Tag Archive | "Arsene Wenger"

Answer To Arsenal FC Problems Not To Sack Arsene Wenger

Has the time come for Arsenal Football Club to sack Arsene Wenger? Many feel as though the time might be here for a change of the guard at Arsenal, but we are here to issue a warning to all of the Gunners out there: To fire Arsene Wenger would be a huge mistake.

Wenger has had himself a fantastic career with the Gunners, including running through a complete undefeated season in the Premier League table, something that had only happened one time since 1889. Of course, that year was a remarkable season with names like Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, and Jens Lehman.

Alas, right away, we might be finding a part of the problem. The first three names that we listed all have one thing in common: They’re all French, just like Wenger. France’s soccer team, after finishing as a runner up in the 2006 World Cup, only qualified for the 2010 World Cup thanks to an Henry handball in the box to score a goal against Ireland, and even then, it was knocked out of the World Cup after going 0-1-2 in the group stage in South Africa.

Simply put, once the likes of Vieira, Pires, and Henry got too old to be able to be dominating on the international scene, so too went the chances of Arsenal truly being a competitive side in the Premier League.

This isn’t like what happened with Liverpool over the course of the last few seasons. That last positive thing that we heard from former skipper Rafael Benitez was winning the Championship League, including winning that epic 3-3 match in penalties against AC Milan in the finale. However, since that point, Benitez has been fired, and the Reds haven’t finished better than third in the Premier League, and they have slipped to fifth and sixth place finishes in the EPL since that point.

The simple fact is that the Gunners just don’t have the same type of backing right now that teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City have, and, just like baseball in the United States, the teams with the big bucks are often going to outclass the teams that just don’t have enough money to bring to the table. Teams like Barcelona, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Juventes… all of these giants on the European soccer scene are throwing money at footballers faster than the rest of the teams are catching up. Heck, we just had a Russian side sign Samuel Eto’o to the richest deal a soccer player has received in the history of the sport.

As of last April, the Sporting Intelligence ran an average weekly pay for teams across the global in all sports. The only Premier League team on the list was Chelsea at No. 6, paying out over $115,000 per week in wages to its footballers. Barcelona and Real Madrid both spent over $150,000 per week. Arsenal was still in the Top 30 worldwide, but one would have to assume, though the numbers haven’t been run since the transfer window, that losing Cesc Fabregas took the Gunners outside of the Top 30, a place where Chelsea, Man City, Man U, and Liverpool all are.

When Wenger started with Arsenal, he didn’t have a whole heck of a lot to work with. He was the first manager from outside of the UK to head up this team, and he has since won three Premier League crowns and finished as the runner up five other times. He has a runner up finish in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup, and he was the Community Shield winner in 2003 and 2005, as well as the FA Cup winner in 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2005 (and runner up in 2001).

Wenger has built Arsenal from a team that was on the fringe of not being a relevant side in English football to one that commanded respect. Now, he faces a totally different challenge with a relatively dwindling budget and a side that has a ton more injuries than it does European caliber bodies. In time, the Gunners will figure this out. Will they finish in the Top 5 in the Premier League table this year? Probably not. But will they end up staving off relegation and rebuilding again for the future? That’s what Wenger did when he came to North London, and that’s what he will do again.

Posted in English Premier League, Featured

Wenger Suspended: Champions League Preview – Arsenal vs. Udinese

Arsene Wenger has had a great history with Arsenal in his career. He has been with the club for 15 seasons, leading it to three Premier League crowns, including an unheralded undefeated season in 2003-2004. He also has four FA Cup titles to his credit, and he has been named Premier League Manager of the Year three times. However, with his team reeling thanks to a horrendous offseason, things are starting to look bleak at best for the Gunners.

Arsenal is still struggling just to get its place in the Champions League this year, something that it will now have to do without Wenger on the sidelines for the return leg in Italy against Udinese. Arsenal won the first leg 1-0 last week, but now, it knows that it could be some trouble and be forced into the Europa League with a bad result on the road on Wednesday.

Wenger was suspended by UEFA for the first leg of the Champions League qualification, but instead of adhering to the terms of the suspension, he stayed in communication with his assistant managers, drawing the ire of the European soccer officials. Now, not only has Wenger been suspended for the return match at Udinese, but he will also be sidelined for the first fixture in whatever European competition the Gunners end up playing in.

But perhaps there is a lot more for Wenger to worry about than this. His Arsenal side is looking at potentially an 0-1-2 start to the EPL campaign come this weekend as well. The Gunners were held to a scoreless draw at St. James Park against Newcastle with just 10 men at the death. Gervinho was sent off with just 14 minutes remaining thanks to a careless slap to Joey Barton. It was a ticky-tack red card, but the truth of the matter is that the Gunners should have produced more than just 11 shots, two of which found the target over the course of the 90 minutes.

Even worse came the signature game of the season to date, a 2-0 loss at Emirates Stadium against the hated Liverpool Reds. Liverpool came to town full of sound and fury, and though it was clearly supposed to be a side that was outclassed by the Gunners on paper, it definitely didn’t appear to be that way from start to finish.

So what really is wrong with Arsenal? For one, the team probably never really did get over the loss of Cesc Fabregas in the transfer season. Of course, the team will be boosted eventually by the returns of the like of Johan Djourou and Jack Wilshere, though none of these players are expected to be the ultimate panacea to the big problem at the Emirates.

Better is expected out of Robin Van Persie, arguably the club’s best offensive option at the moment. Theo Walcott, who opened up the season with a goal against Udinese in the opening leg of the Champions League playoff, hasn’t really been heard from in the Premier League as of yet.

Udinese has yet to take the pitch in the 2011-12 Italian Serie A campaign, though it did finish off the season with a great flurry of results, including a 2-0 win at Chievo and a scoreless draw at home against AC Milan. Captain Antonio Di Natale referred to this game as the biggest match in the history of Udinese.

The match on Wednesday is slated for 2:45 p.m. (ET) and will be played at Stadio Friuli.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

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