After the Blackburn debacle, where now for Arsene Wenger?

By Avenell Dave

I'll state from the off, I am not against Arsene Wenger.

I don't want him sacked, I don't subscribe to the theory that the club is happy with mediocrity and I don't think anyone is hurting more than Le Boss as we reflect on the disastrous start to the season we have had.

We can talk until we're blue in the face about why the big sales didn't take place sooner.

We can speculate all we like about the reasons why we didn't make signings until deadline day.

We can lament the fact that too many players are getting injured and wonder why.

We can complain that the new owner of OUR club hasn't had the courtesy to speak to the fans as he should do on a regular basis, particularly in the current situation.

The hard fact is that we have three wins from the last 16 Premier League games and that is not acceptable.

It isn't down to Cesc Fabregas leaving the club, or Samir Nasri for that matter.

As manager of our club, Arsene Wenger has to take ultimate responsibility and yet I find myself asking what has happened to get us in this position?

Yes, it can be argued that we haven't always replaced quality with quality.

I recall plenty of criticism when Patrick Vieira was sold and his place taken by Cesc and while the Spaniard is 'super class', we lacked a dominant figure in midfield to keep things together in the way that Paddy did.

We can look at how Sol Campbell and Martin Keown were not suitably replaced, how William Gallas flattered to deceive and how Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny have struggled with injuries and concentration respectively.

Who would have predicted that Thierry henry's replacement Eduardo, who was starting to look like a goal machine, would get his ankle snapped so dramatically and that the mental scars would cut too deep to enjoy a return to form in Arsenal colours?

There is no point in ifs and buts, not even looking back at the first five games this season.

What if Alex Song had not stamped on a Newcastle player and had been more assertive on Sunday when the ball fell at his feet in his own area?

What if Gervinho hadn't retaliated at Newcastle and used his indisputable skill to put RvP through at Ewood Park for what may have extended our lead?

What if RvP gets injured and we have to rely on Chamakh or Park to lead the line with no world class striker to replace our injury-prone captain?

My point is simple. There are too many variables in football and it's hard to legislate for them all.

Certainly in the case of Koscielny, a player who excelled against Barcelona and yet was so poor against Birmingham at Wembley and then again at the weekend against blackburn, it's hard to see how he can improve his focus to ensure he is reliable and brutal in his defending.

Why is everyone turning on Per Mertesacker, who, apart from missing a header at the end, had nothing to do with the goals we conceded?

No one will be hurting more than Arsene Wenger this morning and we all share his pain.

So many of you reading this will recall nothing other than the Frenchman's era when we dominated the game and competed for trophies every season.

I remember the years of George Graham, Don Howe, Terry Neill and the last years of Bertie Mee when mid table mediocrity and a cup run was the best we can hope for.

Times change. Ticket prices are astronomical and we all expect to be competing at the top table and we were told that the new stadium would help make us competitive when the reality appears to be to the contrary.

Should Martin Keown be brought in to drill the defence? Absolutely.

Should every player be shown some videos of former eras to see how easy they have it and what it means to play for the Arsenal? Certainly.

Should Arsene Wenger be sacked or should we continue to have faith in a man who has put us at the top table for a longer period than anyone else in our history?

If you don't think so, that is your right, but I promise you, however hard this is on all of us, now is not the time for panic or despair.