by Walter Broeckx
During the barren years the moaners came out will all kind of mantra’s that had one thing behind them in fact: Wenger out.
They said that Arsenal would never win anything again as long as Wenger was in charge. 2 FA cups and a Community shield in 12 months time buried that myth. Yesterday I saw someone repeating a lot of those tweets that had been made in 2013 when the Wenger out movement was winning some lost souls. A time where Untold was under some heavy attacks and criticism because we kept on believing and defending Wenger. Poldi would say: Aha!
Another myth was that Wenger doesn’t want to spend the money. He would only buy young and unproven players. Of course we did that for a while but not because Wenger didn’t want to buy only those players. It was just that in those days he and Arsenal couldn’t afford to spend all their money on world class players. It was a case of using what we had at our disposal to keep the boat moving in the right direction.
Facing the unlimited spending power of teams like City and Chelsea made it almost impossible for Wenger to buy top class players. He tried but they chose the money before the project. But since we have a bit of money to spend we now have seen that Wenger is not afraid to spend it….but only on the right player and for a reasonable price. I think the transfers of Özil, Alexis and now Cech (goalkeeper record price for Arsenal) show that Wenger is ready to spend but only for top class players. Myth busted.
Another myth was (you couldn’t make it up) that Wenger only wants to buy midgets as he wants to be the biggest on the training field. I swear I have seen it in written said by some fans a few years ago. Ridiculous? More than ridiculous in fact. Wenger doesn’t really cares how big or how small a player is. He looks at the performances of a player not his height. Of course Santi wouldn’t be a good buy as a central defender but he isn’t a central defender or a goalkeeper but a midfielder-winger and there you can have a bit of a handicap in some situations if you are not really big. But if you are a great player and intelligent you can be the size of Santi and still be world class. But having bought our BFG and now Petr Cech who are both bigger than him this myth can also be put to bed.
Another myth that has been doing the rounds is the fact that Wenger was stuck in his old training regime and wouldn’t change a thing about it. What was good in the 90ties was still good enough for Wenger. The “stubborn old fool” (not my words of course – just to make sure) was the reason why our players got injured because of his outdated training methods. Injuries had nothing to do with being kicked all over the pitch, it was Wenger his fault. FACT (some would add). Our injury analysis a year ago showed another picture with Arsenal having not that much more muscular injuries compared to some teams but when it came to injuries from being kicked we got two or three times more and when it came to broken bones, ankles and other body parts we even got 6 times more of those injuries than our competitors.
But now even in the serious media they notice some changes. And player talk about changes in the training regime. Changes in the training regime????? No, no, no that can’t be. Because they told us Wenger was a stubborn old ********** who listened to no one but himself. He wouldn’t change. Nothing. Nada.
Well apparently he does listen to other people and he does change his training methods according to new proven sciences. Unless Jack is lying and why would he do that? So another myth used to tell that Wenger his time is up has been busted.
And the changes in the training regime has been brought in by Shad Forsyth. I am not a specialist in these things but he doesn’t just look at the muscles alone it seems. I quote from an article I read the other day : “His approach with EXOS and Germany was a holistic one. Nutrition, and neuroscience are combined with performance training and physical therapy in a bid to see the athlete as a whole, rather than a series of joints and muscles that could be the victim of unfortunate twists or tackles.”
Jack said: “We get weighed every week. We get regular DEXA scans to check our muscle mass and body fat levels. There’s no hiding place.”
Wilshere also said: “Training used to be long, hard double sessions for the whole team… now it’s more positional-based. Midfielders do one drill, defenders and attackers another. Training is more intelligent.”
And the constant monitoring of players’ condition, a practice that has been common in sport for years, has also intensified at Arsenal.
Now I can imagine the moaners saying: why didn’t he change before then? Well I think Wenger is a careful man and also a man of science. He just doesn’t go out and changes things for the sake of changing. What if a quack came up to Wenger and said that if he put the players on a diet of hamburgers and coke they would get fitter after a few months? Would you like to see Wenger order extra fries with the hamburgers and change the food at the training ground? No of course Wenger wouldn’t do such a thing unless he has proof that it does work. (I don’t think it would work my example)
So Wenger is not the stubborn old fool that he has been painted by some. But he is not the man to change just for the sake of changing. But if he sees proof he will change things. Wenger himself said about it: “We made a lot of changes in the way we prepare, in the way we work on prevention for injuries. We know a lot more than 18 years ago than when I arrived, but still not enough to predict 100 per cent scientifically what happens to everybody.”
So let us bury this myth also. Wenger does listen to other people. But not just any person who has a keyboard and an internet connection.
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Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910