Arsenal: Chelsea Hit Us For Six - But Give Me Wenger Over Mourinho Any Day
Six at Manchester City. Five at Liverpool. Six at Chelsea.
The first time could have been a blip, the second one was careless, but the third was beyond pathetic. In the away games against the rest of the top four this season, Arsenal haven’t just beaten, they’ve been annihilated. There’s no other way of looking at it.
The trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday was meant to be memorable, as Arsene Wenger reached 1000 games as the Arsenal manager. Tributes were paid to him before the game, and after the derby victory last weekend, fans were just daring, in the back of their heads, to dream of an unlikely double.
If ever there was a game for the players to put in a performance for the manager, this was it. If ever there was a game for Wenger to finally beat Mourinho, this was it.
However, just as they did in the abomination at Anfield, the first 20 minutes killed Arsenal. To be 3-0 down with ten men that early defied belief. The red card error from Andre Mariner was completely farcical, but it doesn’t hide the fact that Arsenal would still have been down to ten men regardless of who was actually sent off. Frankly, it might have put the Ox out of his misery to be sent off as he had a complete stinker. Unfortunately, so did everyone else wearing red and white.
A thousand games meant people were looking at the bigger picture in terms of what he has done for Arsenal Football Club. However, 24 hours later, and understandably, some people have been asking questions about his position.
The past is great, but what is important is the present and the future. Wenger would acknowledge that himself, and it’s difficult to take comfort from the previous 999 outings when you've just been thrashed 6-0.
Having grown up in the Wenger-era, I will never want Arsene to leave. After the game, he defended his players by saying he took full responsibility for the result, but, whilst he undoubtedly has to take some responsibility, I just can’t believe that he would have set up his team to put in such a lethargic performance.
For a manager that puts so much faith and trust in his players, every man who went out in the red and white on Saturday should be embarrassed and ashamed of the way they let Wenger down.
Questions about transfers, or the lack of them in certain positions, are fine. But the team Arsene Wenger selected on Saturday was more than good enough to compete with Chelsea and at least make the match a close encounter.
The comparisons with Mourinho are inevitable, and it’s hard to compete with the argument about the Portuguese manager being a winner after his team have pummelled Arsenal 6-0. However, I’d still much rather have the wiry Frenchman represent my club in the dug-out than Mourinho.
For all that football is about results, fans are still irrational. Mourinho gets results, but give me the class of Wenger any day.
The result was baffling as this Arsenal team is, apparently, different this season. They’ve ground out some tough results, won some big games in the cup run and have seemed like an all-round stronger unit. But the continual capitulation in big games is unforgivable.
How a team of quality players and top professionals can collapse so dramatically is beyond mere mortal supporters like me. Wenger has to find an answer to why this hat-trick of hammerings has happened. With his contract unsigned and due to run off at the end of the season, it’s not inconceivable that these three nails could complete the coffin for his management of the club if he feels can’t find that answer. I hope that isn’t the case.
There’s no time for Arsenal to feel sorry for themselves. Even with the league title realistically out of reach, the next week is vital for the players to restore some trust from the fans and repay the man who trusts them most. Wenger has his faults, but that performance from the players wasn’t the way to mark his 1000th game at Arsenal.
Games 1001 and 1002 have to better, although they can’t really be any worse. However, I also said it couldn’t get any worse after the defeat at Anfield, and look how that turned out.