Arsenal: a decade of mismanagement? How does the evidence stack up?

by Tony Attwood

A comment in response to an earlier article really got me thinking.   It read…

“Let arteta be trusted to do the job,like they say Rome was not built in a day.Klopp was given time at Liverpool and allowed to build a team on his principles, this has worked:If he had been told to win the Premier league on his first season he would not have managed and he would be long gone .We have to accept that Arteta found a team which was on decline following almost a decade of mismanagement and thus he needs Time to sort the mess.”

Let’s start with Klopp

On 8 October 2015, Klopp agreed a three-year deal to become Liverpool manager.

In the two seasons before he arrived Liverpool had come 2nd and 6th in the League. In his first season Liverpool slipped to 8th and were runners up in the League Cup and Europa cup.  The next two seasons they were fourth with a runners’ up place in the champions league, then a runners’ up slot in the premier and winning the champions league.

Here it is as a chart…

Season Liverpool League Liverpool other Arsenal league Arsenal other
2013/14 2nd   4th FA Cup winners
2014/15 6th   3rd FA Cup winners
2015/16 8th (Klopp) Runners up league cup and Europa League 2nd (Wenger)  
2016/17 4th (Klopp)   5th (Wenger) FA Cup winners
2017/18 4th (Klopp) Runners Up champions league 6th (Wenger) Runners up league cup
2018/19 2nd (Klopp) Winners champions League 5th (Emery) Europa League runners up
2019/20 1st (Klopp)   8th (Emery/ Arteta) FA Cup winners

So Liverpool sacked their manager one season after coming runners’ up.  Arsenal waited two seasons.  But waited probably because while Liverpool were achieving nothing with the main cups, Arsene Wenger was winning the FA Cup for a record time for the club.

Emery in his first season – his only full season – took us to 5th in the League and runners up in the Europa.  Klopp in his first season took Liverpool to 8th and runners up in the Europa League.  The difference was that half way through the next season Arsenal sacked Emery, while Liverpool kept faith with their manager.

Now Klopp in his second season had an advantage – there was no European football, so he could experiment with his team in the league, and as a result managed to gain the “fourth is not a trophy” slot, as it was called at Arsenal by many supporters.

We can look at this another way as well.   Klopp was given four years to win his first trophy.  Emery was given 18 months and Wenger was pushed out having won three trophies in his last five years.

What happened with Liverpool was Klopp was given three seasons without winning anything, whereas what Arsenal did was got rid of Emery when the club were 8th, one point off 5th.

Klopp was given three years – but Emery 18 months, and that seems to me the problem.   With the media and some fans giving Wenger a hard time despite the FA Cup wins Wenger was moved on one year before his contract ended – thus wasting the club £17m that could have been spent on players.

On 29 November last year when Mr Emery was sacked Arsenal were 8th with 18 points from 13 games. 1.38 points per game.

Today, one year on, Arsenal are 12th with 13 points from nine games.  1.44 points per game.

So the club has gone through the sacking of the manager with all the costs that must have accrued in terms of contract ending for Emery and his assistants in order to get an increase of 0.06 points per game.

And the danger is that the owners of the club, having given in to crowd and media pressure to get rid of Mr Wenger one year early, despite the huge costs to the club, and then doing it again last season, will feel the pressure now, and if things don’t improve dramatically, they repeat their errors.  Largely because that is what lots of club owners do.  They bow to media and fan pressure.

But let’s come back to the allegation seen on this site of “a decade of mismanagement”.  I’ve only done seven years but in that seven years we have won the FA Cup four times, and have had two other finals.  We have finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (twice), 6th and 8th.  Mr Arteta has a contract until 2023, but given the way the owners of Arsenal behave, if he doesn’t up that win rate soon, the calls for his replacement will be ever louder, and once more the owners will bow down to the shouting.

4 Replies to “Arsenal: a decade of mismanagement? How does the evidence stack up?”

  1. I totally agree with you in most points. Wenger should have never been sacked in the first place. But what I totally disagree with is your defense of Emery. He was a disaster as a coach. I know, now you will say he finished fifth in hos first season and then was axed after 18 months. But it was not like there was slow progress and then he was sacked. It was the other way round. The team got worse and worse and worse until the board finally sacked him. We would be nowhere, if he would have had more time. We played boring football and had bad results at the end of Emery’s tenure and the players had zero confidence. Now Arteta has to pick them up again and slowly build something new and exciting.

  2. Tony

    As you may of seen I’ve responded to accusations like that on here many times before, but alas it usually falls on deaf ears.

    I did a fairly long post once pointing out that at the very most, by all usual parameters, Wenger had one what could justifiably be called ‘bad’ season.

    But there in lies the problem, nothing Wenger did was judged as others were judged.

    The standards to which Wenger, and it has to be said Arsenal in general are held to, are often as not completely different to everyone else.

    Part of that period of which you speak when Arsenal won 3 FA Cups and came 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th was derided even at the time as failure.

    How is that ?

    As I mentioned on the other thread Spurs go top for 24 hours and we never hear the end of it.

    God only knows what will happen if they ever do actually win something!

  3. The comparison with Klopp never gets off the ground.

    He had vast amounts to spend from the sale fo Suarez and Countinho. Those funds were very well spent.

    We have had much less to spend and so much of what we have spent was wasted.

    The bad management started when Wenger’s successor was not brought in whilst he was here so that he could be trained into the football philosophy that had brought us so much success.

    Instead, Wenger was pushed out early, without any succession and it has been downhill all the way since.

    We cannot even blame Emery or Arteta for what has happened and will happen.

    The blame goes fairly and squarely on the layers of useless bureaucrats appointed by the owners to do the job that Wenger did on his own for many years.

  4. I like to think that the owners don’t really take too much of fans or media opinions when considering a change . Am sure they have all the facts and experts to guide them in moving forward.

    That some thing might work while others might implode are the risk we all take. No one will be ably to predict with accuracy the flow or pattern of each decision taken. While we hope that it all works out as we planned , yet things often go southwards.

    I would be aghast to find out that the owners listen to the moronic and fickle fans , nor to the idiots posing as experts in the media.

    Would you ever buy a used car from either of them ? That used to be a good yardstick in earlier times !

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