This is my first time of writing a post, so please bear with me……
The press have hounded Arsene Wenger from the day he became manager back in 1996 and probably will do until he leaves Arsenal.
Things weren’t so bad when he first arrived as Arsenal and more importantly Arsene Wenger, proved all the “experts” wrong by proving his methods and style worked and by 2005, Arsenal had won 3 EPL titles, and 4 FA Cups. Two of those title winning seasons where Doubles, 1997-1998 and 2001-2002.
We also got to the final of the UFEA Cup in 2000 which we lost on penalties to Galatasaray, and to our only CL final in 2006 which we lost after conceding two goals in the final 13 minutes of the game. That 2-1 loss was to a team that went on to win two more CL titles and between 2007 and 2012 were one of the best teams in the world. Some would even say one of the best teams ever. Lets not forget that Arsenal went into that famous game in Paris on the back of ten successive clean sheets in the competition, a record which stands to this day and that feat was achieved with Philippe Senderos starting every game from the second round onwards and Flamini covering at left back!
Until 2006, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger were bang on the money. Not only did they win a lot of trophies but records tumbled like the one mentioned above. Another was the famous Invincibles of 2003-2004. Not only did we win the league, but we won it at White Hart Lane and by going an entire season unbeaten, something that hadn’t been achieved in the English game since Preston North End had done it in the 1880′s when the league season consisted of 22 games.
Arsenal went the whole season consisting of 38 games unbeaten and not only that but they then went on to sweep past Nottingham Forest record of 42 games unbeaten and managed 49 until we went to Old Trafford and were robbed. That record, which to this day and probably for a very very long time will not be beaten. At least the ref at Old Trafford got a bit of fame eh!
As said, Arsene had quite the start to life in North London not only did he win trophies, not only did he smash records but he did something beyond that, he changed the face of English football forever. He did things back then which other managers at the time hadn’t even dreamed of doing. He created teams which played with style.
I don’t think there was a title or a cup (the only exception being the 2005 FA Cup final, but lets not remember how we won, lets just think we beat those scam bags) which Arsenal won that anyone could say they didn’t deserve to win. They won with pure class and style.
Arsene also brought to North London a new scientific approach to training. The days of alcohol after the matches were gone and in came diet plans and stretching during long journeys. He helped prolong careers of the old guard, we saw training methods that had never been seen on these shores before. Arsene revolutionised the English game, something which Sir Alex never did.
Arsene brought foreign, mainly French players into the league and for the first time in English football history, combined the flair of the foreign players with the fighting spirit of the English players and successfully integrated a continental style of football. We won the double in his first full season in charge and won it in style.
English football had been changed forever and other clubs were quick to copy Arsene and Arsenal’s new and what must be said better system, but no matter who the other teams brought no one could argue that between the years of 1997 and 2006 Arsenal were by far the best team to watch and best technical side in the country. Some might argue in the world and all that quality and technical superiority really showed in the Invincible season of 2003-2004.
Yes we suffered disappointments in Europe and the domestic cup but over 38 games in the league we were head and shoulders above the rest. All of our stars seemed to peak together and the Wenger masterpiece of fluid attacking football was at its very best. Not even the most ardent of Arsenal haters could deny that.
It’s no surprise that team of 2003/04 were voted the best EPL team in the first 20 years. So not a Sir Alex team, but a guy who when he first arrived was greeted with headlines such as “Arsene Who” and who in recent times has been called out by his own supporters and been told “You don’t know what your doing” yes that guy.
He was the one shining light in English football and he was the one that changed it for the better. Gone were the days of two teams scrapping it out on a mud patch on a Saturday afternoon with long balls and kung fu kick defending. In were the days of swift counter attacking, clever defending, quick pressing and sublime football and at the very fore front of it all optimising the Wenger philosophy were arguably two of the best foreign imports in the history of English football, Dennis Bergkamp and Theirry Henry. One with an unbelievable touch and vision, the other with an equally great eye for goal.
So why then has Arsene been criticised so much by the same people who say they love the beautiful game? You could argue that Wenger is a type of Einstein for football, he took something and advanced it into something far better, why is this guy hated by the press?
My guess comes to one thing and its that he’s French!
Look at Alex (I’m giving up the Sir because truly the ref’s that helped him win so many trophies should adopt the Sir and not some cheat) he’s British and they love him. Very rarely have I seen a bad article about him but Arsene on the other hand even when we win we are slated.
I remember recently after the Liverpool game an “expert” writing for the Telegraph said Arsenal played poor and were helped because Liverpool played worse. I mean come on, you have beaten your closest rivals up to that point for the top spot and had beaten them comfortably, even the opposing manager came out and said the better team won and that Arsenal were far better all over the pitch, but an “expert” sees it differently!
Then comes our “lucky” win against Dortmund. When has being solid at the back been luck?
Chelsea won the CL a couple of seasons ago playing every game like that but not once were they declared lucky by the press. Instead we were all told they were “solid” and “hard to beat” and “played to their strengths” but the moment Arsenal do it, you know a team who for the past eight years have been told by the same “experts” that we have a manager who thinks defending means a big mac and chips, does it against one of the best teams on the planet right now we are vilified for it and told Arsenal were lucky!
Since the Manure game though, this notion of a lucky win in Germany has grown which I can put up with but one thing I am struggling to put up with is the criticism of Ozil who many say had a stinker against Manure (which I agree he did) and had been playing badly for a while.
Lets look into this second claim. How many games is playing badly for a while?
Ozil in total has played 12 games and has scored 3 goals. Anyone who has watched Ozil throughout his career will tell you he has never been known for scoring goals so that return on goals is a welcome surprise. The one thing he was known for assists, well he hasn’t failed to deliver on that as he has 6 already. Also, five key passes and has contributed to 14 of Arsenal’s 23 goals which is the total number of goals scored in the games that Ozil has been part of and that means that he has contributed to 61% of Arsenal’s goals in those 12 games. Add to that, it only took him 11 minutes to get off the mark setting up Giroud against Sunderland and he played a blinder against Napoli and Norwich.
Ozil has only been with us for a couple of months so how can everyone be so quick to judge? Surely its going to take him time to adjust he is human after all. Imagine if any one of us had to move to a new country, where every little thing you do will be under the microscope and battle a huge price tag at the age 24/25, how would we cope? Yet he has come through and has helped Arsenal recover from a dreadful start to be top of the league by two points and top of the group of death in the CL and in the process has contributed to 61% of their goals, how can that be a bad thing?
As we all know, he did have an average game against Manure but we had players out through sickness, but as a team we were below par. There are strong claims Ozil was sick that night, claims which were compounded when the German national team advised he and Mertesacker should stay at home and miss the first of two friendlies due to sickness. That could provide an answer as to why he went missing in that game.
Although Ozil had a poor game along with the rest of our midfield, the press seemed to save the best headlines for our German. Such as the Independent giving us “David Moyes’ decision not to sign Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid justified by German’s invisible show at Old Trafford”, but at the same time they classed Rooney as “playing like two players” and the press heaped massive praise on a guy who did a lot of running around, sent in the cross for the goal that came off the ‘little boys’ shoulder and other than that, he didn’t really do much else. There weren’t many exquisite touches or mesmerising skill from him but more of a doggish battling performance so at least we know that he’s definitely got all those fine ingredients to make him a world beater eh. Moyes has decided that to truly bring a player on he needs to forget skill and technique but have a doggish battling spirit instead.
The fact remains that no matter what the press says and the “experts” say, since Arsene since became manager, Arsenal have performed miracles. He has always competed against clubs who have very very deep pockets and spend as much money as is needed to win.
Arsene has managed to battle with these clubs and has been consistent throughout his reign at Arsenal. Yes the last 8 years have been hard but we built a stadium and at the same time had to fight so many new financial super powers and the face of the game not only in England but in the world has been changed by Oligarchs who use football clubs like their new toys.
Arsene has fought through remarkably difficult circumstances and has worked hard to make Arsenal a force throughout Europe.
I know the last 8 years have been hard watching especially the last couple, but lets not let the press get the better of us and lets all get behind Arsene and more importantly Arsenal, because once again we could be on the verge of something special just as we were when Arsene first arrived in 1996.
Written by MO11