Do you have to be mad to still support Arsene Wenger??

By Avenell Dave

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So are rose-tinted spectacles.

There was a cruel inevitability to Mikel Arteta's penalty miss - he should not have been allowed to take it with Santi Cazorla ripping the ball from him, but at the same time, as vice captain, I can understand why his wishes were folllowed.

If you follow Arsenal debate on Twitter, you would believe that Arsenal only came into existence in 1996 when Arsene Wenger arrived.

And you would forget the years we had when we were miles off the title winners even if we finished second. And that was before the Sheikhs and the Oligarchs started to inflate the market.

Others are talking about the importance of a strong CEO alongside Wenger, such as David Dein during whose reign, we were winning trophies.

But football ahs moved on. Apart from the billionaires, players have started to assert more control on their own destinies than they did in the past.

Even during Dein's reign, C@$hley Cole broke ranks and eventually left because he was insulted the club was trying to negotiate a deal rather than offer him mega bucks as an opening offer.

Would Dein be so much more effective now than Ivan Gazidis? 

I don't think so and that is not because I rate Gazidis highly or Dein less so but because football has become a sport of mercenaries. 

Players for life are as rare as hen's teeth and money talks.

So is it Wenger's fault that we have ahd our worst start for 30 years? 

Of course the manager has to take some blame.

I'd love to see us move to man for man marking again, which would hopefully help to cut out the frankly unforgiveable static excuse for defending we witnessed on Saturday, particularly for the first Fulham goal.

You have to sympathise with Wenger, though, that one of his centre backs is suffering the worst form of his life while one full back has missed most of our recent matches and the other is just coming back after a second leg break in a year.

Add to that a goalkeeper who is simply not good enough and a first choice who has hardly featured and it would be hard for anyone without limitless funds for cash-hungry superstar reserves to do anything about it.

Whether too much faith was placed on the fitness of Abou Diaby in the summer or not, the absence of our perma-crock has certainly had an impact on our midfield effectiveness.

I know people who wrote off Olivier Giroud after half a dozen games and disagreed with my assessment that he would come good.

Four goals in as many games suggests he's not doing too badly, especially with the assists thrown in. He won virtually everything in the air on Saturday and made a real menace of himself.

He may not be or ever be as effective as RvP but given that we got hardly anything from the Dutchman for six and a half of his eight year stay, I wouldn't be surprised if he proves to be just as decent a signing in the long run.  

Wenger signed Giroud and Cazorla and Podolski and while some of them have only performed in fits and starts, I still believe that what we're really missing now is some fresh legs.

A lot of being asked of Aaron Ramsey when players like Diaby and Rosicky coming off the bench would perhaps bring more experience, and who knows whether it's down to Wenger refusing to give up on them (which I wanted him to do with RvP and look how that turned out 18 months ago) or just the inability to sign replacements until they're off the books?

Whatever is going wrong at Arsenal, it could be a lot worse.

I still have faith that the core of the team, when fit, are a match for anyone and that we will turn things around once we get players fit and some confidence back.

Those who think I am mad are entitled to their view.

I don;t think Wenger is perfect but I do wonder who under the financial constraints we work with, anyone else could do much more.