My Loathe of Arsenal Fans

As an Arsenal fan, I love to get behind my team. When the team is winning, I’ll happily cheer. When the team is still looking to get ahead, I’ll urge them on. When the team is being played off the park by a far superior side, I’ll scream encouragement and take any positive sign as a victory.

The thing that I detest is how my fellow fans do not show the same commitment through thick and thin. The defeat to Bayern Munich last night only served to further my view that Arsenal fans are fickle.

Of course, this is not news to fans of many clubs, with the Arsenal fans being notoriously nicknamed the ‘Prawn Sandwich Brigade’, but many of us find it an unfair tag. The Emirates stadium is more often than not a graveyard, with little or no atmosphere. It is telling that away games bring our most vocal support.

Whilst watching the match on TV, I noticed that fans in the stadium were just sitting there looking dejected at this back-to-the-walls performance. What they clearly lacked was football knowledge. This Bayern side are my tip to become the next ‘best’ side in European football, and a 3-1 defeat may not be ideal, but it was an admirable performance, in the second half at least. It was definitely not a humiliation.

In general, the fans were magnificent throughout the game, which is not something said too often after an Arsenal home game. They deserve credit for pushing the team on after Podolski grabbed a goal to put them back in the tie, and it could have worked.

That there was boos at half-time was understandable, with very little spirit shown from the Gunners. However, boos at full-time were absurd. This side had thrown as much as they had and it was pure class from Bayern and a couple of mistakes that really cost Arsenal. The post match reaction was even worse.

Twitter was awash with self-proclaimed ‘Gooners’ saying that they were fed up with the way the club was run and that Wenger had lost the plot. Wenger was briefly trending, which shows how much of the talk ended up on him.

Effectively being knocked out of two competitions in four days is not ideal, particularly Saturday’s defeat to Blackburn which knocked us out of the FA Cup, but to say Wenger has lost the plot is premature. I called for him to either shape up or quit earlier on in the season, but he did fix a few issues so I am back to supporting his tenure.

If we could eradicate Arsenal FC of the petty ‘supporters’ who expect top results every match, the side would be much better off. Stoke, to name one side, have a great example of fans who will sing loud when they’re winning, but even louder when they’re losing. Only a truly abject display warrants a team to be hounded by its fans.

Oh Arsenal fans, please just show some passion!

When Will Wenger Vanish?

So, a couple of days after the humiliating Capital One Cup exit at the hands of League 2 outfit Bradford City, I have finally brought myself to write the post I never thought I would: Wenger needs to go!

I have been a massive fan of Wenger over the years and all the great things he has done for the Gunners, but this season has seen him fail once too many.

Insisting on playing Gervinho, despite his poor form since he arrived at the club, allowing the Walcott contract saga to run on with no signs of him putting pen to paper, a series of poor results against lesser teams, and now very little hope of a trophy or a Champions League spot this season. The man has gone mad.

Often, Wenger’s stubbornness and other faults have been overlooked by his ability to bring the best out of a limited side and guarantee Champions League football, however it looks unlikely to happen again this season. The board needs a re-haul and, for the first time since interest was made, I would actually welcome Stan Kroenke taking over the club. He may actually bring some business sense (of not allowing your most valuable assets to leave for nothing) and he could revitalise a crumbling club.

The once-feared Arsenal team is now the laughing stock of English football and the fall from grace since 2004’s ‘Invincibles’ has been remarkable.

In the past I have written an article on why to stand by Wenger in tougher times, but he has lost my confidence with ridiculously stupid decisions. Bringing on a defensive midfielder for a striker when drawing against a team we expect to be beating, not reinforcing striking options and even his outdated contract policy.

The fact that a strong team lost on penalties to a League 2 team in our best prospect of a trophy shows that the dressing room has lost confidence too. Steve Bould looks to have helped our defence, so I’d like to see him be given another chance with someone else, but Wenger has now just got to leave.

Players now see this club as a stepping stone to better clubs, not as a side they can spend the entirety of their careers with. Many players have come, but more have left, and although the financial increase is helpful, how does that get repaid to the fans? It doesn’t, because the purse-strings seem to get tighter with each passing year. It is no secret that Spurs are looking a better prospect for many of our top targets now, which was unthinkable just 3 years ago.

A lot of this can be blamed on the current board (such as Gazidis), but if Wenger really wanted to further the club, he’d give an ultimatum demanding that he be given funds to compete for transfers with the top teams, or at the very least Spurs and Liverpool, which is not currently the case.

Arsene Wenger: it’s been nice to have you, but please go before you bring this club down with you into a pit of traditionalism and stubbornness  which is clearly not the way football works any more.

Could Arsenal benefit from a 3-2-3-2 formation?

Arsenal have been suffering lately due to being caught with too few competent tacklers at the back when it matters, and often lacking that extra man in the opposition box when it has been desperately needed. The solution? That 3-2-3-2 formation (pictured) that Liverpool tried in recent years (with mixed success).

3-2-3-2 formation

Liverpool’s undoing in that formation came because the midfield did not work hard enough to track back, so if Wenger and Bould can get Arsenal doing it right, they might have the correct players to make it a success.

In goal, Szczesny, and our other ‘keepers, have been left exposed by our full-backs being too attack-minded. They are effectively two additional midfielders, so why not push them further up the pitch and add an extra defender, now that the loss of defensive units has been made clearer?

With Szczesny in goal, Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny look a very solid partnership together, with Vermaelen pushing out left when necessary and Koscielny being the right-sided centre-back. Mertesacker, being the strongest of the three could excel against battering ram centre forwards, whilst relying on help from the other two to deal with quick strikers.

Santos or Gibbs can be frightening when running down the wing or linking up with a winger, as can Sagna, whilst it can do no harm to see them tracking the opposition and helping the three centrebacks. As wing-backs, their defensive workload is adjusted to suit their questionable defensive qualities, yet it could see them reach their potential as wide players.

The three in the middle could consist of Gervinho, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski or Oxlade-Chamberlain. This part of the formation could differ slightly to Liverpool’s, with the 3 being top-heavy and two attacking midfielders with a more rounded one, or it could stay the same and use two rounded midfielders and just one attacking midfielder. In any case, the trio would have to be prepared to track back and forward, whilst also attending to wing duties in support of the full-backs, although one striker may also help out with this.

The two strikers is a part of the formation that can please everyone. Wenger gets his choice of Giroud, who has been improving stadily since he joined, whilst the fans can finally get their choice alongside him- Theo Walcott. Walcott can become a happier man in his favoured position, and it is no secret that he isn’t quite the target-man or all-rounder needed for a lone-striker, so Giroud could provide a perfect strike partner.

Of course, if Wenger were to opt for a midfield three that used just one attacking midfielder, Walcott may be urged to play just behind Giroud, or vice-versa. This formation is very malleable, which is to Wenger’s liking, much like 4-5-1. It would take a lot of work, but the risk could be worth the reward if the players can get it spot on.

Theo Walcott – Is Arsene Wenger The Only Man To Not See His True Value?

Theo Walcott has been much maligned for performances over previous seasons. He has reached levels of inconsistency that only Dimitar Berbatov can top at times, however recently the tide has turned.

The England winger has been in goalscoring form, despite not even starting a few games. Even his crossing looks to be getting better, alongside his improved consistency, which leads us to the question: why won’t Wenger give in to his demands for a better contract?

With just 7 months remaining on his current deal, Arsenal need to act fast. The money is available, unless Ivan Gazidis (known as Ivan the Terrible, to anyone who follows Piers Morgan on Twitter) has managed to convince Wenger to lie about the funds he has, so there can’t be any excuses.

Walcott also wants to be starting more games for the Gunners, which is a reasonable expectation, given his form at the moment. Wenger still appears to not have realised that his attack seriously lacks in games that the exciting forward is not included in.

Furthermore, a player with the ability and confidence to run at defenders is something Arsenal have seemed to miss in their strikers in recent years and, with Walcott’s improved finishing and composure, why can’t he get his desired spot as the striker in this team?

Walcott has insisted he doesn’t mind fitting in where the team needs him, however he is clearly best utilised as a striker. This has been noted by many, including his former coach at Southampton.

The real issue with this all is the contract ‘dispute’. There is no point in Wenger not giving the team’s most improved player (alongside Per Mertesacker) a new contract and allowing him to leave for free this summer.

That would clearly be counter-productive to the team and it would do nothing to halt the accusations that Arsenal are starting to accept their place as a selling club, with little aspirations to win trophies.

Add to this that Walcott would most likely join a club in England if he were to leave, an it is a bigger setback than Arsene may think.

Walcott has also become a fan favourite, despite his previous inconsistencies, because of his honesty and hard working ethic. The club would be losing an asset to the team, not just on the pitch, if they were to lose the forward.

The manager can’t keep his pursestrings tight when spending, yet allow a £9m (plus add-ons) investment, who has been nurtured into the ‘Arsenal way’, just leave on a free because he couldn’t justify a perfectly justifiable salary increase.

Yes, Wenger, you must be the only man not to see Walcott’s true value to Arsenal football club.