Talking with hindsight: the curse of the supporter who always knows better

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By Walter Broeckx

If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. And with sad I mean the fact that we lost on Saturday and Tuesday in games that we shouldn’t have lost. And with funny I mean the fact that this Arsenal is not only blessed with some great supporters but also is blessed with many people who think they know better.

Let us start with Cesc. All summer long supporters have told him he could/should/ couldn’t/shouldn’t go. It all depended on what was written in the papers that day. And as Arsenal had said at the start of the transfer period that Cesc would stay. And stay he did.

And when he was finally fit to play after the world cup he came in and put some good performances in. Performances long forgotten since. Let us just think back at the home game against Braga, the game against Bolton, the home game against Shakhtar. Games in which he showed why he is our best player. But the guys who know better had made up their minds long before a ball was kicked.

And for them Cesc was not wanted. He was already in Barcelona in his mind, he was no leader, he didn’t play with this heart. The know betters knew it all, that is why they are know betters of course.

But then came his injury nightmare. He pulled his hamstring and was out for a few weeks just as he was becoming better and better after his long holiday after the world cup. He was out for a few weeks and then came back. But yes he wasn’t the same player he was before his injury. You could see that he wasn’t playing at his best level. But he was fighting (on and sometimes close over the border line) and giving it all.

People who can read could read on the Arsenal website that despite Cesc being back he still struggled with his hamstring. After the games he felt pain or he needed treatment. But he was getting better once again. His display in the first 45 minutes against Tottenham was almost the Cesc we all love and know. Not just there but very close.

He dropped back in the second half (together with a few others) and we dropped back. And after the game again it was said that Cesc was still struggling with his hamstring and that he was a doubt for the Braga game.

Some who know better wrote that Wenger was dropping Cesc and using his hamstring to cover it up. And they started again with the “Cesc is gone/leaving” mantra they all like so much. And the “Cesc is no leader/winner”/blah/blah/blah mantra they also like so much. “Cesc should have been sold, Wenger should have dropped him earlier,” and so on.

Other who know better blamed Wenger for not fielding his strongest side in and against Shakhtar earlier on and that this had cost us defeat in that game. They said Wenger was looking at the CL as a B-competition and that he should have played with this best team. And now those who know better are telling that Wenger should be sacked because he played Cesc (who is I would think part of the best team at Arsenal) and that he got him injured again.

Now we all can argue a bit about the fact that despite the trouble he had with his injury he started against Braga. And he was not at his best. And so Arsenal was not at their best. And after almost an hour gone the hamstring went again and he had to leave the field.  But now blaming Wenger for doing what they had told him he should do (play with your best team) is a bit silly I would say.

I’m not a doctor and Wenger is also not a doctor. Yes we all know a bit about injuries because we follow football and we all know the familiar injuries we suffer. But to know how fit the player really is, is something that only a doctor and the player can decide.

Is the player wanting to play despite the pain and his injury? Can he play with this injury and pain? Questions that a player must answer to the doctor and the manager. And if Cesc has said that he wants to play and that he thinks he can play, then I think it is the right of Wenger to play him. After all it is the player who feels his body and not the manager.

Also the doctors should know if a player can play or not. They have the skill, the training and the meanings to look at injuries and decide: he can play or he cannot play. Wenger has said before the game that he would consult all the involved parties in this matter and then make up his mind on playing Cesc or not.

And so he did play Cesc from the start which means:

Cesc wanted to play. Just think about this even with the pain and trouble he is having the last weeks he still wants to play for Arsenal. So stop moaning about Cesc not wanting to play for Arsenal any more. He even wants to play with a not completely cured injury. Isn’t this what a captain ought to be doing? So stop moaning about Cesc not being a good enough captain for Arsenal.

And it also means that the doctors told him he could play. Wenger is no doctor so he has to go on the word of the medical staff. So if we really want to blame someone it can be the doctors. And let us also not forget that Cesc was victim of some strong challenges and endured some though tackles during the game. This also will not have helped him and his hamstring.

Of course we are gutted that Cesc is out for who knows how many weeks. Knowing our luck with injuries it could well mean that he will be out until the Christmas period before we see him back in full fitness.

But those who know better should remember that when they were calling to sell Cesc during the summer we now face what they wanted us to face: playing without Cesc.

And those who know better should also remember that when they were calling Wenger to play his best team it is exactly what he tried to do yesterday.

And whilst I totally agree that everyone at the club (managers, players and  the medical staff) should always review everything they do, all the time, to see what has gone wrong and what went right,  maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing that the know betters do the same thing. Reacting after something has happened is always very easy.  Even I knew the last jackpot winning numbers of the Euro Millions after they were drawn. I just didn’t put them on the card in the shop. It’s that easy to say something with hindsight.

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36 Replies to “Talking with hindsight: the curse of the supporter who always knows better”

  1. it just pains me to see the papers write about the “tottenham flair” and how well they are suited to CL and how they deserved to go through to the final rounds and how they will be no1 in their group, avoiding barca and RM in the initial round.

    We and totenham have swapped positions it seems. ok ok we are no 3 in the PL. let us hope the teams after us do not win any more matches, cos if they do and we loos we can easily be no 5 after Saturday.

  2. well what a good article

    and i must said the first POSITIVe article i read within the past bitter sad gloomy week.

    All i read until today only wenger out, fab4 out coz his mind in spain blah2.

    After reading your argument, i realize that cesc always give his best for us, even he is still injured. He can still refuse to play if he thinks its not good.

    And now im puzzled with arsenal medical staff. Yesterday vermaelen, today cesc wtf?

    But still, nice and comforting article.
    Hope all the gooners out there can read this.

    Gooner till i die

  3. Of course Cesc getting injured is Wengers fault. I also blame him for Vermaelen getting injured with Belgium, the global recession, and I think he may have had a part in North Korea’s naughtiness a couple days ago

  4. exactly.

    i know there are good arsenal supporters, but sadly the ones that choose to express themselves on the internet are the pathetic ones. nothing but rash knee-jerk reactions from the section of support on the net

  5. I dont blame Wenger for Cesc injury hopefully it can get resolved fully this time and he comes back to the excellent level he can play the game.

    No one could or should question his desire for Arsenal he has been amazing to the club were, many others would have left sooner waiting on the other players to become better so we have a chance to win soemthing.

    If there’s one problem I have with Cesc it’s him being captain, call me old fashioned but I like a shouting, lead by example, wear your heart on your sleave captain. The type of player who would give teammates who are not performing a kick in the backside to drive them on and also remind them they are very lucky to be professional footballers who should not be moaning having to play 3 matches in a week?

    The last point I will make Walter is you mentioned twice above that when Cesc was off so were Arsenal. This is a huge problem becuase why on earth didnt his other teamates give more in their own performance and effort to compensate for this???

    I’ll give you an example Rooney been out at Utd for a while have they lost any matches? they havent cos Nani, Park and others have stepped up their game plus the whole team work extremley hard making it difficult to beat the s**ts and this is when they are playing poor?

  6. Walter,

    Thank you. I am getting so tired of all these “Know better” creatures crawling all over the web pretending to be a Gooner. For last 2 weeks, only places I dropped by is here and in DesiGunner sight. But I come to these places from “” [a place where they compile all the posts that are written regarding Arsenal everyday] and I can’t but catch a glimpse of some of the headlines on some of the “TRUE” arsenal sites like LeGrove and such. Its just pathetic. Although it iss just not in my class to click on a link like “Wenger Has Lost the Plot” and actually spend time reading it. But the headlines alone are enough to make you sad. It seems so unnecessary and uncalled for. I honestly feel saddened by these smart ass remarks. I feel bad for the team, the Boss, the Staff and all other people who truly roots for Arsenal for what they represent. We are NOT Chel$ki or ManIOU. We are definitely not the HotSpuds. We Are ARSENAL. There are very basic fundamental differences. If you can’t figure out what they are, perhaps you should take the time to learn the history as well as try to find out the philosophy that makes us different from these so called “successful” clubs.

    I don’t know Walter, I am probably just wasting my time here repeating something that all your readers already know, but I just had to let it out.

    Anyway, thank you once again for helping us keep the spirit high on very cold damned “November”s like this. Five more days and we will break the curse and Everything will get back to normal.

    In Arsene We Believe.


  7. I just wonder sometimes that when Cesc is on the field the others just think : oh, he will do it.
    And now that they know he is out, maybe they will start the game realising: oh, we have to do it.? A bit like the Henry factor a few years ago when the rest of the team would think: oh, just give it to henry and he will score a goal for us.When he was gone the other players suddenly stepped up and we would have won the title the next year if not for the Eduardo broken leg and ridiculous refereeing decisions we had to suffer.

    Please don’t read this as saying “Cesc should go” in anyway. As I would love to have him around for the rest of his career as he is one of the best midfielders in the world. But I think when you play alongside such a good player you maybe rely on his ability to win the game for you. So it will be interesting once again to see how the team will react in the next weeks and see if the players can step up their own game knowing that Cesc is not around to help them out.

    And I also would like it a lot that from now on Cesc is not rushed back to fitness but give him the time to come back so he can be fit for the rest of the season. Maybe if they would have waited another week or 2 the last time he would have been better from the moment he really was back. But then again, this is talking with hindsight of course.

  8. Trouble is Chowdhury, there seems to be an agenda against Wenger in sections of the UK media, in contrast I must say to mostforeign media. The English press – they want to keep on the right side of Arry – next England manager, and he is English (Lord help Arry in trying to live up to the current levels of hype). Fergie – they are scared of him, upset him and you get nothing from him. Chelsea have their faults – but they keep winning so are left alone – for now…
    Wenger, if you believe much of the English media is a foreign manager who only buys French imports, hates English players, he whinges, never sees anything, a snob who disrespects the traditional qualities if English football – and to boot, he wins nothing. I know because the likes of Alan Hansen, Myles Palmer and Stan Collymore consistantly tell us all about Wengers perceived faults.
    I guess the best way for Wenger to shut them up is to start winning things!

  9. 1 have read tony attwood blogs for a while now and all i have seen is that he believes that wenger is a second city saint who never makes mistakes and that is his biggest shortfall. those who say that in arsene we trust are the first ones who will say in arsene we dont trust at the end of the day. As much as wenger has achieved alot in arsenal time he also has to take heed of what the fans demand because their presence on match days is what makes arsenal the rich club it is. We sacrifice alot of time and resources to the success of the club. Last week should have been the end of tony’s support on wenger because having been a gooner for most of his sporting life he understood well what the derby history meant to the gooners worldwide. we lost what has been keeping us going for the past 5 years. the north london pride. Wenger is bringing down the empire he built. Tony when legends like seaman, keown, winterburn, parlour see a problem in the team for heavens sake there is a problem. They have been there, done that and definately know what it takes to win. What about you? I have agreed with many of your recent posts but what i wonder is, Have you ever differed in opinion with arsene because him being a human being he is bound to make wrong decision some times. Last week we saw a stiker who is afraid to run in the box and shoot. That is a failure. u wills see that after henry left midfielders have been topping the season tally of goals for arsenal. This means that the strikers have not been delivering. Can u compare ljungberg, pires, wiltord, viera, henry, flamini, edu, sol, ray parlour, ashley cole with the squad we have? NO. seaman and his predecesssor shared 20 yrs between them in post. Has anyone ever filled mr safe hands shoes? No. where are we heading as a club .Financial stability in the club does not trickle down to fans world wide and hence it doesnt matter to the fans more than trophies. All we fans ask for is a little respect. There is a saying that says “where there is smoke fire is definately there” and judging by the recent perfomance of the team we are not being honest with each other. Its time for tony to stop blaming the fans, Wenger to stop blaming the referees and opponents and wenger over protecting his players. he should do what mourinho did to the likes of robben and company. Do u want to know what the problem is at arsenal? ask the fans who have watched arsenal for the past decade. they will tell u that wenger brought success to the club but ego is making him lose all that. with the emergence of rich owners who are ready to buy success winning without a quality team with the right attitude and mental strength is out of question. wise people listen to what others say before making decisions. Wenger should do the same. the best young players will always move to succesful clubs at the end of the day as the case of fabregas. so how long will wenger wait for the team to mature when every year a bigger club than arsenal comes calling for our best players?

  10. if I was in charge at arsenal id be seriously thinking about a few players futures. Thomas rosicky hasnt done a thing in a arsenal shirt, bendtner talks like he is the next henry yet he has the first touch of a pensioner. phillip mexes has said he wants to come to the premiership he is big , very experienced and a winner. id also look to take back diarra as a dm and yes demoting song somewhat. i would have no problem playing chesny in goal with vermaelen mexes in central defence and diarra in dm. i would then look to play nasri and fabregas either side of diarra and thus creating room after loaning out vela and jet to buying suarez. robin van persie is probably my favourite player and definetly hasnt shown us his best but he needs to play week in week out. suarez plays week in week out he scored 35 goals in 33 games last year, he can score with both feet, his head and from free kicks. suarez 202 games 118 goals at the age of 23 is just ridicolous , van persie has played 247 games and scored 82 goals he hasnt even scored 50 goals for arsenal in 6 seasons. if i had to pick 1 player to buy it would be suarez i dont have a clue how no big team has swooped him up. i hope van persie can put his troubles behind but how many seasons can we really wait on him? if you post a reply to this tell me who you would bring in or move around because im tired of people saying oh denilson/diaby aint good enough, anyone can spot someones short comings but i want to know people who we can bring in to boost our team.
    Our up coming games include a mixed back of Villa, Wigan, Fulham, Partizan and Manure. Normally I would have some confidence of getting a result in all these games except the Manure game but with recent performances and injury to Cesc who now would really be confident about any of these games? Tactically and player selection wise Wenger is getting it wrong too often. He needs to radically reasses…..but we all know he wont!
    Finally, there 
    was an article in the Evening Standard 
    yesterday on how Arshavin is not delivering. Its a good piece asking why he is not really delivering with all the talent he has. It raises potential reasons such as he is still not used to London but also that he doesnt apply himself and still mucks about trying to do flash things rather than the basics. It also points out that Arshavin doesnt like playing wide preferring to be more dangerous coming through the middle. Putting aside living in London all the other problems rest with Wenger’s inability to get this undoubted talent to perform but also why the hell does he play him in a position he feels he cant play at his best. For me this a great example of Wenger trying to play god and prove his experiments. He has done this with Walcott who has contributed zilch and other players who have just not improved. The lone striker format is not working for us. We are spineless in DM and defence but still Wenger wont budge. Lets be honest Wenger has not been able to get tactics and team selection right for big games for quite some time now. Together with his pathetic whingeing and excuses his credibility is diasppering fast.

  11. Hi walter,

    good job pointing out the players role in being available in a positive article, in which for me the point is more about the fans behaviour and lack of support given when we face defeat.

    I feel that being a fan in a way is like being in a group of friends and family – one can criticise and be criticised by a member of your own circuit but when an outsider does’t it isn’t ok. Bad results are always hard to swallow, but (even in your own group of friends) there is always a line that no one should cross. The gloom of few recent results has made me crave more than ever the positive response from our fans, articles and in myself. I’m happy to see that even when seemingly being outnumbered the Untold stands tall. You’re not standing alone.

    PS. I fear that you along with tony may think that few of my comments have been out of line, I’m sorry if that is the case. I truly appreciate your work.

  12. d probs wit these lads is dat they refuse to learn.It is dishartening to c d way they playd coming down 4rm a disgraceful to Tiny Tots.Cecs is a good player no doubt bt motivatn on d pitch is missing witot which d lads do poorly.Honestly i hv NEVER fancied Bendtner nd i dnt tink he has what it takes to play 4 a club lyk Arsenal.Chamckh is far btr dan him.All dat is needed in dis team is Motivation.

  13. Well said Walter,so true and talking about cesc i don;t think we can blame the doctors either.Afterall humans are no machines and there’s always that bit of uncertainity hanging in the air untill whatever happens, does happen.. i mean what if cesc would have run the show like he very often does and won the match?Nobody would have had a problem..A little bit of common sense tells me when he went through a late fitness test he obviously did pass it.. Its really sad that it backfired for us! Hope he is back before the game at O.T AND TO QUESTION HIS MOTIVATION WOULD BE A BLOODY JOKE!! c’mon he’s human, he is bound to have his bit of offdays/ injuries..Its just very sad that we those faint hearted “fans” who cant wait to bash up anything that is important to the club

  14. @peter c : fuzzy logic! You’d buy saurez blah blah and demote song.Have you ever for a second thought why we have a manager and dozens of others on the staff?They paid for what they are doing[Read professionals] and how you seem to be calling Wenger

    “Tactically and player selection wise Wenger is getting it wrong too often. He needs to radically reasses…..but we all know he wont!”
    Could you please eloborate on that one a bit.Would really like to heat from an esteemed tactian like you
    If we win its all rosy and nice and otherwise wenger is an old obdurate vile tactless moron?

  15. Thats a true fan. We need per mertsacker to partner vermanitor and a good strong forward who is not afraid to shoot. the forlan type.

  16. @Peter C: –> Sorry, but which of the big 4 team you are managing currently? I must have missed that somewhere in your rather long half literate clichéd jargons.
    “suarez plays week in week out he scored 35 goals in 33 games last year, he can score with both feet, his head and from free kicks.”
    — you really gotta get a life mate. Playing fantasy football on your PS3 all day really starts to shape your thoughts along the line. You loose that sense of “Reality” where actually teams play. On real pitches, with real balls. They get injured, get kicked, have a bad day, miss a sitter, make a bad decision in the box and awards a penalty to the opponent, leads 2-nil at half time and then loose 3-2 at the end. Yeah, thats called “reality”, something that never happens in your “virtual” league where your team plays. Your Suarez changes a league and a team just like that and he keeps scoring like he has never moved. Cause his stat tells the Game Engine how he would perform during a game and he keeps on scoring. Well I will let you in a Secret, does NOT work like that in real life.
    You see, it all starts with getting real…
    People like YOU make me feel so much smarter… Love it.

  17. hear not heat 😉 and i totally agree with mandy dodd but it is disheartning nevertheless, when the fans start asking for heads to roll

  18. Sometimes risks work, sometimes they don’t. I’m sure we all remember the Cameo appearance out captain made against Aston Villa last season, picking up an injury in the process.

    I don’t think Cesc’s hamstring was helped by the poor job the referee did. When we’re having to work so much harder to play against 12 men then there must be added stress on the hamstring.

    I don’t think we’ll miss him too muh in the next few games. On-form Nasri will get a more central role giving RvP, Walcott and Bendtner opportunities to step in. Things could be worse, we could have Chelsea’s squad.

  19. Something is wrong with this club..and it won’t be rectified by the sweet talk going on here,period..wenger has had all the support,love a manager needs to succeed in the last five years.methink,its about time we tried tough love..y’ll remember when mourinho dislodged man u for two seasons?weren’t man u supporters calling for fergie’s head?it got so bad that there were rumours of resignation flying around.did it do man u any good? Yes! It did! It made fergie sit up! Nothing motivates a man when you know your job is threatened.I don’t want wenger sacked but sometimes stress,pressure brings out the best in us and I don’t know more than the lord wenger when it comes to management..I just think when it comes to the coaching aspect of it,he’s flawed and that’s my friggn opinion.

  20. i dont think its a case of some supporters knowing better…some are indeed prepared to be shot at for having strong views but thats not with any “know-all” attitude.The problems are widespread, ineffective players unsuited to the rigours and physicality of the premier league; poor tactics ..(consistently), no leadership anywhere on or off the field, injuries(mystery or poor training????…who knows).
    We have highly technical players that swamp the midfield and give us midfield dominance but as we all know teams dont seem to mind us having the ball in that area because they know that a concerted effort high up the field (usually in the 2nd half)will reap rewards.The gamble on cesc was illogical from the start….but hey we all gamble in some form or another…its just a case of how shrewd the gamble is TO START WITH

  21. “I just wonder sometimes that when Cesc is on the field the others just think : oh, he will do it” – spot on, walter. I actually remember, that we did reasonably well this season when Cesc was out, with Jack taking the maestro role. But, when Cesc is there, nobody else steps up, quite understandbly. And when Cesc IS playing, and not playing well, it’s actually a lot worse than someone else who’s not playing 100%. We should let him rest, and come back when he’s ok. We have a wide selection of quality midfielders to choose from.

    On a side note: I am seeing quite a lot of reference being made to the “are we up or down” post which does this nifty comparison. It’s nice, but I beg to argue that it’s also irrelevant. It does not matter how badly we used to do and how relatively ok we are now; the correct comparison is how are we doing today compared to how well we SHOULD or COULD be doing today, taking into consideration all relevant factors (injuries, how our opponents are doing right now, and current team roster) – and I don’t really think that anyone believes we should have lost @ home v. WBA and Newcastle, or become a team that other teams turn thing around on our backs (Shakhtar and the spuds) – mind you, Wenger said that for us getting the 1st goal is crucial….

  22. Hi Walter

    Can’t argue with your point about hindsight, its easy to pick apart what should have been if only.

    It made me think of another word, Prediction. Here’s the Wikipedia interpretation:

    A prediction or forecast is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge. While there is much overlap between prediction and forecast, a prediction may be a statement that some outcome is expected, while a forecast may cover a range of possible outcomes.

    Either the anti arsenal fans are clairvoyant or they might just be onto something, re: Arsenal’s last five years. If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t be wasting any money on Arsenal winning anything this season either.

    Not having a dig but just to point to the mindset that has developed with these disgruntled fans.

  23. Walter
    WE have been seeing for over 3 years now that Wenger isn’t addressing the issues and it was said towards the end of last season that we needed a decent keeper. In your books that’s hindsight. And I can tell you now we will win nothing unless Wenger changes his ways and manages to grasp the concept of tactics and motivation, how to defend, and more importantly not rely on sub standard bargain bucket players. He must also use the Jan xfer window well as that will be his last chance. it’s clear that there is money to spend, but even if Wenger did spend, would he do it wisely? For a frugal man like him to spend £16m on Squillachi and Koscielny, the former a bit diffident and the latter unproven, is strange. Two seasons ago, there was £35m spent on Arshavin, Nasri and Ramsey, all central attacking midfield players. Were there not greater needs elsewhere? Now we have a huge surplus, but let it accrue interest in the building society account! Why do we hear nothing from the Board? All other clubs make statements about players, policy, transfers, etc. Our directors are invisible and nothing is heard from them. Are they happy, what are Hill- Weood’s thoughts at present? What has Gazidis been doing recently apart from polishing his grin? We only hear from Wenger about all things Arsenal, indicating he has complete control over everything, which cannot be healthy. Mind you, Gazidis was appointed by Wenger after he had rejected a number of others, presumably as they were not yes- men, as widely reported at the time. He’s hardly going to question a man who’s appointed him, even though he’s supposedly senior to Wenger! 
    If we look at the facts and make a decision. We have the easiest CL group ever, the PL is as weak as it has ever been.AW says we have the strongest squad since he has been here,did we really believe that?And yet we are struggling to even qualify for the CL knockout stages and have lost 4 PL games already.Add to that a crap run in we had last season.Everyone knows we need a decent GK and the best he can bid for was Schwarzer.Given has been available for ages.We need a decent strong centre back and we end up with kos and squil.Hangeland would be far better.We are unable to defend as a unit and our sub par defenders are further exposed. We are incapable of tackling and refuse to cross the ball. Respect AW for your amazing achievements but we have not been anywhere near good enough for the whole of 2010. Has he lost his touch? We have gone backwards in 2010 and yet we are still only a couple of players away from being top drawer.But haven’t we been saying that for the last 3 years?I want to win things with AW.He gave me the best footballing night of my life when I saw us trounce Leeds at Highbury to virtually seal the league for the invincibles.The trouble is that is what makes this so upsetting he has completely changed us and not for the better.I can’t see him changing the vanity project.We had a chance of creating a dynasty after 2004.But just look at how poor we are .I can take losing what I cannot accept is losing the same way time and again and the pathetic excuses. They kicked us,the ref was poor blah.I don’t remember Vieira, Adams etc moaning about being tackled.The whole philosophy has to change and I don’t think AW is capable of that.He is tainting his own proud legacy.Will he address our problems in January .I hope so but I can’t see it and if he doesn’t its time to call it a day. Sorry but in arsene I no longer trust

  24. please respect the words of the great fans… Wenger should have listen to them.. all of them. many of those fans gives quality advice, besides i believe each of them had won more trophies than wenger. They are experts of football management game.

    When wenger looks at training, these fans don’t have to and looks at statistic and in terms of number. They don’t need to train with the players or talk the players, they already know the player “leadership” base on the numbers of computer games.

    When Wenger competes against great minds, these fans can beat computers. When a player is unhappy, they know when to sell them and they know which players to buy. The player they brought are 100% effective and 100% blends in to the team well.

    So wenger, please listen to these experts!

  25. I find it difficult not to get caught up in all the negativity of the media, blogs, and Arsenal sites all around. I do visit and read pretty much all of them, but only post here and on the Guardian, as I feel these are the only spaces still available for sane and somewhat reasonable discussion (although the Guardian comments tend to be rough after big defeats, like the one after Spurs).

    What I don’t understand is the complete lack of perspective. At this point all Arsenal sites consistently predict a win before each game, and most bloggers work themselves into a frenzy where the result of each game becomes a final judgment on the team, the players’ desire, the transfer history and budget over the last 6 years, and above all on Wenger and his ability to lead Arsenal. Sometimes before games I don’t feel confident about the result, and in fact I accept that there are good days and bad days, that there really ought to be good seasons and bad seasons. What qualifies as a bad season is a question that ought to be addressed more often though (and that Tony addressed when comparisons between our greatest ever managers and their legacies were made a few months ago). We have been so used to seeing great, winning football that even challenging for the title on a consistent basis is not good enough anymore.

    In the last 5 ‘trophy-less’ years (everyone’s favorite description of the club at the moment), we reached the final of the CL (2005-6), didn’t do much in 06-07 (‘bad’ season), were leading the league in 07-08 until late in the year (challenging for title), reached semi-final of FA cup and CL in 08-09 (strong cup runs), and were in the mix until April last (challenging for the title). This season is barely a third of the way in and the sky seems to be collapsing for all the tedious negative fans. Do people realize that we could be top on Saturday? Yes we could be 5th after the week-end is over, but we could also be top?!

    The only worrying pattern I see at the moment is the one identified by Wenger, and which has nothing to do with technical ability, and that’s the mental side. This side gets nervous at the finish line, and there needs to be some sort of mental epiphany for them to be taking the last step and win something. I can’t wait for the season to continue unfolding, and so my perspective is not that of hindsight/backseat driver/pub tactician, but of anticipation and hope.

    Great article Walter, great work on the site Tony and everyone and please don’t give in to the madness!

  26. Seems to me that anyone who doesn’t completely agree with Wenger on your site is stupid and has no valid points…..stinks of arrogance to me.

  27. There is no irony about it the vanity project is finished and we will see once again @ the end of the season that the messiah aka wenger is no longer able to deliver with these so called mercenaries like denilson and diaby. When will people stop to see the obvious?

  28. Peter C,
    why on earth do you have to name Diaby in this? he has been kicked off the field twice this season (bolton and Chelsea) and has since then a serious ankle injury. Let me tell you that I really think that we could do with a bit of Diaby for the moment.

  29. Walter , i double i really think he is one player we are missing specially against teams that ve a lot of height,what makes fans so anti abou / denilson is beyond me

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