END OF SEASON REPORT CARD: Le Boss

Well, that's that then. Another season done and the only thing we have to look forward to in the next couple of months is the fixture list for the next Premier League campaign coming out: June 17 at 10am, for those of you who are Addicted as we are.

But with nothing but endless tittle tattle about who might be coming in and who might be departing the Arsenal, we thought to ourselves, what better a time to rate each of our first team players with an end of term report card.

So feel free to post your views on each of our players as we analyse their contribution in the past season - we'll be covering keepers, defenders, midfielders, strikers, coaching staff and the board of directors and major shareholders, so I reckon we'll catch everyone over the next few days.

Today it's the turn of the manager to be put in the spotlight:


Arséne Wenger
End of season mark: B

It wasn’t the greatest of seasons for Arsenal, I think most Gooners would agree.

Starting with the failure to buy necessary squad reinforcements in August which culminated in the slow start and five defeats in 14 games, the side was never going to recover.

Fourth place in the Premier League again makes us the most vulnerable to being overtaken by the likes of Manchester Citeh, Villa or even Portsmouth, given the huge investment two of them are expected to get during the summer.

But things are not all bad. A number of young players have shown real signs of development and the long unbeaten run Wenger talks about is a testament to our consistency, even if there were a number of consecutive draws in that run which had some of the natives getting restless.

But where in all this does Wenger rate?

I remain firmly of the belief that there was a huge amount of business going on last summer, only for agents or clubs to pull the plug for whatever reason in every instance.

You can argue that Wenger should have done more to push the club to sign his targets, but that disregards three things:

1 – Only in England do managers get so involved in the financial side of the game and even with a doctorate in economics, it was wise of Wenger to concentrate on what he had rather than spend the majority of his time negotiating deals that may or may not have happened anyway.

2 – It was a crazy situation for the club to exist without a Chief Executive, whose job it is, in some part, to make sure transfers are signed and sealed. Wenger did a lot to protect the club, as he always does, while at the same time it must have been tremendously frustrating not to have someone to support him and get the detail and negotiation of transfers done for him.

3 – There seems to be a lack of transfer funds at Arsenal, based on the fact that we are the only club in the world who has built a new stadium, particularly one housing 60,000, in the centre of a capital city. Being near Highbury is a masterstroke but that comes at a price. Wenger takes the criticism, protects the club and says he believes in his players, to build them up when in all fairness, he had no choice. Suggest, as he and many fans know, that some of them were not up to standard, and any chance they have of gaining the confidence needed to perform at the top level takes a serious battering.

A lot of Gooners would love him to change his ways a little.

Some would like him to spend some money like RedNose Fergie ( who, it must be said, has had his fair share of disasters...Kleberson...Bosnich...Veron). But he doesn’t have it.

Some would like him to be more reactive and tactical. At present, he plays mainly 451 with, it seems, the wrong people in the wrong positions – and only has 442 as an alternative. Say what you like about the dour football he played, but BigHead Mourinho did have a knack of being able to change games around before the 65th minute with his substitutions.

For me, the major mistake he made during the season was leaving Andrey Arshavin out of the starting line-up against Ch*vski, when his talent, as proved a few days later at Anfield, could have won us the silverware that we craved this season.

But it seems some Arsenal fans have short memories; some have no recollection of pre-Wenger years when mediocrity was the order of the day; some think we have a divine right to win trophies every season; some think we should gamble and push the boat out to buy the new players we require to make a real push for the title next season.

Wenger is no perfect – no one is.

But I remain convinced that in the economic climate we are currently in and with the club’s finances in a delicate position, there is no one better to lead Arsenal forward.

It will only be in years to come that Wenger’s legacy as the greatest Arsenal manager of all time may fully be realised.

In the meantime, letting him know how much we appreciate him and the team, so he doesn’t feel as if he is constantly ‘swimming against the stream’ is the least we can do as supporters:support.