Does Wenger have immunity at Arsenal?
After 12 years at the London club, Arsene Wenger has led Arsenal to three Premier League titles and four FA Cup successes.
In Europe, Arsenal were unfortunate to lose to Galatasary in the UEFA cup final in 2000 and Barcelona in the Champions League final in 2006.
Wenger has been credited with completely rebuilding Arsenal. He has taken them into the 21st century, and made them world renowned for their stylish, sexy football. His great eye for footballing talent has saved Arsenal millions over the years in transfer fees. He has overseen the move from Highbury to their state of the art Emirates stadium.
As a Liverpool fan the contrast between the style of football Arsenal and Liverpool play is obvious. Liverpool grind out victories using a more conservative tactic. Arsenal play silky football, extremely pleasing to the eye. But which style of play is more efficient? On inspection of the League table, it would point to Liverpool ´s cagey strategy.
Would Arsenal fans prefer to grind out victories, playing some boring football but ultimately achieving success? Or would they prefer Wenger to continue in his quest of playing great football in order to win the league?
The Arsenal team that stormed to the title in 2003/04, were by far the best team I have seen in the Premiership over the years. With players like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Viera, Cesc Fabregas, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell the team deservedly were christened ‘The Invincibles’.
I haven’t seen Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool play anything like the Arsenal Invincibles, in the years previous or the years after. However, ever since Arsenal have struggled. Realistically they haven’t come close to winning the title.
A solitary FA Cup is all Wenger has been able to add to the trophy cabinet since then. For the first time since Wenger took over in 1996, there are murmurings of discontent amongst the Arsenal faithful.
His insistence in trusting in youth instead of experience is holding the club back. He has sold experienced players like Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry, and Hleb. Instead of replacing these key players with equally experianced players, he has called upon his young starlets to do effectively a mans job.
Arsenal are two or three experienced players away from being a title winning outfit. This January transfer window, Arsenal fans were crying out for a hard tackling midfielder. Wenger instead decided to splash out on a light weight Russian player maker, Andrei Arshavin.
We have seen the intense pressure Avram Grant, Luis Scolari and Rafa Benitez have been under to win trophies. Yet Wenger seems exempt from any kind of pressure from the hierarchy of the club and the most Arsenal fans.
A barren spell of three or four years in Engand, Spain or Italy would spell the end of a manager’s tenure at any of the nations respective ‘big clubs’. Not with Wenger. It is impossible to imagine Wenger being sacked by Arsenal.
Worryingly though, is this immunity allowing Wenger to rest on his laurels and continue with his everlasting patience in youth? And as a result prolonging the trophyless spell Arsenal are currently enduring?
I’m not saying Wenger should be sacked. He is a great manager. One of the best, if not the best the Premiership has seen. But if he doesn’t change his philosophy of playing young inexperienced players instead of purchasing two or three proven players then I can’t see Arsenal winning a major trophy for at least 2 or 3 years. Or until such a time his hot prospects mature into indispensable players for the club.