Monday, 3 December 2012

Wenger's a problem but not our biggest -Kroenke needs to sell up

Morning Gooners.

I decided not to post yesterday. I thought it would end up being too reactionary to what had just happened. Losing to Swansea isn't a disgrace, especially when they are the team playing the attractive football. But it shouldn't be something this Arsenal team should have done.

On paper we are man for man a better team than them. However, which of the two teams wanted the win more? It wasn't the team in red and white. Those 14 players let themselves down. They let the supporters and manager down. But most importantly they let the club down.

The manager was left to trot out the same old and tired excuses. He's defended these players when quite clearly they are indefensible. I thought aside from Wojciech Szczesny and Thomas Vermaelen, none of the players had a particularly good game.

In the grand scheme of things, what's happening at Arsenal right now isn't working. The manager said after the game on Wednesday at Goodison the players were tired, yet he only makes four changes - two of which were forced on him. For me Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla are the two players who need to be rested, but I suspect the manager fears the team will lack the creativity without the Spanish duo in the side.

Andrey Arshavin wasn't even in the 18 man squad. Nor was Marouane Chamakh. These two players are in the manager's Premier League squad yet cannot get a game ahead of players who have not proved their worth to the side. And yet if Wenger didn't fancy them at the start of the campaign, why didn't the club cut its losses on them and bring in players the manager felt would make a real difference.

December should be a month where we are picking up points in every game. Luckily it seems that the Premier League is on a whole awful this season. Just five points are the difference between us sat back in tenth and Chelsea in third. We can bridge the gap. We just need something on the pitch to change for us.

And it is fine margins. Why didn't Mark Clattenburg award Gervinho a free kick on the edge of the Swansea box late in the second half? Had Thomas Vermaelen's late header gone in we would have all gone home celebrating a win but instead it was straight at the goalkepper. These situations may have made a difference. But a win would have papered over from very clear cracks.

When you're beating your neighbours 5-2, surely that should be giving a team the momentum to move forward and play with confidence? It seems to have done the exact opposite to us. We look timid and unable to be adventurous. Where once we would expect our players to pass to space, now the safety option of always to feet is being taken. One touch play has virtually disappeared, as has the ability to make something out of nothing.

This is the squad in the Wenger era which isn't stocked with attacking options up front. We have two strikers in Olivier Giroud and Marouane Chamakh. The manager doesn't have a Kanu or Sylvain Wiltord to play alongside Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry in his squad.

Gervinho is a player who still doesn't seem to have found his feet in his second season in the league. He's not reproduced the same goals and assists form which attracted Arsene Wenger to him. But is still picked because the manger doesn't fancy Andrey Arshavin and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is going through a difficult second season.

Ultimately a lot of these problems lay with the manager. But I don't feel he is ultimately responsible. Would he have chosen to sell Cesc Fabregas, the greedy badger or Samir Na$ri? Quite clearly he wanted all three to stay and the only one who left because of footballing reasons was Fabregas. The other two went because they knew they could get a fatter contract at another club.

The board - and by the board I really mean majority shareholder Stan Kroenke - do not appear to be willing to sanction the wages needed to keep and attract top players to our football club. Ever since the American arrived at our club we've not won anything. He seems content with coming fourth to guarantee us some part of the Champions League cash we live off.

It would be easy to ask Arsene Wenger to step aside. But there are bigger problems in our club than the manager. We need a change in direction off the pitch to change our fortunes on it. Until we start retaining the services of our best players, paying them the market rate, the manager of our football club - be that Wenger now or someone else in the future - is going to be working with players who don't have the quality we've become spoilt by in the past.

In my opinion, Stan Kroenke needs to sell up. We need an owner in charge who bleeds Arsenal. Who cares when we lose and who wants to celebrate like us when we win. Above all, I want an owner who wants the best for The Arsenal and in Kroenke, I don't feel we have someone who does have Arsenal at heart. How can he when he lives thousands of miles away from north London?

He's already made promises he's failed to keep. He won't rule out draining our club dry of funds. And he won't help supporters invest their own money into the club through such an excellent scheme such as Fanshare. Until he changes or goes, I fear we're going to have to start getting used to losing to teams like Swansea.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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