What does Arsene do now?

By Avenell Dave

It's rare that I come away from a game feeling Arsenal have been so comprehensively outplayed and deserved not to win the game.

I've seen us torn apart in the past of course, but often it is about the opposition being more clinicial, having the rub of the green or the referee having a one sided day but while we could well have come away with a draw against Swansea, defeat, in truth, was about right.

Swansea came with purpose and energy and played us of the park at our own game and that has to be a concern, particularly when their side was assembled for so little compared to ours.

Much abuse is levelled at the current hate figures, names Andre Santos and Aaron Ramsey, but neither played on Saturday and you could argue that the Welshman would have been a far wiser replacement later on than Tomas Rosicky, whose introduction to this season was a massive managerial mistake.

Whatever you think of Ramsey, he makes things happen, particularly late on in games and Arsene Wenger's decision to bring on Rosicky, who was so far off the pace and whose flicks did nothing to help us, was entirely misguided.

But before Rosicky's arrival - and I am not for one minute blaming him for the defeat which was purely a team effort - our best player was Wojciech Szczesny and while the keeper did well, we should not be so outplayed by a club such as Swansea. Especially not at home.

No one knows what is going on at Arsenal.

We've heard reports this morning of Steve Bould laying into the team but what actually needs to happen is for the senior players to take action, start taking responsibility and get a balance between giving the youngsters the hairdryer treatment and at the same time not causing any resentment that may threaten whatever is left of team spirit.

Tony Adams got it right and you could argue that we haven't really had a captain like him since - a warrior who put the team before anything else.

We've had hints of late that Wenger was made aware of the constraints he would be under due to funding and repaying the debts - which makes the Board's proclamations that the manager had £70m to spend particularly disingenuous.

Did Wenger stay because he has more influence or power at Arsenal or because he loves the club? I suspect it is a bit of both and anyone who thinks money is his motivation is way wide of the mark.

We have two meaningless midweek games coming up now - the dead rubber in the Champions League and the Capital One Cup quarter final against Bradford which we should be able to win with a fringe squad.

So it's vital that, with talk of fatigue from the manager being one of the causes of the defeat, he rests as many players as possible.

I don't know whether it's permitted or will incur more wrath from UEFA, but I would like to see Steve Bould take a reserve team out to Greece to allow the first team time to rest and go through some passing drills with the manager.

We're not moving the ball with the pace and determination that catches teams off guard and we need to address that quickly.

Has Wenger lost the dressing room or lost his touch?

There are many who will think both.

My feeling is that a combination of poor signings and injuries have left him without enough quality, but given his budget, did he have any choice?

We can all lament not signing players like Michu but when the media are calling him the signing of the decade, it underlines how rare such undiscovered gems really are.

I've heard that Wenger is given £10m plus whatever he makes in sales, which, given the depreciation value on some players, is hardly a huge sum in this day and age when you add salaries into the equation.

We can all lament the indifference of Gervinho but Lukas Podolski was anonymous against Swansea and Mikel Arteta poor again. We know these players are capable of much better.

He needs to get rid of the Chamakhs, the Arshavins and, dare I say it, the Diabys and bring in quality that can make a difference.

We have few match winners and this is a challenging time for all of us. 

I keep coming back to the same question, though - if Wenger is fired as so many seem to want, who could come in and make a positive difference?

It's all very well saying Pep Guardiola but he has been used to having the best generation of young players and a huge transfer budget - and he won't go anywhere before the summer.

I still believe Wenger is the man for the job, but his Rosicky gamble didn't work and he knows better than anyone that the need to turn it around becomes ever more presing with each disappointing result.

* A word for Peter Hill-Wood. The Arsenal chairman was not exactly respectful towards the fans at the recent AGM but his family have been a part of The Arsenal for decades. Everyone at Arsenal Addict wishes him well in his recovery from a heart attack.