Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just in Case I Wasn't Clear After the Tottenham Match...

Arsene Wenger should resign immediately as Manager at Arsenal. A statue immediately should be built in his honor alongside Thierry Henry's (and, while were at it, how about one for Dennis Bergkamp?). He is, after all, the greatest manager in Arsenal's history.

Meanwhile, Arsenal  shareholders should boot Stan Kroenke out the door and back to the US, where they play a brand of football he actually understands. Either they should replace him with Usmanov (with or without David Dein in tow), or take the dirty oil money from the Middle East, which is reported to be within the reach of Arsenal's proudly and prudishly pristine hands.

This is not the time to focus on the glory of competing for fourth place - or has Wenger now changed his goal a Europa League place? Face facts: the season is over. Even if Arsenal should manage, amazingly, to reclaim fourth place, what would be gained, other than another season in which they attempt to replicate the same feat against ever-improving competition?

Now is the time for a complete reboot, a house-cleaning; out with the old as well as the inept. Enough experimenting with players with great "potential" but limited actual ability, such as Walcott, Ramsey, and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Out with lumbering defenders like Mertesacker and Vermaelen. Enough emergency signings of mediocrities like Arteta, let alone scrubs like Santos, Squillace, Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin, Giroud, and the list goes on and on. It is time to become more like other, competitive teams and throw around tens of millions to bring in proven, world-class players to rebuild around Wilshire, Cazorla, Sagna, and perhaps one or two others of the current squad.

But perhaps I'm being too hard on what is, on paper, a pretty decent current squad of players. Maybe it's not really lack of talent that has doomed Arsenal this season. Each week, one reads about problems with defensive coverage or lackadaisical starts to games, in which Arsenal have to fight from behind. Perhaps those problems indicate not so much a lack of talent as a lack of proper coaching and motivation. Those are problems that stem from the top. I don't think there's any question that Arsene Wenger still holds to the same coaching philosophies that won silverware ten years ago. The problem is, they don't anymore, in part because so many other coaches have paid him the ultimate compliment of replicating his methods. Times have changed, but Wenger has failed to change with them. That is the sign of a closed mind and a fatal level of self-confidence, which Arsenal can no longer afford.

Remember the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. That's what Wenger has been selling Arsenal fans for the past seven years. It's time to put a stop to the insanity.

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