Sunday , 18 November 2018
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Cannon Fodder : Cross Roads


What is it that defines winners? Is it an abundance of talent? Is it the much talked about ‘siege mentality’ combined with a team’s solidarity? Or is it killer instinct?

Ask any successful manager and you’ll receive myriad responses….  the source of success is not easily defined and doesn’t possess a single concrete recipe, merely better and worse variations.

Its a search that Wenger would to do well to embark on… Seeing that his ‘Project Youth’ that started six long years ago is not really working out too well.  Atleast in terms of silverware. Numerous sections of the Arsenal populace would vehemently disagree, reasoning that club has achieved commercial success and managed to ‘survive’ (and thrive some would say) in the era of super-rich sugar daddies who seem to pump unseemly amounts of cash from their seemingly bottom-less coffers.  While it seems unfair that clubs are able to spend money that they clearly did not earn or even deserve, it’s a phenomenon that is here to stay. As Man city has recently shown the Financial Fair Play regulations are far from bullet-proof and can be easily circumvented, blaming the organisations that run the beautiful game is futile. Arsene Wenger can rage all he wants but, they just a set of rules and there will be numerous cretins who toe the line constantly in search of cash fuelled success.  It is a fact that he simply has to live with.

It’s not that Wenger’s master plan is flawed and has huge holes in it, merely a relatively small one that needs to plugged. His Youth programme is loosely based on the Barcelona model that has proved wildly successful and no one can fault the man for trying to implement the same at Arsenal. But there is one fact that Wenger has missed completely; in spite of the wealth of talent being spewed from ‘La Masia’ FCB has constantly bolstered their ranks with talent bought from other clubs, a blend of huge signings and ones marked under “For the future.” In case your scratching your head or are readying your keyboards to lambast me, take a second to think about it. Which team would have bought strikers into a squad that boasts of Leo Messi on its roster???!!!!! But they did knowing full well that Messi for all his talent and ability, he is but a man, prone to injuries and loss of form just like any sportsman in the world. So they went out and secured the services of David Villa, a world class striker himself. Take note that the key word is “talent” not ‘potential’, not “talent to be harness” or “raw ability” in other words an unfinished product. They went out and bought a proven striker even when they seemingly could have purchased a kid who could be developed by playing with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. THAT is managerial acumen! It shows ruthlessness and unwillingness to compromise and that has culminated in the formation of the invincible Catalan outfit. Down the line, the likes of Afalley, Sanchez and Alcantara were brought in, not finished products, but youngsters who while not entirely raw, will develop to take up the mettle and ensure FCB’s winning ways.

FACT: The last “Big name” signing that Arsenal made was Dennis Bergkamp.

Wenger has constantly shied away from dolling out the cash and it has worked amazingly well, with the likes of Henry, Fabregas and Nasri appearing from seemingly nowhere, making a tremendous impact and going on to become legends in their own right, not so much in the case of the final name, a greedy little c*** who now spends his time languishing on the bench in a star studded team that seems to have no room for him. Ironically, all three of the aforementioned players left due to lack of ambition and a chronic shortage of silverware, they may have fabricated a few verbal variations of the aforementioned reason but the crux of the issue doesn’t really change.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am NOT one of those garden variety Wenger-hating trolls who are to hell bent on berating the man completely ignoring all that he has done for the club. He is a great manager. That is not open to debate. Many other fans and I would really hate to see him leave the club. But he is fit to the manager in the present scenario? That question has a different answer entirely.   It feels as if Wenger’s entire existence is an anachronism. His strategy of buying young and raw talent and developing them all the while looking for a bargain buy is strategy that would have worked wonders a few decades ago but its result in this day and age are far from satisfactory. While he has kept the club out of the red (which can’t be said for any of the other clubs competing for CL spots) and in the top 4 for a considerable period, his chronic lack of the killer instinct is an almost constant thorn in many a side. He simply lacks the ruthlessness and the ability to drive his squad to push the limit, a quality that Alex Ferguson has exhibited over the years to ensure that almost constant flow of silverware into the club. Even this season the Scot has managed to keep his club near the top of the table in spite of a squad that boasts of the likes of Anderson & Phil Jones playing in the middle of the park at one point or other. The loss of their star defender (and war criminal) hasn’t seemed to faze the Mancunians at all. Wenger on the other hand is just not able to trim the fat off the squad and get it back to winning ways by cracking open that considerable war chest and making a few buys that could propel us to the top. Now, spending the moolah is not a sure-fire way to ensure a top 4 finish or silverware but its far better than rolling over and allowing our competitors to waltz past us into the Champions League. And for a club like Arsenal that runs strictly on its own means, it would spell inevitable disaster.

The meteoric rise of City and the Spurs has ensured that the business end of the season will be a dog fight where winner takes all and the losers will be left in the dust. With six teams vying for the coveted top-4 berth, a failure to rake in the money that Europe’s top competition brings with it will ensure that Arsenal will spiral downward and the club back in the following seasons will prove far too difficult for the existing squad to handle and this is assuming that not a single player leaves for more lucrative pay packages (HA!).

Brain farts and implosions that were common place in the seasons past will prove fatal. Far more disturbing were Van Persie’s statements at the start of the season that hinted that he would (reluctantly) look for greener pastures if the club failed to show “ambition”. In my book the word “ambition” could only be translated as activity in the transfer market and by that I DO NOT mean securing the services of some young whipper-snapper from an unknown team in Iceland, but bringing in players who are at their peak and are proven talents in the Premier League. Further what-the-fuckery during the transfer window will not go unpunished and losing our star striker is not a scenario we would want to be stuck in.  If Wenger fails us yet again, can we really hold a grudge against the Dutchman? Henry left for MORE cups, Persie wants at least one. Most will argue that he spent the better part of his career in the sick bay, but he is at the twilight of his career and has but a few years left for retirement. Why spent it in futility under a coach who is clearly blind or considers finance far more important than the club’s fans or its players? The man says he can’t find quality in the transfer market??!!!!!!!!!!

My only reaction is summed up by a four lettered expletive.

Maybe its time to step down…..Perhaps a nice relaxing job where he could put his talents to better use for the club. Commander-in-Chief of the army scouts maybe?


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About Varun Chand

Full time nothing doer and part-time Engineer (supposedly). I really hate the Arsenal and that's why I spend so much of time writing/talking/discussing/debating about them. I enjoy mocking YOU because it's fun.

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