoring ability, Arteta i think should remain in the role that he has right now, Walcott needs to go…i say this because as good he is on his day, he is too erratic normally and that good day hasn’t come really often…I think what has sustained us this season is RVPs form…again, obviously he cannot carry on the same way in the next season (assuming he stays)..clearly we need world-class strikers….clearly Wenger needs to fight with his phobia of spending money…what we are seeing i guess is a period of transition for our club…i just hope that we get some good players…play the kinda football that has turned me into an Arsenal fan for life….kick ManU/chelsea/Spurs in the arse….n start winning silverware again….

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  12. brian waldron

    A well written and thought out article. You hit the button on all points. What bothers me with the whole set up at arsenal is that half the players on our books are basically unsuited to the english game. In sundays game against swansea the following players were just not good enough Ramsey , Walcott , Djourou,Arshavin and to a point Song(possibly he neads a bit of time in the reserves) Yet on the bench we had Rosiky,Chamberlain, and henry who are far better than the abovementioned. In our squad the players who are just taking up places are Diaby,Chamak,Squilacci,Bentner,Almunia,etc . Arsene Wenger needs to do a clean up and throw out the trash and bring in some real talent as well as some innovative thinking , before the season becomes a total flop. At the moment the team is like a dog chasing its own tail , going round and round without any chance of catching it.

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  13. Mahoney

    I agree with most of what you say. However, you say Park is terrible. Based on what exactly? He has scored as many as Chamakh has this season in 25% of the starts. Why not bang him on to play behind Van P? How could he be worse than Walcott or Arshavin?

    I will say one thing in Wenger’s defence. We lost our two best players through no fault of his. Of course he desperately wanted (and misguidedly thought he could) keep hold of them both. I’m sure he’d love to replace them but, at their level, you’re looking at the Hazards/Podolskis of the world and our club just won’t shell out 30 million on one player.

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  14. Morty

    It seems all to obvious to me that there is not the passion needed to compete for trophies, from the top all the way down. There are flashes of desire (Chamberlain, RVP, Arteta) but overall everyone seems to be going through the motions. The owner seems more interested in making obscene amounts of money than putting forth a winning effort. True, there are injuries but there are also players out there that are within Arsenal’s reach that are being left alone or to others (Podolski, Hazard and others). Indifference or as Wenger puts it, a conservative approach, is only serving to sink this ship quicker. I know with returning injured players it will be like new signings, but in the interim Arsenal is sucking. Pick up some proven talent, remove the boils from Arsenal’s butt (Chamak,Squilacci,Bentner,Almunia and more)and perhaps they can struggle to fourth. It’s getting frustrating to the point where fans are going to start looking elsewhere for a team to support, why support an old dinasaur with obsolete methods coaching incompetent dopes and diaper laden “wunderkind” types when just about every other team takes their opportunities to improve? Arsenal will be left behind to flounder in the middle table when they finish 5th or 6th, and lose RVP as a result. Arsenal is becoming the new Fulham.

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  15. don

    the whole article is accurate observation,but,the major problem we have here isen’t the players,nobody is commenting on wenger’s flows.we heard a team with cesc,rosicky,nasri,arshavin,wilshere,all creative world class players but he didn’t know how to use them,infact has made AA look like a useless player yet he isen’t a winger.the point here is wenger has lost the plot the article states correctly,the team needs few patches like a stable defense,an extra striker to ease VP’s load,another DM to help song who’s also overused,but,wenger is still tactically inept,very predictable,very tolerant,not a disciplinarian and worst of all doesn’t allow competition in his team,that’s the backbone of an under achieving team,the team especially from midfield foward is strong with the enforcements he made and injured players getting back.this is a team strong enough to take on any team in the league but they don’t have a leader to properly guide them and motivate them or mould them into winners,you’ll all be liers saying wenger is,he isen’t,the man utd team that won the league last season was their worst team in ages but they did it because fergie instills discipline,rectifies mistakes and grooms the team into winners no room for losses that’s why they grind results on bad days.i guarantee you with a good manager doesn’t have to be big named with the same team can win as trophies,because the team is good but the manager messed up,and more than any change in the team,the manager should be the first one to leave.

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  16. Nico

    Agree with you Steven – we have been spoilt in the past and in the last few years teased with Arsenal’s over acheiving. Great to be in the Champions league year in year out but with no end product anywhere! Tired of this now. This year no champions league – next year mid table??? Can’t stop being a Gooner though Steven so don’t know what to do and have a soft spot for Weneger cos with out him in the last few years dread to think where we would be now – Championship?

    Lets hope they invest that’s all we can do. Just really depressing and frustrating especially now those Spurs scum are above us and playing goof football!

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  17. Kenneth

    Would Swansea have played better than The Arsenal with 10 of their players (6 first choice) missing? It is easy to mouth off Wenger while you site and watch the Match maybe on TV and then you try to become the better Coach of a club. Why not get a license and take up the manager’s role at Arsenal? Swans beat Arse so what? As i recall, Blackburn beat Man United, Sunderland beat Man City? Arsenal beat Chelsea. Just move on with the loss and support your team. The Scum will faulter and slide towards the end of the season while the Arse will be going from strength to strength. They have done well with the 10missing players setback so far. Even I, a Chelsea supporter can see that Arsenal are doing better than my own club. Blues_Forever

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  18. Menace Lurgtramp

    Mahoney Wenger did lose Cesc and Nasri through fault of his own. You’ll only keep players of that quality (or attract them) if you win things, even being near to winning things would help. The board need a new policy and I think only a new manager with a fresh approach could convince the right players to come in now.

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