Wenger is not to blame for Arsenal’s woes

Arsène Wenger is a man of honour.

The fact that he refused to leave Grampus 8 early when Arsenal approached him and also turned down the Bayern Munich job when he was at Monaco, resolute in not breaking a contract, underlines his attitude to respect and dignity.

Wenger gets accused of being myopic when he claims not to have seen the misdemeanours of his players, when actually, it is his way of maintaining his loyalty in public.

Even when the opportunities arose to castigate Patrick Vieira after a stream of red cards and spitting at Neil Ruddock; when Sol Campbell walked out after a terrible first half against West Ham; when players have bottled it or not been good enough; Wenger refuses to do anything but back his team and look for the positives.

It was no surprise that he would not take Saturday’s post-match press conference as an opportunity to explain what had happened during the week in respect to William Gallas.

The former captain (even though even this demotion is yet o be officially confirmed) may not be a good leader. He may not be a great defender on the whole thesedays. He may not set a great example to the younger players when he is snapped smoking...

But Arsène Wenger removed him from the squad to show him that whatever goes wrong inside the club, icluding the dressing room bickering that happens everywhere, you keep it in-house.

As many have said, some of his comments about desire and attitude may well be true. But that is why the team hold training sessions away from public view - so things can be discussed in private.

For all the failings Gallas has shown since joining Arsenal, the one that ended Wenger’s patience was his disloyalty to his own players.

It’s not enough to suggest that the Frenchman thought the comments he was making were off the record – he’s old enough and experienced enough to know better than that.

I suspect we may well see him back in Arsenal colours tomorrow, because Europe is our only hope of salvation this season and if Saturday is anything to go by, that’s not going to last long.

But there is something else very wrong at Arsenal. While it’s unlikely that a club/business the size of Arsenal can admit that they are in dire straits, especially with investors looming to take advantage of any wavering in the resolve of the current board, it doesn’t bode well for season ticket sales with a recession hitting.

Wenger himself has had to show loyalty – and take the blame for things that are going wrong off the field.

The Highbury Square development is not reaping the dividends it was supposed to and the potentially-lucrative development of Queensland Road with its cinema, gym, restaurants and housing seems to be stalling.

Why has the club failed to appoint a new MD or CEO after such a long time? What can it be about the terms of the appointment or the working dynamic of the role that has stopped top level candidates coming forward? Isn’t it one of the best UK sports jobs currently available?

Why would Wenger let two defensive midfielders leave in the summer and not replace them with even one player at his peak in that position, with Alex Song as an apprentice understudy?

The truth is that Arsenal do not have a huge war chest for Wenger to spend and internally the club is not as united as the board would have us believe.

Wenger undoubtedly has his own internal battles to fight to raise funds – and takes the criticism on his own shoulders because, unlike Gallas, he knows what loyalty means, even if it comes at his own personal cost.