Has 'failure' Wenger silenced his critics?

By Avenell Dave

There are lots of acronyms and labels applied to all sorts of people in life, football fans in particular.

I'm sure if a lot of you Addicts read this blog on a regular basis, you'd probably label me as an AKB (Arsene Knows Best).

I make no apology for being a big fan of him, but then again, I'm a big fan of Arsenal and unlike other areas of my life, I try and always see the positive in events around the club.

I remember how tricky things have been for Arsenal in the past, before the days where expectation levels were raised so high that some felt we had a right to trophies regardless of the increased investment culture of rivals.

Of course when we lose games sloppily, blow a chance to win a trophy or fail to sign players, I share the same frustrations as anyone else.

But I've met Arsene Wenger a few times with my professional hat on and my knowledge of the sports world means that I understand how increasingly complex transfer deals have become.

I'd love to see Arsenal spend more money and bolster the glaring gaps in our squad, but it is what it is and no amount of keyboard criticism on social media is going to change a thing.

I met my usual gang of Arsenal fans and some Scousers before yesterday's game and all of us feared the worst when we saw the line-ups.

Let's make no bones about it, the team selection was a huge gamble by Wenger.

Yes, he kept his core midfield and central defence but everywhere else there were changes and uncertainties.

Would Lukasz Fabianski fluff his lines again and drop a clanger? Would Yaya Sanogo last more than a few minutes and cope in the intensity of a massive game? Would the full-backs be able to handle the pace of Sterling and Coutinho?

The decision to make so many changes seemed even more bizarre given the prospect of playing one of the two best sides in Europe later this week.

Did Wenger really believe that by resting a few players, it would give us anything more of a fighting chance of beating Bayern?

And that is why Wenger is manager and I'm not.

Yes, there are numerous examples of him making wholesale FA Cup changes and us limping out but perhaps the demolition at Anfield last week actually focused our minds a little more.

Sanogo, in particular, caught my eye. Ungainly, prone to air shots and not always holding onto the ball effectively would be one assessment of his display. (overheard on train back)

But for me, particularly given that it was his first game, he was excellent. He contributed to the first goal, he had pace and made a nuisance of himself.

It was not the performance of a teenager making his debut and being out of his depth.

The full backs both did well, Flamini and Arteta stifled in midfield and prompted Brendan Rodgers to bring on Jordan Henderson to try and redress the midfield balance.

There was plenty of talk afterwards about penalties, red cards and other controversies. Certainly from where I was sitting, Santi Cazorla had a case for a penalty and Steve Gerrard should have been sent off.

Did Liverpool deserve a second penalty? Probably. But we rarely seem to get the breaks so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

All that matters now though is that we are in the next round of the FA Cup and have a home tie against Everton to look forward to.

Wenger will have to win a fair few trophies if he is going to silence those who still think he is a failure or that his best days are not behind him. I for one am proud of what he has done, even when under financial constraints.

He isn't perfect and we needed some luck to win that game yesterday. Let's hope we haven't used it all up with so much to play for this season.

And thank you Jose Mourinho. Your classless comments were all the team talk the players needed.

Arsene, your response to such ridiculous claims was perfect.