This international break couldn’t have come any sooner after the Gunners lost their sixth game in nine games against West Brom on Saturday. With just under two weeks until Arsenal’s next game against Manchester City the fans will hope that Wenger spends that time trying to put right Arsenal’s current form.
However, even though Arsenal fans may be hopeful, looking back over the season, it would be hard to expect much change after the break. Over the years we’ve seen the Arsenal boss’ stubbornness over and over and this season has been no different.
Over the course of this season The Emirates has seen Wenger’s theme stubbornness mostly in the form of his team selections. Forcing players into the starting line-up no matter what and leaving players out no matter how well they perform when called upon. With Wenger it seems that he has favourites in the team who he wants nothing more than to do well but he doesn’t know when to stop giving them chances until it’s too late.
Over the last couple of seasons this has been most evident with Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi. Probably one of the most frustrating sights for Arsenal fans in recent times has been seeing Ramsey lining up out on the right when checking the starting line-up an hour before kick off. Even though the Welshman has been playing centrally regularly of late it has only been a result of Mesut Ozil struggling for fitness. With Ramsey not being able to stamp his name into one position this year due to injuries as well as better options it’s been hard for him to find any form which has been clear when he has played, but who knows whether Wenger will make a change to that midfield.
Wenger’s stubbornness has also been clear with him seemingly ignoring the performances of Lucas Perez despite how well he plays. Despite it looking even more unlikely that Perez will feature frequently for Arsenal now that Welbeck is back in the mix, there were large parts of the season when Wenger could have used him as a starter. With Perez being a more natural striker than Alexis Sanchez who has been deployed there most of time and Iwobi not playing particularly well in parts of the season, fans were calling for the Spaniard to start but to their surprise, Wenger stuck to his guns instead of changing.
However, Wenger isn’t always oblivious to changing but it seems that when he does make changes they more often than not, appear to be too late. This has been seen with moving Oxlade-Chamberlain centrally and taking Francis Coquelin out of the starting 11 which for the most part, has been a good decision but could have been done much earlier. These late changes like most things at Arsenal have also been quite predictable recently with Arsenal usually putting together their best runs of the season towards the back end of each season after the club drops out of contention in all competitions.
With Wenger’s future still in the spotlight after an eventful day at West Brom which other than the loss, included two planes carrying banners both in support and opposing Wenger as well as the Frenchman saying he has made a decision in his future after the game. But in true Wenger fashion, he chose not to open up on what that decision is, showing once again how his stubbornness can get in the way of Arsenal’s own good.
So now that he has said that he has made a decision, it could be thought that the players know that decision. With that in mind hopefully the players would return to club football wanting to prove a point not just to the Wenger in what could be his last few months in North London but also show fans that they are behind Wenger for the rest of the season.