When then Arsenal Captain Patrick Vieira lifted that FA cup trophy at Wembley in 2005,I wouldn’t have believed anyone that tells me 8 seasons later, a large section of the fans that paraded the streets and pubs to celebrate that day will be calling for Arsene Wenger’s head.
The manager undoubtedly took the club to another level in terms of success, don’t get me wrong, Arsenal has always been a top club, one of the elite clubs in England but success has been an “on and off” thing before the Frenchman’s arrival, he transformed the club immensely even the beautiful style of play nicknamed “the arsenal way” is a far cry from those years opposing fans used to taunt the gunners with the song “boring boring Arsenal”
From the League and cup double in his first full season in 1998, another double in 2002, the unrivalled unbeaten league run of 2004 not forgetting the amazing Champions League run in 2006 that saw the club come to within whiskers of clinching the trophy at the expense of Catalan giants and favourites for the day, Barcelona C.F. Other successes brought by Wenger’s reign are, the huge move from the 38,000 capacity Highbury Stadium to the Emirates, which houses up to 60,000 spectators for a match.
GLORY DAYS: Wenger parading the league and FA cup trophy in 2002
Fast forward to 2013, unfoulding events at the Emirates leave much to be desired, from a constant media jibes to some sections of the gunners faithful planning to stage a protest and a boycott of matches to press home their demands for quality signings that will lift the club from its present level of “fourth place jostlers” to genuine Premier and Champions League contenders, the manager sure has a lot on his plate at the moment and events at White Hart Lane hasn’t made things any easier with Tottenham spending over £60 million on seemingly quality players like Brazilian Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Ettiene Capoue from Toulouse with the arrival of highly rated Anzhi Midfielder Willian imminent.
It’s high time the players and the Arsenal board take some of the blame for the mess at the club, Wenger has been on the line of fire for so long now and I think it will unfair on him not to look at other contributing factors.
Since after Thierry Henry led young guns like Emmanuel Eboue, Matthieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas to that famous victory over Spanish giants Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium against all odds considering the Galacticos era was still on at the time, no season has passed without the players flattering to deceive with a huge win that signals “we are now ready”
Some of the wins I’m referring to include the 2-0 San Siro win and elimination of Milan in the Champions League 2nd round in 2008, 2-1 home win against one of the best teams in history, Barcelona in another 2nd round game in Champions League 2011 not forgetting last season’s 2-0 away win that almost resulted in the eventual champions being eliminated on their home turf, yesterday’s 3-0 win against Fenerbahce in Turkey also counts considering the huge pressure involved.
Those huge results and some fine displays kept deceiving the Manager and giving him hope that his youngsters will come good and prove people wrong.
I also feel the board should be criticized heavily (not the light criticism they recieve once in a while) for using Arsene Wenger as a scape goat in pursuance of their cost saving policies which results in lack of attraction of big name players that will change the fortunes of the club on the pitch.
Arsene Wenger, though a full participant in the scheme of things at the club is only acting the board’s script by implanting their policy and when the guns come out blazing, they use him as a human shield, the board keeps hiding behind the manager in terms of crisis.