Arsene Knows: Wenger Is The Star Of The Show For Arsenal This Season
Let’s talk about what has changed for Arsenal this year.
Settled back line - Tick.
Reliable Goalkeeper (Best in the league right now, I would suggest) - Tick
Form of certain players - Ahhhh, now we’re talking.
The number of column inches that have been written about Aaron Ramsey is no less than he deserves. He has been truly world class in this period. Mertesacker has begun to gain some recognition as people start to realise that not having pace doesn’t mean a defender is useless- that having the ability to recover is not necessary if you don’t make positional mistakes in the first place. Likewise the arrival of Mesut Ozil has been cited as the difference. His stats don’t lie but his impact is the subject of another piece entirely. One man no-one seems to be talking about is Arsene Wenger.
Stay with me for a moment, I haven’t lost it. Yes, I am suggesting that a MANAGER has regained his form. Alan Davies summed up the feelings of many an Arsenal fan on the latest Tuesday Club podcast- “I’m back to Arsene knows.” The man is a winner. It’s no surprise to me that for the last few seasons he has resembled a petulant teenager throwing his toys (water bottles) out of the pram. As much as he liked to tell us otherwise, he must have known he had a (relatively) poor team compared to what he has managed previously. He could see the potential though and now he knows he has a team worthy of him, and Arsenal FC.
The difference is so blindingly obvious I’m amazed more hasn’t been made of it. From his body language to his willingness to put on defenders to close out games due to his trust in the team it is clear to me that we have our Arsene back. When Arsene came he was the outsider, the innovator who changed the EPL and threatened to upset the system. All these years later he has proven again that his stubbornness and radically different views can reap rewards. Aaron is the poster boy. He stuck by him when I don’t think another soul out there supported him. He gave him a 5 year contract at the nadir of his Arsenal career and gave him the confidence to show what he had when we signed him as an 18 year boy.
It’s also been a while since I remember Wenger mentioning the ref before a big game. Sure, he’s always willing to have a moan after but seeing him suggest that teams might get more decisions now Ferguson was gone and that the game needed a strong ref prior to playing Manchester United was revealing. His team has given him the confidence to go out there and try to control the other factors out there. If everything else is even, this team can win the league.
I’m amazed the media has ignored the change in him but I really shouldn’t be. In a league where the next longest serving manager is Alan Pardew, you would think that Wenger would rightfully fill the void left by Sir Alex Ferguson. The media lovechild who they dare not criticise, the one they revere. It speaks volumes that the pundit who rates Arsene the most is Gary Neville. Ignore Hansen Arsene, if Mr. Neville is on your side, you shouldn’t worry about the others.
There are currently rumours about his contract extension. There were plenty who thought that he should have been fired by now. Plenty who said he shouldn’t get an extension till he wins something or shows that he is worthy of an extension. I will hold my hands up, I doubted him. Now though, would I have an issue with him having an extension? I would most certainly would have an issue with giving it to the Arsene of the past few years, but “our” Wenger? Not a chance. Even if he doesn’t win anything this season, there isn’t the same air around the club. There is no longer the worry that players will leave. This team will mature and additions will be made, the core is good enough to beat anyone on their day. Sure, he might just not bother getting a striker in January just to annoy us but frankly at this point, I’ll just say “Arsene knows” and carry on with my day. Who am I to pretend I know any better?
Follow Vikram on Twitter @VVijaay