Wenger & Weaknesses

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Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by T-Mach on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:12 pm

Got talking with a friend of mine sometime ago on Neville's comment about AW saying AW is tactically naive/arrogant which got me thinking what's actually AW's weaknesses.

I just cannot agree with this 'AW's apparent tactical naivete',this is the guy who has recent as last season managed to change his tactics and helped Arsenal earn a victory vs. the then reigning champions,Man City.Similarly there are gonna be instances where slight tweaks have resulted in us getting victories.

He's not arrogant either.I've got no specific examples to back this up.But from the way he carries himself AW will be the last person who you can call arrogant.

He's not outdated with modern football dynamics as well.He started signing young potential wonderkids who left Arsenal when the time was right to signing more developed players(Santi,Poldi et al).

He's someone who comes across as educated in diverse fields which is the reason for his nickname,Le Prof.He knows how to convince players to sign by speaking in the player's mother tongue and can convince a player not to sign for Fergie's Man U by & instead sign for Arsenal.

So,What are AW's actual weaknesses?

You could broadly classify it into categories,IMO.

-Stubborness
-Trusting players

The first category is the one filled with all of AW's fails.

He's stubborn that his tactics for Arsenal are the best.
He's stubborn that opponent's tactics will have zero say on how his team plays.
He's stubborn that HIS way is the only way of playing.
He's stubborn that the players he has are enough

...and so on.

The next category is the one that has frustrated us and made us feel his trust has been vindicated at the same time.
He's trusts his players a lot.He keeps giving them chance after chance after chance despite continuous failures. Almunia,Denilson and heck,he gave up on Diaby only this season.

On the other hand only coz he kept trusting Ramsey and gave him umpteen chances did Ramsey become this good.Guess almost all of us would've been frustrated by his poor displays at point or the other.

Thus,I believe AW has only 2 MAJOR WEAKNESSES wrt football.Just wanted to know whether my observations are correct.

P.S. Don't want it to turn into a WOB/AKB fight.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Twoism on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:25 pm

Will write an essay about this but just to point something out. He's capable of playing ugly/ being pragmatic. That Dortmund & City away games still stood out not to mention a long streak of unconvincing wins when we're top 3 years ago. Only when he bought into his own team hype, it's when this supposed stubborness/ arrogance kick in which unfortunatly is quite often.


Last edited by Twoism on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Jay29 on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:28 pm

I wouldn't call trusting players a definitive weakness because it works both ways. In some cases his trust was misplaced, but in others it paid off brilliantly.

Stubbornness is certainly one weakness he has and it's evidenced across several aspects of the club. The "arrogant" tag stems from this, because his stubborn belief in his ways is perceived as a belief that his way is the best way or only way.

Tactically I would say he's not so much naive as he is inflexible. He doesn't respond as quickly in game as he should do (just look at how late he makes his subs), nor does he prepare the team for specific threats on a game-by-game basis. He can be pragmatic; he just doesn't want to be. It's against his principles (hence, stubborn).

Stylistically I think his teams have degraded over the years and he's not really addressed it. The football we play now is boring and I think that's a lot down to how the team sets-up these days.

How we play without the ball is something that could be improved as well.

I've held a long-running belief that he doesn't motivate the players very well, either, hence some of the listless and crap performances, particularly at home, over the years. For example, you can't fully convince me that the players went out against Zagreb completely motivated to win the game.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by T-Mach on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:45 pm

As I said all his apparent weaknesses are branches of the same category(Stubbornness).

His arrogance stems from the fact he's stubborn that his team shall play this way irrespective of how the other team is set up.

His inflexibility stems from the fact he's stubborn the current tactical system is more than enough to win.

Again the stylistic degradation is also probably because he's stubborn that irrespective of the personnel at his disposal he shall play the passing game.

And for the other category of trusting players,I guess his stubbornness seeps into this category.I sometimes feels he keeps trusting some player T and gives them chance after chance so that if at all he comes good he can show you his stubbornness to stick with the player has been vindicated.

I know trusting players can have its rewards(Song,Ramsey) but there have been far too many players(Denilson,Almunia).

Lastly,for the motivation factor I remember a few seasons ago(RvP's last season at Arsenal) we used to come from behind and win games at will(We've got a PL record as well I guess,4 consecutive wins from behind in PL).

Jay,do you feel this wasn't due to AW's motivation or you feel the personnel involved(an inform RvP) had a say on this?
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Jay29 on Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:00 pm

Responding to adversity (being a goal down) isn't quite the same. Generally I think we respond well to bad situations. The squad has a stronger character than it used to.

It's when the team plays a smaller team at home, plays without urgency, plays sloppily, doesn't fight for the ball etc. that I believe motivation to be an issue. It's more noticeable when we're in good form. Sometimes the players turn up to game thinking that's all they need to do to win, and I don't get the impression that they're being constantly challenge to maintain a high standard, so the standard drops, regardless of what confidence they have.

To put it another way, players seem to get too comfortable, so their performances drop. Sometimes this is down to the player in question but it's also the job of the manager to ensure that doesn't happen.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by T-Mach on Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:21 pm

GoonerJay29 wrote:Responding to adversity (being a goal down) isn't quite the same. Generally I think we respond well to bad situations. The squad has a stronger character than it used to.

It's when the team plays a smaller team at home, plays without urgency, plays sloppily, doesn't fight for the ball etc. that I believe motivation to be an issue. It's more noticeable when we're in good form. Sometimes the players turn up to game thinking that's all they need to do to win, and I don't get the impression that they're being constantly challenge to maintain a high standard, so the standard drops, regardless of what confidence they have.

To put it another way, players seem to get too comfortable, so their performances drop. Sometimes this is down to the player in question but it's also the job of the manager to ensure that doesn't happen.


I agree with this.Our home form at the end of last season is a prime example for this.But as you said,this is not something you can attribute to AW alone it's partially coz of the players too.

But sometimes when you've the attitude of "win it all costs even if you win it dirty" like Jose M,maybe our team too can grind out wins despite our rich vein of form like how Chelsea did post-January last season.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Raptorgunner on Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:27 pm

I believe his number 1 weakness is that he tries to do too much and forgets his job as a manager. I dont see our players going out there and fighting hard for our manager. It feels like there is no pressure on Wenger or the players.

Being a father.
Balancing the books.
Making everyone happy.
Transfers.
Favoritism.
Covering up.

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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by The Franchise on Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:33 pm

I would love to hear him speak about the change he made in the midfield and what has inspired him.

He went from using Petit and PV4 together, Gilberto and PV together and overall across the midfield having players with a bigger physical profile...but now he seems to scrapped it totally and gone with very different types of players. And he constantly passes on players who are more similar to the Vieira's and Gilberto's of the world.

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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Jay29 on Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:26 pm

This was a quote from in 2014 (which is in the new Wenger book):

"When we buy a player we do not look at how heavy he is, but how good he is. It is a coincidence that we are a bit lightweight. Maybe because we use more technical players in the middle of the park, especially Arteta. It depends as well who plays. If I play Cazorla or Podolski, the weight is a bit different. But it's true, we are a bit more lightweight than before, when we had Petit, Vieira, Parlour...

"You always want to improve technically and sometimes when you want to do that you go a bit more for skill, which can be more lightweight. At the time when Vieira left, we had Fabregas there who was 17 years old. You cannot say you are not heavy enough so you cannot play. He had the quality to play."

Maybe he thought the powerful players didn't have enough skill. Or maybe they did have enough skill and because of that simply cost too much than he was willing to spend. Personally I think he saw Barca's and Spain's dominance as the ideal, thought that everyone would try to emulate them and so placed a greater emphasis on skill, but ultimately misread how the game would develop.

Doesn't explain why he hasn't signed a more powerful midfielder since then, mind you, but I imagine that has a lot to do with money, as most things does with Wenger.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by The Franchise on Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:45 pm


He is smart enough to figure out for himself there are many players who tie together physical and technical ability.

Henry also links this thing to Cesc, which I think has something to do with it..but that doesnt quite cut it when you arent winning and it surely doesnt cut it when you dont have Cesc any more.

I dont get how he can rationale Arteta over a physical player. I am sure Arteta is technically better than Coq, yet the difference in their effectiveness is huge.

He surely Yaya before he came to Barca, is it too much to suggest if he really wanted to he could have had him?

Obviously nobody is going to claim Yaya lacks anything in the way of technical ability.

He saw Vieira leave, how did the light not go off in his head that Kolo's "little" brother would have replaced him tremendously well. Especially that Yaya who are alot more active and mobile than the City version.

I think your right Jay, I think he saw that Spain and Barca proved there is no need for any physicality at all and he thought the game was going there. But he should have also seen the way they overcame the lack of physical ability. They didnt dominate because they lack physicality, they dominated in spite of it.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Hapless_Hans on Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:57 pm

Arteta and Coquelin are so completely different players, who suit for so different ways of playing "DM", that I'm a bit baffled this 'either Coqueling or Arteta' alternative is just posed like that.

To me, and I'm no expert, but to me it seems to decide between playing Coquelin and Arteta as 'DM' is a decison not just between two players, but between two completely different team structures hmm

Or at least that's what the decision should entail, no?

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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by The Franchise on Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:03 pm

At this point in time, there isnt anything Arteta does which helps. That sounds harsh but its the only way to put it.

I agree with you, one is more destructive and a ball winner and plays the simple pass. The other in theory gets on the ball and can pass through the lines to switch the ball to the more free side of the pitch.

But Arteta today doesnt even do that well, because he is so out of it he can be caught in possession easily. And he is not even passable any more at protecting the defence, players can get in his areas and dont have to worry about being physically challenged.

So for me, its not about playing one or the other at any point. It more like Coq must play, its mandatory...the question becomes how do we make up for him if he is missing (almost got injured vs Chelsea) or how to we assist him in doing that work in the midfield when we need it.

Arteta cant do either. Which is totally baffling to me why he wouldnt bring another player in....but thats Wenger for you. He has his own way for good and bad.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Hapless_Hans on Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:11 pm

Yes that's what I mean.
It's not "who do we play, Coquelin or Arteta?"
Arteta can't do what Coquelin does, and what Coquelin does and has been doing is very important. We remember the 0:67 defeats last season away with Arteta after all..
Arteta can't get a grip when opponents switch to offense or break. He's like a traffic cone.
Coquelin knows where to be to stop, or at least hinder/slow down/challenge, attacks, he gets into the right challenges.

If the argument is that Arsenal don't need a cover, or competition, for Coquelin because they have Arteta, that's bizarre.
If anything you'd play Arteta alongside Coq, but he's of course not good enough to cry out for a place made for him, though he's captain.

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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Jay29 on Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:22 pm

Yaya moved to Barcelona around 2007, right? Around that time it was Fabregas and Gilberto, with Flamini and Diaby (before all his injury troubles) as alternatives, and Denilson and Song coming through. Baring in mind project youth was in full swing, it's entirely possible Wenger looked at his midfielders, thought he didn't need to add, and prioritised spending his limited budget on replacing Pires with Rosicky instead. Work permit issues might have also played a part.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the hope that Diaby would get over his injuries played a part in this, too. Although a Yaya/Diaby midfield would have been fun as hell.

Anyway, Wenger is just incredibly hard to work out when it comes to the make-up of his squad. Coquelin was just a happy accident; brought back as emergency cover and ended up playing amazingly well. It's scary to think that had we not had those injuries, our DMs this season would have been Arteta and Flamini, and Coquelin would have happily walked away at the end of his contract.

With Arteta atm I'm convinced it's a lot to do with loyalty. He wants to give Coquelin every game because he's obviously the best we've got there but he wants to be loyal to Arteta too because he's club captain, has been with us a couple of years and was a decent performer. He gave Arteta a new deal likely with the promise of game time so he'll get game time.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by The Franchise on Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:55 pm

Thats right, Yaya moved in 07.

But Wenger did have him on trail in 03' and Wiki confirms this "He started a pre-season friendly against Barnet on 19 July, playing as a second striker and then moving up front in the second half. Manager Arsène Wenger recognised his talent but could not decide on his best position and described his performance against Barnet as "completely average." Plus some work permit difficulties as you said.

Anyway its neither here nor there, I just mean that Wenger seems to not just pick technical players over physical ones...but actively goes away from physical ones, or so it seems.

On Arteta. That is incredible to me if true. Dont get me wrong, I respect loyalty, I treasure it..but does Arteta really deserve loyalty? He has been with you what, 4 years? And he was effective maybe 2 of those at most?

Like, I would be fine today if Xavi was still around getting games...even if it meant him kinda standing in the way of progression. Because I mean Xavi been here since he was 6 or 8 and was great all of those years Laughing Arteta deserves respect as captain...but loyalty to that degree is quite some push.
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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by Raptorgunner on Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:04 pm

GoonerJay29 wrote:

Anyway, Wenger is just incredibly hard to work out when it comes to the make-up of his squad. Coquelin was just a happy accident; brought back as emergency cover and ended up playing amazingly well. It's scary to think that had we not had those injuries, our DMs this season would have been Arteta and Flamini, and Coquelin would have happily walked away at the end of his contract.

One of only few times where the Injuries were a gift. Laughing

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Re: Wenger & Weaknesses

Post by boyzis on Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:39 pm

He is stubborn and kind of sometimes feels he is too loyal to his philosophy. But overall he has done alot for the club. Respect him for that.
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