One point from three matches. Arsenal’s last trio of Premiership games has brought nothing but woe to the club and its supporters. We’ve slipped behind the two Manchester-based clubs in the league and the fact we still sit above T*****ham is scant consolation. This recent run of ‘poor’ form has caused many Gooners to jump to rash conclusions about what move the club should make next. Indeed something needs to be done, but overreactions and calls for the manager’s head are not the answer.
Firstly, our current situation should be viewed a little more objectively. Arsenal are seven points behind league-leaders Chelsea with thirty one games still to be played, so don’t panic. Despite the fact we’re lacking at least four first-team regulars, we’ve still managed to take the game to each of our opposition. In fact, minus the West Brom shambles, we’ve played solidly so far this season – the performances away at Blackburn and Sunderland were particularly encouraging. We’ve dropped a few foolish points but, all considered, it’s fair to say we’ve played well.
On the negative side, while we seem to have taken a step forward from last season, three wins from our opening seven games is a rocky start. We may have been playing well but, unless performances breed wins, it’s all for nought. If we don’t get our best players back and injury-free soon, we’re likely to see repeats of the last few weeks throughout the season.
So what is the next best move for Arsenal FC? Recent reports have stated that Mark Schwarzer is still hankering for a switch to North London, despite his manager’s contradiction. Robert Pires has also made the headlines after being released by Villarreal and heading over to train with us. Arsčne Wenger said: “He is sparkling. He’s happy on the ball and physically he is fine”. The situation is reminiscent of what happened last December with Sol Campbell.
While I’m obviously a huge fan of Robert Pires, I certainly hope the situation doesn’t develop too similarly to the Campbell incident. Other than giving the tabloids something to write about, I can’t think what re-signing Pires would achieve. It surely isn’t the step we need to take in January to galvanise our squad. As for Mark Schwarzer, I’m apathetic about the prospect of his arrival – I don’t considered him to be that much of an improvement on Manuel Almunia or Lukasz Fabianski. Much like Pires, I don’t believe making a move for Schwarzer is the answer to Arsenal’s problems.
Nor do I believe however, that sacking our manager or constructing a “Wenger Out” bandwagon is the answer. Luckily most Gooners I’ve spoken with aren’t of this opinion either – but with each dropped point, another brash, apocalyptic cynic seems to find a voice. I have no problem with supporters questioning their clubs management. I don’t think a fan resigns their support of a club by simply disagreeing with certain policies either. Blindly following and accepting what’s put in front of you is dangerous in any sense. But questioning a manager’s policy and demanding he is sacked are two very different matters.
Arsene Wenger isn’t a perfect football manager. I questioned his dealings in the recent transfer market, was surprised by the defenders he bought and was baffled by the lack of a new goalkeeper. But does any genuine supporter of Arsenal football club seriously think sacking Arsčne Wenger is a positive step forward? When a club sacks a manager there’s a massive upheaval amongst the players, the staff and the management, it’s a complex and longwinded procedure that can often cause more problems than it solves. While we may not have won a trophy in five years under Wenger’s tutelage, he’s still our most successful and longest-serving manager. There is nobody more suited to managing this Arsenal team, at the moment, than Arsene Wenger is. No manager knows this group of players or the infrastructure of the club as well as he does.
Yes, let’s make our voices heard when a transfer window passes by and we haven’t reinforced our midfield or goalkeeping options. But please, let’s not descend to the level of glory-hunting, headline-grabbing plastic ‘fans’ who demand a manager is sacked following a few bad results and a quiet transfer window. Let’s question the decisions that Arsčne Wenger makes but maintain our support of him in the knowledge that he’s the best man for the job. Do you think Arsene sits in his office with a blank cheque, able to sign any player he likes, but instead decides to argue over a few hundred thousand pounds and sign cheaper players to fatten Arsenal’s accounts? I certainly don’t. And I definitely don’t think any other manager would make a better job of it in his position.
Finally, as for moving forward, I can see us making a bid for a goalkeeper in January – whether or not that goalkeeper is Mark Schwarzer remains to be seen. I’d also like some competition for Song in the defensive midfield department, as his performances this season haven’t matched his glittering form from last. Personally, I doubt we’ll see a new midfielder in January, but have no fear, I still won’t be shouting “Sack Arsčne Wenger!” if that does turn out to be true.
As Vic might say: “Dammit, just keep the faith!”