All Guns Blazing: Will Arsene Wenger ever be able to address Arsenal’s shortcomings?

17:30 17 September 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off, second leg match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off, second leg match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti asks why Arsenal never seem to learn from their mistakes and if the problems now solely lie with the manager.

As Einstein famously said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I suppose in that sense, I have to plead guilty.

For, like thousands of Gooners across the world, I sat down this week to watch my team not once, but twice bottle it against a top team in the same predictable manner we seem to have trademarked over the last five years or so.

To the casual observer, I’d completely understand bemusement about why we bother. Insanity must be a pre-requisite for 99 per cent of all football fans who often pay top dollar to have a miserable time. (A lot of my friends are Charlton supporters for instance, so believe me: it’s a condition that goes way beyond mere Goonerdom.)

Of course, perpetual, blind, often misguided faith is something you’re kind of expected to have as a follower of any team. Even as a manager, stubborn belief can often be a strangely valuable trait, but at what point do some decisions cross over into insanity?

I love Arsene Wenger, but even after the FA Cup, a continuation of poor transfer business, stale tactics and decisions is making this feel like the end of an era that’s stretching on inevitably.

Perhaps that sounds dramatic; perhaps we’ll recover like we have done after bad spells in recent years, but the fact remains that many of our problems are deep-rooted.

Whereas in the past we could blame a limited transfer budget or the instability created by player departures, now it’s hard to see any consistent shortcomings that aren’t simply a result of the manager refusing to address what’s been staring everyone in the face.

As many have said in the past, I really would be first in line if Wenger ever decided to release an autobiography.

I’d love to know why this summer he couldn’t possibly sign the necessities that were a defensive midfielder and defender; why we’ve been consistently pants at set-pieces for 10 years or why on Earth we ever signed Park Chu-young. More than anything, I’d love to know why such an intelligent, brilliant man always seems to make things harder for himself.

I wouldn’t bet on such a guaranteed bestseller ever materialising, though. Looking back at the many inspired and exasperating decisions Wenger’s made over the course of his career, he’s rarely been one for the obvious route to success.

Follow me @AlexBellotti


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