If you have read some of the press and blog comments over the last two days then you may be forgiven for wishing that Arsene Wenger would adopt his own rules of not being provocative after a humiliating defeat by his arch enemy SAF. He is quoted defending the quality of the players at the club, and the perspective given is that in the midst of intensifying criticism by a substantial minority of fans, that he has come out onto the attack and with the impression being given that no changes are planned and that there will be more of the same next season. The statements are presented with the same sense of Arsenal in crisis, but now there is civil war between our manager and his fans to add to the mix. I feel that this is only the next logical phase in the jealous attempt by Arsenal hating journalists and some confused so -called Arsenal bloggers to try and bring him down.
We know that Wenger has been frustrated, its true. Take the mannerisms which have been so un-Wenger like on the touchline of late. The slamming of the water bottle onto the ground, the anguished snarl as a simple chance is missed. Then of course there are the useless angry appeals to the fourth official. The fourth official cannot overturn the referee’s decision, so complaining is pointless. (Unless there is a provision that allows the fourth official to remove the referee from the game, why do managers continue to barrack this useless official?) Then there are the increasing number of shots of Arsene Wenger with his head in his hands. All of these images intended to support the media premise that he is without inspiration and close to despair.
What would be the last thing that Gooners would want to hear after finishing fourth this season? That there will be more of the same, neither do they want to see one Adebayor wearing an Arsenal shirt next season. So queue the headlines designed to provoke yet more anxiety amongst Gooners. I can imagine that next there will be twitter based stories of disillusioned Arsenal fans ripping up their season tickets, or burning their replica shirts in public. In short this is the continuance of my conspiracy theory. Which put simply, if Arsene Wenger can be forced out by fans influenced by this anti-Arsenal media driven campaign, then the next story will be the fate of our club post Wenger, and loads of copy speculation about his successor and the takeover of the football club.
Those who know the man, will know that he will never walk away from a contract. It is simply not his style. But the sports writers who support all things Man Utd will try all the same. The attacks on Arsenal Football Club have followed the media tradition of tearing down great icons, where after the fall there is an attempt to humiliate. If Man Utd are the darlings of the media at the moment, then they must beware the future is all that I would say. At some point SAF will upset the press again and they will turn on him. In a nutshell, the media only want to sell copy. So the stories must be lurid and fanciful, designed to strike panic into fans, to create rumours and the passing of links from comment columns on one blog to another.
In his post Champions league press conference Arsene Wenger has acknowledged that despite the 21 game unbeaten streak in the League, his players failed to step up and beat the teams like Man Utd and Chelsea during such important games as the two semi-finals. In the pre Chelsea press conference, Arsene Wenger refused to make comment about Chelsea’s predicament. The immediate media impression will be one of defiance from Wenger against the players who call for more experienced players like Manu Petit and the fans who call for his head. The stories that will sell copy at the moment must have a whiff of crisis and rebellion. If one can add ritual humiliation to the mix as in the pictures of Nik Bendtner with his trousers down, then the editors will be very happy.
I have listened to all the press conferences and interview on ATVO. Throughout Arsene Wenger was respectful, and said that everyone is entitled to their opinions. He pointed out that distance must be made between the statements of Almunia and Adebayor and the reality that he is the manager, and the players would be better off concentrating on their own performance. Arsene is convinced that the players will be motivated, but he needs to try and get the belief and joy back into their game. Wenger reminded the press that players want big names to come to the club providing those players do not represent a threat to their own playing position. He also indicated that far from there being more of the same next season, that he would take his time to understand and plan what changes would be needed to make Arsenal winners again.
He was adamant that there was very little point in bringing up young players only to let them go as they were on the brink of maturing into established players. Wenger reminded people that progress had been made throughout the season. There is a lot of disappointment but no lack of commitment from either his players or the coaching staff. He also emphasised that there is not the massive gap between Arsenal and Man Utd as presented in the media. He did however indicate that the next transfer window would see him buying one or two players to strengthen the squad, and that Arsenal are prepared to pay the money required to get the player indentified. Arshavin’s absence virus prevented him from training. However Arsene had an small inkling that the Russian will be available on Sunday. Wenger stated that the game on Sunday will be massive, and he is determined to pursue his goal of finishing above them. He agreed that Chelsea will be the side that is most hurt, but Arsenal have also to show that they can bounce back from the misery of defeat.
So what is written differs greatly from what is actually being said and I would urge Gooners to ignore the media and listen to the actual words of Wenger Speak. In them you will find comfort and determination. I would love it… really love it if we end the season having beaten both Chelsea and Man Utd convincingly, then the finals to be played at the end of May would take on the vacuous hollow ring of pretenders to the throne! with the real worthy heir excluded. The only omission being not having played Barcelona of course. So Arsene Wenger has laid out his stall for Sunday, and he intends to bring the gap down to three points So what a game in prospect… I can’t wait! c’mon ARSENAL!!! Before the game I shall be present as those very rude anti Cashley Cole songs are being sung in the Rocket on the Hollway Road with RedAction. Come and join us from midday. The place will be jumping!
Fabregas the King.
PS: For those who can’t get to the match tomorrow, join us in our virtual terrace! Just click on the chat tab at the top of the page. See you there.