Arsène Wenger is an intelligent man.
I have interviewed him a number of times and whether you’re talking tactics or science, injuries or global politics, nothing fazes him and there is nothing he cannot answer.
Wenger has given us some glorious times as Arsenal manager and sadly, there are many out there who do not believe the legacy he has created is worthy of loyalty now that things are going comparatively badly.
If we win on Sunday, and it’s a big if, we will be right back in the title hunt, even though the dropping of two points against Middlesbrough is something that left most of us frustrated when we could have clawed back some ground.
In the summer, Wenger talked about bringing in ‘super class’ players and I suspect, while he is too dignified to feel the need to defend himself, most of those he sought were priced out of his budget....
We can discount Gareth Barry, who I believe he only monitored as a player Liverpool had to sign before selling Xabi Alonso, Inler, Toure Jnr to name but a few.
I fully agree with Wenger’s assertions that we have a great crop of players, even if the absence of key personnel mean some of them are learning the hard way and having to play out of position.
While they have not performed well consistently, I still think Abou Diaby and Denilson have a future at the club, although I am less certain about Nic Bendtner and Alex Song.
With Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott on the wings, Manu Adebayor and Eduardo upfront and SOMEONE supporting Cesc Fabregas in midfield, we could start dominating teams as we did Boro for a short period after we had scored. Having someone to prtect the defence and break up opposition attacks is the gaping hole missing from our side. Song just does not assert himself.
Wenger’s team is all about confidence and that is something we are short of. He is right when he says the team is ‘swimming against the stream’ at the moment because us fans are not convinced by the way they are fitting together at present.
But listening to the webchat that Wenger conducted yesterday, a few things made me raise my eyebrows.
I’m not going to make any comments about what he said. Suffice it to say that I don’t totally agree with everything he says.
Wenger said: “I believe that this team is not very far and can get there (to the same level of the 2004 team). We need to show we can respond to the expectation of our fans. At the moment we don’t feel that around the team there is the same belief as we have inside and we can understand that because we lost some games we should not have lost. We have a few months in front of us to show we are right to believe in our strength and that we can be compared to the teams such as 2004 and maybe even be stronger.
“The belief I have in this team is not shared by people who love this club and that is why I work very hard to convince everybody to show we have the ambition, the motivation and quality to achieve that. I feel at home we have played a bit with the handbrake because we have not the same freedom we had before and we want to get that back. At the moment I want to develop the team we have because I feel when you look at our players, most of them are under 21 and there is a lot to come from them. If we can make something special (in transfer market), we will do it but at the moment I have not seen anything special that can really convince us that we will be much stronger. But you never know.
“Sometimes a player can give an extra belief to the squad and we cannot reject it but we cannot say it will be done. We have a policy that we will respect. The solution is not that we just go out and buy because you will destroy everything we have built until now. We want our fans to be behind us and give that something special that the team needs when they have not won yet.”
I hope Arsene knows, I really do.