Will Arsene Wenger’s principles deliver eventually?By: Rob | February 10th, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, some, myself included, were getting giddy at the fact that Arsenal were back in the title race. If they could grab a good few points out of a tricky run of fixtures (Villa, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool) they would be favourites, surely, for the big trophy at the end of the season.
Three games into that run, and Arsenal have played well three times and yet come away with just one point – a draw against Villa – and squad-deflating-title-hope-ruining defeats against both Manchester United and Chelsea. They come up against Liverpool today, title hopes all but over.
Arsene has been talking in the press about how he won’t change his principles – prudent spending, focus on youth – ever, and that he’s proud of what he’s built at the club. Meanwhile, those pesky rumours about Cesc Fabregas heading back home to Catalonia have come up again. So will the future really be bright for Wenger?
He makes a good argument:
I am patient with my players because I believe we’re still very young considering the top level in Europe. Take our midfield – we have players who are 22 and 23 in there, and yet we are already capable of dominating games in midfield. The basis is there. We have to transform that into winning trophies, but we can only do that if we believe it.
And he’s right really. With the exception of Barcelona themselves, its tough to think of a side who can dominate the ball in the way Arsenal often do. But if Arshavin has an off-game, as he did against Man United, they look lacking in inspiration and cutting edge. In desperation, Fabregas starting striking the ball towards goal from anywhere, in hope rather than expectation.
But Wenger is also right – they are still very young. Whether or not that means that he should realistically bring in someone a bit older just for experience purposes is arguable, but the real problem lies in whether he can keep these players he’s producing.
Its no good turning a team into a World Class one, and then having them all depart to clubs who can afford to pay them super-wages. Alot depends on Fabregas resisting going back to Barcelona, he’s been absolutely amazing this season, perhaps behind Rooney and maybe Drogba the best player in the Premier League. Its tough to see Arsenal moving to the next level without him.
Around this point last season, I made a post here on the Prem offside about why Cesc should resist going to Barca, when the rumours inevitably came up then. To be honest, not a great deal has changed. Barca don’t look quite the incredible force they did this time last year (that’d be nigh-on impossible, alas), but they are still sitting top of La Liga and surely among the favourites for the Champions League.
I still stand by the fact he should stay in England, and I hope he does. I also hope Arsene Wenger’s plans come to frutation. I’m entirely a neutral, but it would be amazing to see someone build a team of youth and take the title without spending crazy amounts of money.
The potential is there – the question is, can, (and will he get the chance) Arsene Wenger unlock it?