The most divided fanbase is unquestionably Arsenal. For once though, i’m not entirely sure why? At the beginning of the season, in the transfer window we bought exactly what the Wenger Out fans have been screaming for. A strong CDM (Xhaka) who wasn’t cheap (Wenger Out fans cry about Arsene not spending), a world class CB (Mustafi) who wasn’t cheap either and finally a Striker (Lucas Perez) who even though he hasn’t featured much, has shown every time he’s on the pitch that he was worth every penny. Now to me, Arsene answered all the critics in this respect, by ‘splashing the cash’ and buying in every position that needed strengthening. I genuinely thought we had a chance to fight for all the trophies going this season and as a fan you have to believe that, otherwise you aren’t truly supporting your team. After a disappointing first game of the season, we then went 17/18 games unbeaten (I think). We then lost back to back games. Firstly, against Ronald Koeman’s Everton, who were well organised and every manager has a bogey manager, Koeman is Wenger’s as everyone knows. We then went away to City who have according to some, the best manager in world football and we only lost 2-1, away from home. Following that we went unbeaten in UCL group stage, even against PSG who have just showed Barcelona up.
Currently we are off the pace by 10 points in the league, which yes is an issue but it’s definitely not over. Bearing in mind we beat Chelsea and they beat us cancelling each other out, so nothing was lost at Stamford bridge which I think fans are forgetting. I understand that to win the league you have to beat the big teams, I don’t believe in excuses but Bellerin was knocked out, if that goal doesn’t go in then what might have happened you never know, the complexion of the game would have been completely different. Admittedly, Chelsea are good at home and we would have been lucky to get a win but to think we couldn’t have got at least a draw is disrespectful to our players.
We are still in a winnable FA Cup. The media are trying to downplay Arsenal’s chances and angling for a giant killing, especially in the wake of the defeat at Bayern but why are people stacking up the pressure against one of the most successful managers in the FA Cup full stop? Yes Sutton have home advantage and a shitty 3G pitch, poor facilities and low ticket allocation for away fans. Yet we will put out a 80% strength squad, probably close to the team that smashed Southampton 5-0. I have noticed so much non-news recently in regards to Arsenal and Arsene, it’s almost like the media is out to get us constantly and will make a story out of nothing.
Now in regards to the question that is floating around at the moment, should Arsene go? This poses a very difficult question for me being a Wenger In fan. In short I don’t think he should leave. Not right now, I think he should go at the end of next season. There are so many different factors involved to make a snap decision like the media and Wenger Out fans want. It’s reactionary and unnecessary, especially when it all hinged on a single game. I hear and understand fans frustrations, i’m a fan too. But do you really think destabilising the club at a time like this will help in any way? If anything we need to be together at the moment with important run ins coming up, the only thing that matters at the moment is a full stadium and to get behind the players so that we get back to winning ways.
The way it needs to go is at the end of the season Arsene Wenger sits down with the board and sets out a plan of devolution. It’s not as simple to just bring in a new manager. Arsene basically runs so many different bits of the club, a new manager coming in can’t take over every single aspect of his job as he’s been there for so long, there needs to be a transition period where Arsene slowly delegates his many jobs to other people. Get the right people in place to run the club so that he can purely focus on his final season as just a manager. Then at the end of the season hand over the reigns to another manager with the club in the best possible shape so the new managers job is easier and can take the club onto the next level. As I believe the end goal is for Arsenal to become a Supergiant, it has to be the long term goal. They wouldn’t have put so much effort, time and money into creating Arsenal the brand. We have a huge stadium, the 7th highest revenue in the world, one of the biggest fanbases in the world and a team capable of getting into the UCL every year. The only place left to go is get another world class manager, buy world class players in every position and go for the Champions League, not just once but prolonged success. That is the business model I believe they will aim for.
This takes me onto the next part, who could come in and make that transition work? Me personally, don’t laugh but on a 3 year contract I think we should go for Mancini. The simple reason why is that he 1. Has Premier League experience and has won it. 2. Has some Champions League experience. 3. Knows what it takes to juggle the two (most foreign managers can’t grasp the winter period e.g Pep & Klopp) 4. Has a great win percentage and record. 5. Plays an attractive style of football (which is imperative to appease fans). Now I know no one will share my view so let’s assess the other options out there.
- Diego Simeone – The logical choice. Fighting off Real & Barcelona every year takes a lot, especially when they won La Liga. Sustained attacks in Europe, winning Europa League and getting to the final of UCL twice in 3 years, an amazing win percentage and also has a backbone and wouldn’t think twice about shaking the team up with some emotion. The downsides – He has no experience of the Premier League, a poor defensive style of play that i’m not sure that fans will trade attractive football for trophies (winning ugly), there’s only so many times you can shout at players to provoke a response. If we were to get him I believe it should only be on a three year contract.
- Thomas Tuchel – This is a strange one for me, he’s come out as favourite pretty much and I can’t see why? Sure he’s manager of a big club like Dortmund, he’s got them scoring but if you couldn’t get Reus & Aubameyang to score then you shouldn’t be a manager! He’s not excatly setting the Bundesliga on fire and hasn’t even won half of his games. He got to the Quarters of the Europa League and is through to the Last 16 of UCL this year. He had one good season last year and has a different approach to tactics which are his only good traits.
- Joachim Low – He plays amazing football with the German national team, he’s got a good win percentage overall, however if you look at his domestic record it’s not amazing, he won the Austrian League the same year as our Invincibles and took Stuttgart to 4th twice in the late 90s. Yes he’s won the World Cup but it’s a different ball game (excuse the pun) in the leagues. This would be a massive gamble plus he likes smelling his own balls!
- Eddie Howe – I understand this one, yet it won’t work. He gets the most out of Bournemouth because of the structure in place at the club and he runs the club with 4 or 5 ex-players as his backroom staff. He plays some attractive football and has achieved well whilst having restraints in regards to players. Yes he’s English and it would be good to see an Englishman in a top job in England! I’m all for giving opportunities but you should get in on merit and Eddie’s record doesn’t speak for itself.
- Max Allegri – He’s had it so easy, he inherited an AC Milan team he did well with and then took over Juventus with unlimited amounts of money, he’s won 3 league titles in his time in management but his style of football is dull running a 3-5-2 system. He’s been through to the Last 16 in UCL just as many times as Wenger, even though he reached the Final his first season with Juventus. The club would be much the same under Allegri and wouldn’t be seen as making a step forward.
- Leonardo Jardim – Only in his early 40s, he’s travelled around a bit, though he’s got a good point percentage overall and plays quite nice football, his European record isn’t amazing. Although saying that I reckon with the structure and resources that Arsenal will have in place, he could excel. Probably my my 2nd or 3rd choice, it wouldn’t be a bad move for Arsenal.
- Roger Schmidt – Finally, low down on the list with having only won an Austrian Title and Austrian Cup. Stable Top 4 finishes with Leverkusen and through to the Last 16 2 out of 3 seasons, not exactly the profile of someone a club of Arsenal’s stature should be looking at in my honest opinion, yet he’s been ‘shortlisted’ or linked with the club so I included him.
Whatever the outcome at the end of the season whether he stays or goes, no manager that comes in should be expected to create instant success and should be given time to adapt and build their own squad. We should all be patient and give anyone the time to progress. I’m in two minds as to whether Arsene should stay at the club in the background as sometimes it can be a distraction, as the new manager is always compared to the outgoing manager and doesn’t help if he’s still around (e.g Ferguson). Ideally if he does stay, i’d like him to become director of football and oversee the youth academy as his true talent lies in developing young players and making them ready for the first team.
Thank you for reading!