Bit of a provocative blog title today, I know, but it’s something I’ve been thinking of for a while since the Emery appointment was announced.
We’ve spent years being led to believe that it’s Arsène’s laissez-faire attitude to team structure, to specific and detailed instructions, that have been an issue for these players. We knew that he was a man who preferred to trust on the intelligence of footballers to ‘work it out’ themselves when there were instances on the pitch that required tactical shifts in approach to play.
We knew that this approach to Football had become dated and as a result the man who once could do no wrong in the eyes of us supporters, looked a lost figure, a dated relic of a time long past. Like woodchip walls, VHS tapes and an Atari.
And I’ve heard so many Arsenal fans talk about some of the qualities of our players. About how they’re not playing to their full potential, they’re regressing, they needed change more than anybody else.
And now we have it. But I can’t help but wonder whether it was in fact Arsène holding some of these players back with his approach to games, or whether it was in fact some of the players that we have that have been the issue.
Perhaps, just perhaps, some of them aren’t as good as we think they are. Maybe some of them are just simply not built for the Premier League, where as others just don’t have the mentality for its ‘blood and thunder’ approach?
Let me be clear on Wenger for a second though, because he is equally culpable either way, I’m afraid to say. Because if it was his approach to modern day football that was holding the players back, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief that these players will step up and hopefully we’ll be more competitive more quickly. As football fans we want to see The Arsenal back up the top as quickly as possible and if it was that the players just needed a fresh voice and more emphasis on overcoming our weaknesses, then happy days.
But if these players really aren’t good enough then again you have to look at Wenger as the main man that brought these players in. We all know that Wenger was judge, jury and executioner on a player and their subsequent Arsenal career and unlike every newly elected Politician, he can’t after 22 years blame it on the previous incumbent.
These were his players. He sanctioned every one of their rise into the first team or purchase from another and if we see that actually their poor performances were not down to tactical deficiencies on the part of the manager…well…that’s all the more worrying in my book.
It’s more worrying because it means that the road to glory is longer, more expensive, plus has a greater propensity for failure. The risk is greater and it will mean more years of transition than I think we were all hoping for.
The new season brings with it more excitement than anything else in my mind. But by the beginning of November I think the answer to my question will be presenting itself. As a result we’ll also know just how much more work is needed to make Arsenal one of the best again.