This Could be Start of the End – Wenger
Dateline 22 January 2012, this date will go down in history, it is the date the fans at the Emirates turned on Arsene Wenger.
The fans booed the team off at half-time and were rewarded when youngster Nico Yennaris replaced the hapless and hopeless Djourou who becomes a bigger liability every time he puts on an Arsenal shirt. Wenger was decisive with his first substitution, but his second left everyone at the Emirates, including his captain van Persie totally bemused and unimpressed.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was causing the Manchester United defence problems with his direct and physical running. Every time he got the ball there was a buzz in the ground and fear amongst the United defence. It was one of these runs that Chamberlain passed the ball to van Persie which led to the equaliser. Arsenal had the wind behind them and Oxlade-Chamberlain had the key to unlock the United defence. Then disaster.
Arsenal had been preparing to bring on Arshavin and Park, yes he does actually play football, but when we equalised the substitutions were put on hold. Then Wenger played his card, Arshavin to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain. As one the Emirates faithful turned on Wenger, boos echoed around the stadium and the boos were a sign of disgust for the decision. Then the crowd shouted at Wenger “ you don’t know what you’re doing”, the only surprise is that this was the first time this was directed at Wenger who appears to have lost the plot this season.
Never have the Arsenal fans showed so open hostility towards Le Professor as today and they were justified, as within 8 minutes, Arshavin failed to make a challenge on Valencia and United took the lead.
Later Wenger refused to justify his decision “Oxlade-Chamberlain had started to fatigue, started to stretch his calf, and was not used to the intensity. He was sick on Sunday night during the week. Arshavin is captain of the Russia national team. I have to justify [substituting] a guy of 18 who’s playing his second or third game? “
This is the usual Wenger rubbish, players getting tired; I don’t think he understands sports psychology. A manager’s job is to encourage his players not give them reasons to play below par. This was the same man who claimed last season that Chamakh was finding it hard to adjust to the Premiership, after scoring countless goals. Following Wenger’s comments, Chamakh has been a pale shadow of the striker we signed last season.
Was it just the fans that were not happy, no van Persie, our remaining world class player, our talisman and captain clearly showed what he thought of the decision too.
Wenger was losing the fans this season, with pathetic transfers in the summer, a lame start to the season, a series of away defeats and the same old excuses, but his substitution today has lost him the Emirates crowd too. Whilst discontent was mostly restricted to internet forums, this has now spread to the Emirates, previously a bastion of loyal support for Wenger.
Arsenal fans are not content with merely qualify for the Champions League, Arsenal fans want to compete for the title every season. Arsenal fans do not accept Champions League qualification in lieu of trophies; we want trophies and Champions League qualifications.
If Wenger and the board believe we will settle for another trophy less season, and non-qualification for the Champions League coupled with mediocre football, then they will have a few nasty months coming up.