THE utter folly of giving washed up Arsene Wenger two more years to run Arsenal into a rabble was brutally exposed at Anfield.
In his post-match press conference, Wenger claimed the players are good enough. He’s partly right, some are, but he is not.
The Gunners’ culture, spirit and organisation are a shambles, with the 4-0 loss to Liverpool coming almost six years to the day of their 8-2 humiliation against Manchester United. Little has changed.
EPL: Arsenal looked like a junior football side in their match against Liverpool, struggling to make simple plays in their on box.
Arsenal’s woeful defence
Old boys are expressing their shame and those fans who, bizarrely, remain loyal to this manager years past his best, point the finger at underperforming players.
But the buck stops with Wenger.
The Arsenal squad is a hot mess. There are too many players who should never wear the shirt again, standing in the way of recruits who can take the team back to where it belongs.
EPL: Liverpool have continued Arsenals tough start to the season, with the Reds putting four past the Gunners.
Reds put four past Gunners
Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell are among those who could feature in another lower EPL team’s starting line-up but are instead soaking up wages at the Emirates.
The team’s defence has been diabolical. In response Wenger has sold Gabriel, ignored Per Mertesacker and Callum Chambers, used and dumped Rob Holding and Skhodran Mustafi and used decent left back Nacho Monreal as a central defender.
He bought a 52 million pound striker and sat him on the bench against Liverpool, even though Alexandre Lacazette scored on debut and then had a goal harshly ruled out against Stoke. Instead Wenger went with the club’s third best striker Danny Welbeck, in a must win game.
The line-up Wenger put out was baffling, but far from the most demoralising part of the 4-0 defeat. That was the relative spirits in the opponents.
Liverpool were without their wantaway superstar Phillipe Coutinho and what was left fizzed and crackled, running down every ball, winning every challenge, playing with the intensity demanded by their manic coach Jurgen Klopp.
By contrast Arsenal had Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slouching around – all three evidently want to leave the club, and are currently going about their work with all the passion you expect from any disgruntled employee.
Meanwhile, in this window Wenger sold Wojciech Szczesny, an Arsenal man to the core, to Juventus for a pittance this window, over a personality clash.
Premier League: Gini Winaldjum destroys Aaron Ramsey in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal
Gini destroys Ramsey
Welbeck has several decent attributes but scoring goals doesn’t seem one of them right now, Monreal was murdered by Mo Salah and Holding looked a bundle of nerves. Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey seem too posh to push in midfield and were completely over run.
Wenger has Theo Walcott on north of 100,000 pounds a week and no place for him. He needs a midfielder desperately yet seems incapable to landing one.
Wenger has taken the most exciting right fullback we’ve been privileged to support, Hector Bellerin, and put him at left wing back.
All in order to accommodate Oxlade-Chamberlain in a position he doesn’t want to play in.
Wenger has shown he has no idea about the requirements of a back three, having bought a natural left wingback Sead Kolašinac, who built a reputation for excellence in the final third during his time in Germany, and had an assist in the opening game against Leicester, and then played him as a central defender.
THE TOXIC CULTURE
Jose Mourinho famously described Wenger as a “specialist in failure”. It wasn’t always the case, and his disciples will hold up three FA Cups in four years as evidence that he remains potent. However his failings are widespread.
There’s the failure to dominate the transfer market, unable to offload deadwood and unable to buy where needed. There’s the failure to manage the contract situation – with too many unwanted players on wages too big they make other clubs baulk, too many stars having contracts expiring too soon. There’s the failure of competing against direct rivals – the Liverpool loss was the 13th straight visit to a top 6 rival without a victory. And there’s a failure of keeping big name signings happy enough to stay.
Wenger’s comments after the Liverpool devastation were so much of the same old story.
“The result was a consequence of our performance, it wasn’t good enough. We were beaten everywhere physically, and after they scored we made it easier for them. We made unneeded mistakes and when we came back into the second half we started to dominate the game, and the third goal killed us after that.
“Mentally it was difficult. It was a very disappointing performance.
“Of course it was shocking. Our performance on the day was absolutely disastrous.”
He was asked if there was a lack of effort and desire. Surely the most rhetorical of questions in the wake of such a humiliation.
“It’s not to become too emotional directly after the game, the disappointment is big enough. We have to take some distance from that.
“If you find a manager who is happy after a performance like that I wish you good luck. The emotions are very big and very negative, but it’s not the right moment to talk about that.”
But it is, Arsene.
Sections of the away support chanted “Wenger Out”. It’s happened again. He, of course, isn’t interested in that. A pay cheque of $20 million a year can help you get through a lot of disappointment.
“Well, I don’t want to answer that,” he responded when asked about the chants, which look only like to increase in volume.
“That’s part of the crowd’s feeling, and of some people yes. If I am the problem, I’m the problem and I’m sorry because I want our fans to be with us when we lose with a performance like that. The only thing we can do is come back and give them a different level of performance.”
Is there anyone left who thinks he has any say in the matter?
Originally published as Wenger’s ‘hot mess’ exposes most damning truth
Source: sports dailytelegraph