Sunday, 23 March 2014

Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal: Expected disaster

How abysmal. How appalling. How humbling. And more strikingly - how predictable.

"I reckon Mourinho is football's enemy, but I also fear his ruthless winning mentality. And if Wenger makes it too easy for him by failing to motivate the team and with redundant tactics, I suspect we'll see a repeat of the Liverpool hammering. If Wenger doesn't change the system and doesn't set the mentality straight, I think Chelsea will batter us."

Same tactics, same mistakes, same result. Only worse.

I had completely prepared myself for failure and made my peace with it. But that's the thing - at a club like Arsenal, supporters shouldn't be allowed to make such assumptions. It's Arsene Wenger's job to curb those feelings of dread. Once again, he failed miserably, just like at Old Trafford, the Etihad and Anfield.

For the past 31 months, there have been clear signs that Wenger is no longer the right man to lead the club forward. Today just adds to that huge list.

20th August 2011 | Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Unresolved Nasri issues, no Cesc replacements, unwelcome injury crisis. And an Aaron Ramsey own goal.

28th August 2011 | United 8-2 Arsenal: Ridiculous. Even a Conference side wouldn't have lost that badly.

17th September 2011 | Blackburn 4-3 Arsenal: At 57 minutes, Arsenal were 4-2 down at Ewood Park. Since then till the 90, Wenger doesn't get off his chair once to cajole his troops.

22nd January 2012 | Arsenal 1-2 United: Was this the first time that Gooners booed Arsene Wenger? I remember hostile scenes after Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off for (sigh) Arshavin, shortly after he had provided a superb assist for Robin's equalizer. Arshavin later lost the game for Arsenal.

15th February 2012 | Milan 4-0 Arsenal: Humiliation on Europe's stage. Wenger's fault.

20th October 2012 | Norwich 1-0 Arsenal: I still remember this match. Absolutely pedestrian performance by a distinctly average side.

24th October 2012 | Arsenal 0-2 Schalke: Boos rung out at the final whistle and rightly so - Arsenal were terrible once again. Gone were the days when we blew teams apart; the team had deservedly lost to Norwich and managed only one shot on target at home in the space of four days.

24th November 2012 | Villa 0-0 Arsenal: A match I particularly remember because Wenger decided to take Giroud off and brought Coquelin on when the team were drawing to relegation fodder ASTON VILLA. It was the first time the away support (one of the best in the world) booed Wenger for that and rightly so - how low does a team have to get if they're scared to lose against Villa?

1st December 2012 | Arsenal 0-2 Swansea: Two Michu goals at the death were followed by a cacophony of boos after full time. I remember feeling so defeated, disappointed and hopeless after the game that I actually turned and said to my brother, "You know what? I reckon Arsene Wenger will resign tomorrow."

11th December 2012 | Bradford (3-2) Arsenal: That was the worst I had ever felt as an Arsenal fan. Of course, then Blackburn, Bayern, Aston Villa, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea followed.

13th January 2013 | Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City: I recall that Arsenal had set ridiculously high prices for this match and City were protesting against it. It felt particularly expensive for us as Koscielny's stupid challenge on Dzeko killed the tie inside 10 minutes. Is this why Gooners pay the highest prices in the land?

16th February 2013 | Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn: Rock bottom.

19th February 2013 | Arsenal 1-3 Bayern: Oh wait. Stand by.

17th August 2013 | Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa: A direct result of complete stinginess from Wenger in the transfer market. Painfully deserved, something not acceptable at Arsenal.

14th December 2013 | Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal: FFS. No concentration in a winnable game. Wenger fucks up again.

8th February 2014 | Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: No excuses at all. Shameful performance on a big day. Wenger's fault again.

12th February 2014 | Arsenal 0-0 United: Booed again and rightly so. Wenger was too afraid to beat the worst Manchester United side in two decades.

1st March 2014 | Stoke 1-0 Arsenal: No signings in January, overplaying and injuring key players, not motivating the side, and this is what happens.

Do you know how many negative implying results those are? A massive EIGHTEEN in the space of 31 months - which averages to 1.72 months per bad performance. I don't think that anyone would argue that the aforementioned scorelines were anything short of nightmares and nadirs for Arsenal. The statistics don't lie - under Wenger, they're happening all too frequently. We've just added Chelsea to that collection.

At any other club, I don't think that any other manager has overseen so many disasters, yet managed to stay at the club. Yet there seems to be a soft spot for the once invincible Wenger, only because he offers Champions League football and decade-old memories.

Am I being too harsh by checking Wenger's record only over the last 31 months? I don't think so. Even if I push the number to 37, I'd cover the Villa and Bolton losses, the Barcelona and United cup crashes, the Birmingham Wembley disaster as well as the 4-4 Newcastle collapse.

At any other club, even at Manchester United, the manager would have been shown the door a long time ago. And for good reason; the past 2 and a half years (forget the past 8) just don't cut it. And after another predictable humiliation at Stamford Bridge, it's about time the words "not good enough" are quickly replaced with "sacked".

I said it before - Wenger's milestone is not a testament to how brilliant a manager he is. Far from it, it just shows how lucky he is to not be sacked yet. Personally, if I were Wenger I'd be embarrassed to sign a new contract, but I guess deluded supporters, clueless board and top four spots would always absolve him of any shame.

It really doesn't matter what Wenger achieves from now till May. Even if he wins the double I'd still want him out, and here's why:

  • He's tactically incompetent
  • He constantly overplays key players leading to injuries
  • He is an incompetent man manager
  • He's too proud to admit his mistakes
  • He repeats the same mistakes
  • He fails to motivate the team in crunch clashes
  • He oversaw 3 collapses in 6 years
  • He underachieved with brilliant teams
  • He cannot take readymade world class players to the next level (Reyes, Arshavin, Podolski, Cazorla, Ozil)
  • He made the fans suffer humiliating avoidable losses
  • He lost his winning mentality 5 years ago
  • He makes lofty promises but doesn't fulfill them
  • He refuses to spend money
  • He's a master procrastinator
  • He sold top class players for profits
  • He started 'Project Youth', a colossal failure that cost the club hundreds of millions in a time of financial debt
  • He influenced the board to serve his own needs
  • He took advantage of the added power entrusted to him (exclusive contractual freedom, transfer freedom, etc)
  • He's completely delusional and out of touch with the real world
  • He treats supporters like garbage
  • He consistently blames everyone but himself

[If anyone feels that there is any lack of proof in any of the faults that I have described of Wenger, you could ask me about it on Twitter or in the 'Comments' section below. I'll be happy to lay out the proof to you.]

Oh, and I've missed out something. What was it? That's right - no trophies in 9 years.

On second thoughts, probably mentioning that Wenger never blames himself is wrong. After the Chelsea nightmare (how many of those have we endured already?), he said:

"It was a nightmare and I take full responsibility for it. What is important is to give a response on Tuesday night and that is it."

Fair enough, you took the blame for once. However, after accepting the fault, the second step is to rectify it. And I don't think that Wenger will do that, he's too old and too stubborn to genuinely change fundamentally. I have included "He repeats the same mistakes" in his faults list for good reason, you see.

For years we've seen the same dithering in the transfer market. We've seen predictable collapses at crunch games and one-dimensional tactics regardless of the opposition. We've seen Arsene plunge us into injury crisis after injury crisis. We've seen deadwood not fit to wear the jersey play for Arsenal year after year (although there has not been much of that this season) Of course, and we've seen barren runs.

Under Arsene Wenger, I'm certain this circle of never-ending hopeless madness will continue. Winning the FA Cup will NOT change that.

Which is why he just needs to go this season. I don't want him to be in the Board of Directors, nor do I want him selecting our next manager. Arsene Wenger is not Arsenal's Alex Ferguson and never will be, because he, unlike Ferguson, never understood the deficiencies he had and never worked on it.

For years I've watched Arsenal holed up in a house in Mumbai, and for years I've felt helpless watching Wenger kill the club from season to season. I don't live in England - I can hardly cancel my season ticket or join anti-Wenger protests to directly put pressure on the club and the board. I can hardly chant in the stadium or influence minds by sitting in a different continent. However, the least I can do to save this club from the dictatorial reign of Arsene Wenger is start a blog highlighting his flaws and adding media pressure, which is exactly what I'm doing.

Ever since I discovered the shocking reasons of Arsenal's decline under Arsene (credit to Arsenal Truth for that) I have been doing all I can to convince Gooners to put pressure on Wenger. However, with his contract running down and a real possibility of him leaving the club after 3 months, all that effort might well be futile. Not that I'd care.

For the first time in years, I wouldn't mind if Arsenal fail if it means the end of Arsene Wenger. He built a wonderful legacy but is slowly destroying it, and I can see no way back now. I pray that other Arsenal supporters have realized that as well, so they can join the real Arsenal fanbase and show Wenger the door before 5th place starts to become the next trophy.

Happy 1000th, Arsene.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )