Hello and how are you this fine Saturday? Another 2 more days before our game at Reading kicks off and that means plenty of time to discuss other matters. If you have a look around the papers available to your or the articles online, there’s a lot of talking points raised from various medias and perspectives. It would be daft to dismissed all as agenda driven (Stewart Robson apart), when it really depends on how you interpret the story personally. It’s not like people who read those stories would accept everything without challenging the idea. Not like I expect each and everyone of you to agree with what I say/write.
This supposed rift between Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould. It’s the kind of story which is hard to back or refute at the same time. Unless, you’re in contact with the players/staffs who know of the situations, it is hard to make a call. Wenger did deny it in the press conference but strangely enough, that didn’t or haven’t warrant as a good enough story to appear on the official website. Almost as if they are downplaying the question or subtlety avoiding it. I do think it would unfair to completely credit the defensive improvement at the start of the season down to Steve Bould alone. Nor the other way around with the problems that we have been exhibiting in recent months.
Wenger has a certain ways of working which he obviously have become very comfortable in, after all that is the position he’s in for the 16 years that he has been with Arsenal Football Club. To say that he’s not a proud man, would be wrong. I’m sure even the most humble of men, still wants admiration and adulation for the work they do. Likewise, the case for Wenger. Perhaps the praise afforded to Bould alone (with the initial early season clean sheets) got to the manager, Wenger’s only human. But as someone who lives and breathes Arsenal, I would challenge anyone who thinks that his pride is more important than how we fare on the pitch. Let’s conveniently forget the injuries to Kieran Gibbs and Abou Diaby, or the loss of form in other players. That’s not even taking into account the different teams that we’ve played since then.
For some other things, it is harder to defend Wenger. I get and understand that he has to put out a strong front because he’s the representative of the football club. When he’s representing the club in the official press conferences or in interviews, he has to ensure that the right things are said. It’s a public relations tactics which everyone uses. Though, personally for me, it has come to the point where I just wish he was honest with us. The manager was defiant in the presser yesterday when he said that the team will be judged on the results in the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. A fair point but surely he must know that he cannot dismiss how we’ve done in the League Cup, given the strong line-up that we put out.
I do wonder what is the acceptable result in the first two mentioned competitions. For the CL, I guess it depends on the opponent in the next round. Bayern Munich or Barcelona, I doubt many will be overly disappointed to have gone out against such teams. As for the Premier League, while qualification to the CL again is the target, I want to see progression. Year on year progression, that should be how a team is judged. Even if we finish third again this season, the points gap has to be narrowed down. Failing to do so, even if we achieved a top 4 place, would be a failure in my view. As for the FA Cup, I’m only hoping that the manager will take it seriously just like he did with the League Cup.
Have at look at the transcript of the presser from here. You could pick holes in a lot of areas, though it must be said that I’m not sure how much editing was done in this transcript and I can only comment based on this. His continual defence of Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci and Gervinho signings are incredible. I’m not sure what Wenger is trying to say. Are the players not expected to play better because we bought them on the cheap? Doesn’t that mean that these players are only filing the gaps and not the players he would have wanted? I don’t think anyone is questioning whether they are worth the money we paid them for, in the transfer negotiations. We are only genuinely concerned about the fact that none of these players are going to be good enough for us. Whatever they have shown in their previous clubs or in the earlier part of their careers with us, that is all gone.
I’ll end the piece today with another part of the transcript. The one where Wenger argued that the current team is more serious and focussed than the title winning sides of the past. I’ll leave you to ponder about that. Surely you know where I stand on this remark.