We have mental strength?! Give me a break Wenger

I used to love listening to Wenger’s press conferences. He was eloquent, witty and far too smart for the journalists. I remember years ago one of them tried to goad him by asking: “Who is better — Henry or van Nistelrooy?” Wenger smiled wryly and said: “Everybody thinks he has the prettiest wife at home.”

I miss those days. More and more all I hear from our once great leader is propaganda and denial. Take today’s press conference when he was reminded that Arsenal have never been as low as seventh at this stage of the season while he’s been in charge.

“The fact that we have never been in this position is rather a credit to me in 16 years so I do not take that as blame. I take that as fantastic consistency, and that is the most difficult thing at the top level.”

Yes, 16 years of consistency is magnificent and certainly is credit to him. But notice how he shirks responsibility for the team’s current plight — “I do not take that as blame.” He is in denial that we are in a difficult situation with an average squad to try and get us out of it.

It was the same when he took off Oxlade-Chamberlain for Arshavin and refused to admit he’d made a mistake:

“I’ve been a manager for 30 years and have made 50,000 substitutions. I do not have to justify every decision I make to you.”

His arrogance is now breathtaking.

What I found even more incredible today though, is when he said:

“Overall I feel this team is strong mentally with a good spirit and attitude. We are ready for a fight and that is the most important thing.”

Now I can just about take the denial and the arrogance, but he crosses the line when he insists this team has mental strength. I’d rather he said nothing at all than tried to make people believe he has a team full of winners.

A team with mental strength does not concede two goals in the last five minutes to lose to Fulham.
A team with mental strength does not concede within 30 seconds of equalising at Swansea.
A team with mental strength does not lose all composure in front of goal at Bolton.

If anything we lack mental strength and that is a big factor in our recent poor run. So for him to insist the complete opposite is insulting. Maybe I’m being over-sensitive, but I feel like he’s saying to me “Forget what you see with your own eyes, you know nothing about football, we have mental strength because I say so.”

After my anger at reading more bollocks from Arsene subsided, I had a strange feeling of deja vu. ‘Mental strength, where have I heard that before?’ A swift search on Google for ‘wenger mental strength’ produced tons of results and I’ve listed some of them below in chronological order –– it makes interesting reading:

  • After beating Blackpool last April: “We showed our mental strength.”
  • After losing to Man Utd in the FA Cup last March: “I believe that we can [win the Premier League]. It is a good test for us now, to show that we can regroup, show our mental strength and respond quickly.”
  • After beating Orient last season: “We responded well tonight, that shows we have a good united group and we are mentally strong.”
  • After the Birmingham Carling Cup defeat: “It’s a good opportunity to show our mental strength, which I think is great.”
  • After beating Birmingham 3-0 last January: “The team looked very strong and can get stronger and stronger.”
  • Before the Barca away leg last season: “This team has exceptional mental strength and that makes me very confident for tomorrow’s game.”
  • After we needed an injury time header from Bendtner to beat Wolves in April 2010: “They have a fantastic mental strength and desire.”
  • After seeing off Bolton in January 2010: “We have a never-give-up attitude and a mental strength and quality as well.”
  • After defeating Wigan in April 2009: “This young team has a lot of mental strength. We have shown some qualities that make it very interesting for the future.”
  • After beating Villareal in April 2009: “This group is mentally strong and we have a team with a great future.”

Djourou and Wenger

Now repeat after me Johann: "I am a tough, fearless gladiator..."

I could’ve found more, but do you see the pattern? Wenger keeps promising that our ‘young team’ with ‘mental strength’ will come good soon. And he’s doing it again today. I believed him at first (to be fair he probably believed it himself) but after years of watching young Gunners struggle to cope with pressure I’ve lost faith. Walcott is a perfect example, but will Wenger drop him? No chance.

He’s also trying to convince youngsters like Walcott and Ramsey that they have mental strength by telling them so through the media. There’s a famous Chinese proverb that if you constantly tell a dog it’s a cat, that won’t make it grow whiskers. (Actually I just made that up, but it should be a proverb. I’m copyrighting it). It’s sad that he’s still trying his Jedi mind tricks to try and instill some mental toughness in his over-paid, under-achieving squad.

So Wenger, please, enough with the mental strength talk until we’ve actually shown some on a consistent basis. It’s hard enough to watch the team perform without mental strength, but it’s downright annoying when you repeatedly insist the complete opposite.

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  1. James

    Don’t get annoyed. He’s a wanker on his last legs.

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  2. Declan P

    Spot on mate.

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  3. pat

    Mr Wenger you are right it is hard times for everybody outside of football but not for you and your players they are still coining it in.
    i had to borrow money for my season ticket and the fact that my hard earnt money has not been spent on the team to improve it i just cant warrant feathering sub standard players anymore
    when we had the great players i never even thought of the money as its was fun but games are just not like that anymore
    Mon Wengeri have followed the arsenal for over 40 years and i thank you for what you have given us but lets be honest we dont even play nice football now.
    its simple, the players we have most are just not good enough
    how many would get into our great teams?
    how many players excite us?
    why should failure be rewarded?
    i thought your stlye was to entertain?
    can you please answer one straight question do you have money to improve the team or not!
    can hill wood please keep his plum filled mouth shut as he knows as much about football as he does real life

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  4. TC

    Don’t foregt about what a great coach Wenger is just look at Walcott not improved one iota in 6 years, Johan Dhjrou – been there 7 years and Wenger can’t see what a shite player he is, Schwesny was goalie number 4 going out on loan because he had Aluminia, Mannone and Fabanski ahead of him. Yeah great coach – bloody lucky coach whose had a few players carry him.

    Not an original thought in his head.

    Bye Bye Wenger.

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  5. delboy

    nobody could have said it better mate, wenger mental strength cliche is a joke, and it is not funny one. the philospher is completely on denial, you can tell he is suffering and frustrated as much as any average gooner out there, but keeps doing the same shite time and time again it’s unbelievable. he certainly need help, and i don’t think pat rice is the answer. I think he should reserve his dignity and leave in the summer unless drastic changes occur, which i doubt.

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  6. Bobby P

    Wenger is a washed up has been. The geezer has to be put out of his misery. Please retire Arsene.

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  7. agoonerwhorunsanotherblog

    Top post – excuses after excuses, silly comment after silly comment – when we e finally admit that his current side is not strong enough, when will he admit that he has undone all the good he did and now he relies on cheap players and alternative options…..

    We once had the second best manager in football, now we just have a man who lives on his past……..

    Is he to blame, or is the gutless board not making things change…

    Either way, our manager is happy to take £7 Million a year for taking the flack!!

    Change Arsene, or bugger off…..

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  8. Bruno

    The mental strength is the crucial problem, we know it and so does Wenger. This is why he is trying to get to the players via the press. I have said for a couple of seasons now that our best buy would not be a defender, nor a midfielder nor a striker. Technically Arsenal are comparable with any team in the EPL, so what is needed; a mentalist someone like Sir Clive Woodward who took a good team to Oz and brought home the RU World Cup. We have a good team and a good Manager so let’s get a great motivator. Just look at Manure they haven’t played well for at least two seasons but they still grind out the results! They are winners and they believe they are!

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  9. Dani

    I think the fall began when he replaced Robert Pires in the ucl final vs Barcelona, after Lehmann was dismissed.
    Terrible decision, and ever since we lost the spark and the thrill.
    Sad to say it, but a change is needed!!!

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  10. Kieran

    I remember loitering on the north bank on the last game at highbury, we knew then that tough times were ahead, we also knew that Arsene and Arsenal were embarking on a grand new plan like ajax and barcelona befor them, when you see how long they had to wait and how strong their resolve needed to be to acheive european dominance, it saddens me that so many gooners dont have the stomach for it, screams of spend some money and you dont know what your doing raining down on AW, look at the sides that have dominated europe they werent bought they were built, for every Jack or Cesc there are johans and denilsons that doesnt mean you give up, when has a big buy at arsenal ever paid off (except for dennis and he was a bargain), try checking out what there is coming through the ranks ive never seen such a talented bunch in my life, most of whom are gooners not mercenary nasris, or outragously lazy expensive russians, weve had freakish injury problems and some of our most talented yougsters are out on loan improving there skills, for the love of arsenal i wish the small minority who scream for wenger to leave would grow some balls understand what is being done and brave it out, the new invincibles are on there way only this next lot will wipe the floor with the whole of europe as well

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  11. o clarke

    he will be gone because change for change sake just as they say you dont know what you got

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  12. Anonymous

    Kieran, as you can see you are that minority , it’s not about expensive players, it is about momentum. The team needed a striker few seasons ago, a goalie and a solid defender last season and we could have won the league and cups. But nooo Mr mental strength played it his way to save few quids and look where we are. He had 8 years to build the ajax and the Barcelonas and it hasn’t worked, will never work with these lots. And finally his decision makings and tactics have become shockingly embarrassing to say the least . Same mistakes same shite boring football and yes …. wait for it…mental! give me strength!

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  13. mark fitzmaurice

    couldnt agree more,mental strength my foot,were are now now just an ordinary team with illusions of of being a top side,no fan expects us to compete with chelsea or city but arsenal are taking in huge amounts of money each year yet we spend no better than a championship side,meanwhile the shareholders and lets not forget Wenger himself are getting rich off the arsenal fans who pay the highest ticket prices in England,it an insult to fans the bull that wenger and the board are spouting,so what were not losing money,were losing our place as one of the top team in England,and if other clubs steal a march on us in cementing a top four place ie the spuds,it will be a lot harder to get back in,we need an uprising to let wenger and the board know that they cannot treat us real fans like idiots,enough is enough,its time to get rid of wenger and the board if they are not willing to spend to keep us competitive,it breaks my heart to see us get weaker year on year,while the shareholders are only interested in profit and stringing loyal fans on with the same old claptrap,lets hit them the only way they will listen,in the pocket.a sad and disillusioned gooner fan.

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  14. Dave Highbury

    The only ones without mental strength seem to be some of the fans who think it’s all over cos they can’t wait for our defense to return… which is my favorite defense since the unbeaten days.
    Chezzer luv him
    Sagna luv him
    Per luv him
    Koz luv him
    Verminator luv him
    Santos luv him
    Jenkinson and gibbs luv em

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  15. Kieran

    it took barcelona 20 years, real madrid have spent a fortune and cant beat them, i agree there are a lot of players not upto scratch but those coming through are a year or two off at the most you cant go buy for the short term like that, who had heard of viera henry pires lauren cashley lungberg lehman wiltord seaman not a star among them all cheap and relatively unknown, then look at the expensive imports, jeffers reyes arshavin all record buys all highly rated all dross, i understand it takes bravery to buck the trend and stand alone and do things diferently, and i lament wenger not going earlier for reina or lucio when he had the chance, but our history is about doing thig our way not runing with the pack and the premier league is full of clubs who have spent countless millions and acheived nothing liverpool totenham newcastle sunderland villa, what do you expect wenger to say our record buy is dross these youngster havent got it, it saddens me to say that the lack of mental strngth is in our ranks not the players,

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  16. Jekyll

    You’ve condemned Wenger with his own words there, well done. The endless repetition, year after year. If you keep repeating something it loses all meaning. It clearly has no impact on the players. They have no mental strength at all.

    Of course there are still the likes of Kieran above who believe the club are on some grand project, not just lining their own pockets, but their numbers are dwindling by the day as more and more people wake up to the true nature of those running our club.

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  17. Tasos

    Dont take things so personally. Why are you losers so precious anyway.
    Get a life and Grow up. It’s a game of football.

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  18. Nick m

    Anti wenger ? – u lot are a bunch of cunts . Do u remember football under don Howe? Do u rember how crap we were? U want change? Yeah I want change but u have to remember we never have been the biggest team in Europe and never been the biggest team in england! Out of the years that wenger has been in charge how many times we finished above spurs ? Every fuckin year except this one . There are notbmany great managers left. Do you want tony Adams to manage the club? He was my favourite arsenal player and yes even above king Henry but he would fucking suck as a manager . Mourinho? Even if there was a slight chance he would join -I dontbelieve he would come – he ain’t the type to stick around for 16 years look how many clubs he has been at…..,do u want that? U have a right to protest the simple way and most effective is to just not go to the game. If u do and I hear u then b prepared for a punch in the face . Maybe that may make u more humble we areThe Rasenal but do not have a Devine right to win trophies although our 125 year record ain’t that bad! Good time and bad times I will be a gooner. Just wished there was more realistic gooners out there….

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  19. gunner663

    Nick m`s abuse we must put dowh to where it comes from. His ignoance of Arsenal is so monumental that he is either a spud infiltrator or is otherwise deranged. Arsenal were statistically the most sucessful club of the 20th. cent and by a distance,It may be too difficult a concept for an immature mind to assimilate but Arsenal wasn`t founded the day AW came. The team created by Howe, Graham and Rioch were alrady winners and with a couple of wonderkids were bonded into a greayt team by Bergkamp. AW`s coaching was his strength but as he prematurely disbandedthat great side he failed to recognise that his plan was flawed. He forgets what he has said. He now c;aims RvP as successful converions to strikers(and Arshavin?) but once said his dream was to pair Henry with Anelka!

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  20. Greenhorn

    Cmon Nick M, save ur abuse for other clubs pls…!!! We all love this club which is why we here sharing the ups and downs. Our current team right now have no mental strength, it is a fact. AW is trying to instill it into them via the media and that’s a fact too. Everyone blogging here certainly knows what AW has done for our club and no matter how bad our complaints are, he will still be our coach for a foreseeable future. Whether you agree or not with the majority, I’m sure what the majority want here are improvements..not excuses and certainly not abuses!!

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  21. david

    after tha 7-1 win to blackburn it might give us more confidence
    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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  22. Gunner

    No David you were wrong….

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