Wenger’s rant won’t win any friends + Arsenal-Fenerbahce preview

Wenger’s rant won’t win any friends + Arsenal-Fenerbahce preview

I don’t need to remind you that it’s been a bit of a dark week for Arsenal fans coping with the fallout from the Tottenham and Stoke City debacles.

Thankfully the football returns again later today with Arsene Wenger and the boys hosting Fenerbahce in the Champions League. A win will see Arsenal (virtually) qualify for the Round of 16 and despite the recent troubles in the Premiership that should be well within our grasp, especially considering the thrashing given out to the same opponents in Turkey a fortnight ago.

Injury news going into the game is not great. Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott have been added to an injury list consisting of William Gallas and Emmanuel Eboue as well as long-term casualties Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo. However, there was some good news with the word from Arsene Wenger that while Adebayor looks to be out for quite some time, Walcott and Gallas are looking good for selection against Manchester United on Saturday. They will be welcome returns.

It’s a little bit disappointing to see that there’s not much talk from the manager going into this game. Methinks he might be keeping things a little bit under wraps after the recent poor performances by his side in a bid to keep the boys focused against Fenerbahce. However, what has come out in the media is a fierce set of comments by Wenger praising the bravery of his side and criticising the poor tacklers made by many of the Stoke City players on Saturday. Observe:

“I read that my team were not brave. All I can say is they are brave and, for me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know that someone is tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball. It happened at the weekend. Do you think Delap tried to play the ball when he tackled Walcott? Or that Shawcross tried to play the ball when he tackled Adebayor off the pitch. All the players have been injured deliberately.”

In my opinion it’s hard to argue with what the manager has said here. The tackles on Adebayor and Walcott were deliberate attempts to play the man rather than the ball and it’s nowhere near the first time this has happened this season. In saying that, I do think Wenger could have been a bit more clever than outright accusing Stoke of deliberately injuring our players. It’s hardly going to win us any friends and it’s not exactly what we need to be focusing on right now. And after all, as Stoke chairman Peter Coates correctly pointed out, it was Robin van Persie who was rightly sent off for violent conduct.

The team for tonight’s game is very much up in the air. If I was in the manager’s shoes I’d probably go for a Bacary Sagna-Kolo Toure-Mikael Silvestre-Gael Clichy backline in front of Manuel Almunia. In fact, scrap that, I want to see Johan Djourou start. Get him in there Wenger – he deserves a chance.

In midfield I’d probably plump for Samir Nasri and perhaps Carlos Vela on the wings with Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby in the middle. Knowing the manager it will most likely be a Nasri-Fabregas-Denilson-Diaby combination or perhaps even Alex Song and Denilson in the middle with Fabregas being given a pre-United rest. Up front I can’t see anything other than Nicklas Bendtner and van Persie starting due to Adebayor’s injury.

As I said earlier, despite the tumultuous week Arsenal have had it’s hard not to expect anything less than three points here. For me though, what will be more important than the result will be the performance that the boys and particularly the manager put in tonight. My challenge to the manager earlier in the week was to stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes and just pick the right players in their natural positions. Despite the injuries, he has a chance to do that tonight and it would be sad to see him pass it up.

As for the players, they need to show the fans that the difficult period just passed will not define their season. The onus will be on them to put in 110% in order to prepare adequately for the much bigger clash with United on Saturday. Anything less would be a disappointment.

Have your say on Arsenal’s match-up with Fenerbahce by leaving a comment.

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35 Responses to “Wenger’s rant won’t win any friends + Arsenal-Fenerbahce preview”

  1. ramugunner
    November 5, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    SF mate, Really good post. Absolutely, We as, Arsenal fans deserve good performance by the players and manager, at least 100 % commitment and passion in the pitch. Looking for Wenger’s response after Spurs and stoke in a row. My detailed preview will be up tomorrow. Quite busy with my Studies.

    P.S. Well done Obama.

  2. Spanish Fry
    November 5, 2008 at 6:23 pm #

    @ ramugunner – Cheers mate. And yes, well done Obama. An excellent outcome.

    Just by the by, what do you study? Where?

  3. MoMONEY
    November 5, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    OBAMA!

    I am hoping to see Vela sometime this week but he may be a better fit for United with Van Persie suspended…

  4. astroangel
    November 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    onwards & upwards,Arsenal sure win(maybe i am too blind )

  5. Bubble9
    November 5, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    Wow, even for Wenger’s history of mindless angry ranting and raving, this one is the best of the lot. Does he really honestly believe that the stoke players went out to deliberately maim a fellow professional. I don’t believe that for one minute. It sounds like the lunatic raving of a man who is trying to deflect the obvious flaws in his team. And as has been rightly pointed out it was RVP who was sent off for violent conduct. But Mr Wenger thought best not to mention that incident. Perhaps he didn’t see it!! RVP has a history of elbowing players and causing damage. That wasn’t mentioned either. Or Bergkamps frequent use of the elbow, or the way several of arsenals players surrounded Ruud van Nistlerooy after he missed a penalty a few years back. You could see the hatred in their faces as they bundled him about. He has lost the plot and is under immense pressure as he hasn’t won anything for 4 years. Grow up Mr Wenger, its gonna be a long hard season. And yes, you are right, you haven’t won any friends, but have probably encouraged other lesser teams to get stuck in as obviously arsenal don’t like the physical side of the game. I look forward to his next Basil Fawlty inpersonation.

  6. SettaKeys
    November 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    didn’t you say Eboue was injured?

  7. GunnerCesc4
    November 5, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    Come on Gunners … U owe the fans a good performance …

  8. Spanish Fry
    November 5, 2008 at 7:41 pm #

    @ SettaKeys – Yep I sure did. Mind blank! Obviously Sagna will have to start.

  9. vinny
    November 5, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    There is a lot of anger flowing around Gooners at the moment and I completely understand why. We are struggling at the minute and it is very hard to watch the club we all love perform like this whilst the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool go from strength to strength.

    There are a lot of Gooners out there with their own answers to the problems we are facing and whilst I respect every opinion my fellow Gooners have, one answer keeps popping up that I don’t agree with. Sack Arsene Wenger.

    This is without doubt the most difficult period that Arsene Wenger has faced in his time as Arsenal boss. Big questions are being asked of him for the first time by Gooners and he has to deal with it, but first, he needs to be given the chance to deal with it.

    The situation we find ourselves in is down to Wenger and he deserves the chance to get us out of it. He has done too much for this club to be sacked, we are not Tottenham, a club who panic and sack every manager at the first hint of trouble brewing. We have to much class for that.

    We have remained without silverware for four years, yes I know how frustrating it is, it’s even more frustrating when you know that Wenger could have strengthened the side to put us in a stronger position to challenge. But where would sacking him leave us? With more problems than we currently have that’s for sure.

    Trust me, losing Wenger would be someone else’s gain. How do you replace him and who with? The answer’s are not so simple. Losing Wenger would mean an exodus of half this side. I understand that we want players to be tied to Arsenal and not Wenger but unfortunately that’s the way it is. Players want to play for Arsene.

    At the moment the players are under performing and it IS down to a lack of experience. Players like Denilson have the potential to be good players but it’s too much to ask him to perform every week. He needs help and guidance from senior players, he won’t get that from the current squad, there is no one there to help him. That is where Wenger has gone wrong and needs to rectify it. He can’t expect a bunch of youngsters to play well every game.

    Arsene Wenger has made mistakes over his Arsenal career but the most glaring mistakes he has made have come over the last couple of years. It’s easy to see from our point of view what needs to be done. I only hope Le Boss can see too because he is in real danger of his legendary status being tainted at the moment.

    I don’t want Arsene Wenger to be sacked and I don’t think he will be either. But what I do want is for him to take a deep look at himself and admit that his way isn’t working out to plan. I know he is a proud man but it doesn’t make him weak to admit that he needs to makes some adjustments to his ways of management.

    He revolutionised the English Premiership but he is in danger of falling behind in the league that he helped to prosper. Arsenal football club have benefited hugely from Arsene Wenger but Arsene Wenger has also benefited from Arsenal in a big way.

    He deserves the chance to get Arsenal back to the top of the English game and redeem himself in the eyes of some Gooners who believe his star is losing it’s sparkle. I understand your frustrations my fellow Gooners but this is one Gooner who thinks that letting Arsene Wenger go would be a bad move for Arsenal.

  10. Spanish Fry
    November 5, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    Well said Vinny.

  11. jebo
    November 5, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    whassup…….i feel they will handle the tonights game well, but i don’t agree with what le boss is talking abt….i rather believe the kids are brave but he is taking that braveness away from them by limiting them to play the theoretical football not the real world football thing….u know he wants to play the clean and tackle less foot ball,,,but this facts are ugly if you have to win you need to face the fact when u are tackled then u have to defend your self …remeber the real devils ….whne savage tackled smith 2 years ago then on the home game at the final minutes his fellow ferdinanad avenged it for his bro….tell me any single player who showed that courage in our team except samir nasri vs barton????…this is men’s game not the brasilian chicks fottball if your opponenet played bad so you should get bad plans to defend your ass….that is what matters and also the fact. for me there is no pure football as in weneger’s theory….so let them play on the best way they should to nock of their opponenets even if it’s ugly………..that is the reality and u wanna win, then face it….

  12. jay-jay
    November 5, 2008 at 9:06 pm #

    Although RvP got the red card, the challenge that Shawcross comitted on Adebayor was 10 times worse and the play was out of play!!! Delap did a bad tackle aswell and I think both should have seen red! So I think AW’s comments are relevant, as for tonight, I am praying that Vela plays, the kid doesn’t play enough and so I hope he gets the oppurtunity, I think Niklas and Carlos will play v United though. Djourou to start aswell, Wilshere to play a part and Diaby who ripped the Turkish giants up in Istanbul!

  13. butterfingers
    November 5, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    haha i stopped reading vinny when you said sack arsne and then i was like wtf with sf saying well done. I don’t think gooners that remember ol brown paper bags under the table times and the reason merson ran his arse off everygame like he was on something (wait he was) understand what we had before arsene. Would of berkamp been as good under rioch not likley and who brought the likes of henry, viera and anelka to england for bugger all and then they went off to win world and uero cups with the likes of pires and wiltord after working with arsne. So I don’t think it’s people have lost it with arsne as such it’s just that he hasn’t found an attacking flair to the same extent and thats because clubs like chelsea employed so many scouts and that was arsnes secreat weapon as how many players have the likes of ex gunners for example grimaldi bring in young players and make them feel the club is at their heart. Look at ol red nose sending neville off to get ramsey because he spoke to him on the phone but arsne flew him on a private jet to the euros and got him to sign so for a young man to turn down manure to play for us and get one of their longest serving players must mean something will come shortley and for me it will be all the sweeter for it.

  14. raj
    November 5, 2008 at 9:59 pm #

    a lot of people are on about bringing Vela on against Utd & as much as I’m up for it I think its important to realise that Utd are a completely different ball game. They are not Sheff Utd or any other team that he has faced, that’s why I think wenger should play him tonight half time or a bit more, take cesc off as soon as we are 2-0 up or 3-0 and tell them whole dam team to defend. or imagine this, we absolutely smash the Turks this eve go on an beat Utd and continue the winning streak then that would mean keeping lankabaoyr out of the team.

  15. jebo
    November 5, 2008 at 11:43 pm #

    vellaaaaaaaa….great…i love that kid…but i am afraid that the neville or scholes virus will attack him as these germs don’t like such a playa

  16. JohnW
    November 6, 2008 at 1:00 am #

    Ha, Spanish you must be strong. On most of the blogs, people say that Arsene is crying like a baby about our players being maliciously tackled. I also believe that some of the tackles las week were meant to injure. On tonight’s game I would have
    Almunia, Djourou and Toure, Gibbs and Sagna, Song ans Cesc, Nasri, RVP and big Nick, then Diaby on the right.
    Saturday is a massive game against ManUre, but Clichy and Silvestre need to rest because they have been doing ok lately.

  17. Biggie Cockburn
    November 6, 2008 at 1:41 am #

    There are not many times that I totally agree with Wenger but on this occasion I find myself on his side. I’m not an Arsenal supporter but I like to see them play. Being a Magpie supporter I have nothing currently to boast about and mostly live on the memories of the early Premiership, Keegan era when they were given the title “The Entertainers.” However, I remember a couple of games with Everton almost a decade ago when the Magpies were almost kicked off the park and Everton’s bully tactics were used. It wasn’t pretty at all. There’s a difference between strong tackles where winning the ball is fair play but a bunch of mindless morons running around trying to injure their opponents is not my idea of “the essence” of the game. Unfortunately winning at all costs and big monetary rewards go along side each other and the fate of any player is in the hands of the referee/official who alone can decide when a player should continue to play or be red carded for needless and dangerous play. I consider Wenger to be one of the top coaches in the world but he needs one or two tough & gritty individuals to deal with the rise of blatant unprofessionalism.

  18. C-Bass
    November 6, 2008 at 2:40 am #

    I think Arsene’s comments are rediculous when looking at RVP’s behavior. However Wenger is clearly trying to put the spotlight, the pressure and the controversy on himself not his players. And I think trying to build up a siege mentality of sorts. Arsenal against the world. Mourinho does this all the time.

    I totally agree with your team selection SF. As I was opening my web browser I though how about giving Vela a shot on the left for this game? Also spot on with Djourou . I don’t see how Djourou can perform any worse than who were using currently.

    Did anyone notice that Freddie Ljungberg signed with the new MLS team in Seattle? As a Seattle resident I am quite excited by this. At the very least I will be able to witness one of Arsenal’s 50 greatest players.

  19. TayGoon
    November 6, 2008 at 3:16 am #

    Vela on the left, Nasri on the right. that will do for me. Without Adebayor and it being a home game, I wouldn’t want to see a 4-5-1. That means Diaby should babysit Wilshere and Ramsey on the bench.

  20. Spanish Fry
    November 6, 2008 at 6:36 am #

    @ butterfingers – I think you missed Vinny’s point. He wasn’t saying that he wanted Wenger sacked, he was saying that he was sick of people saying that he should be sacked!

  21. jay-jay
    November 6, 2008 at 6:50 am #

    0-0 HT, Van Persie very much at the heart of the arsenal chances. He is having a great time just not scoring, Everyone on 606 at the BBC keep texting in wanting Vela on in the second half, please Wenger listen to them!

  22. Demetrio
    November 6, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    LOL i cant even get mad about it anymore. We cant even beat a squad of players at home who has a manager that doesn’t even wanna be there. Its pathetic. I remember one point of the game RVP was yelling at Cesc because he didn’t send a through ball to him. I really would have love to seen Cesc tell him to shut the fu*k up. Its not like he would have scored anyways. RVP the R stands for RUBBISH! The only good thing i saw about the game was Fab(GK) was very impressive in my opinion. He had one moment where he should have come out and didn’t, but he was sooo much more assertive and confident when the ball was in the air. Almunia always gets caught behind his own man, Fab (GK) pushed his way through people to collect or punch clear. Even at a young age he looks more promising then Almunia and i think (since its obvious we wont win shit) Wenger may as well start him for the rest of the season to get him more experience. Also in January i pray Juve come looking to take RVP so we can buy a real striker.

  23. ramugunner
    November 6, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    So, 0-0. Not a bad result. At least we made a clean sheet after really bad performances in premier league. 0-0 draw against Fenerbahche is improvement than a loss against Stoke. If we get a win against Manu I will be happy.

  24. Spanish Fry
    November 6, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    @ Demetrio – You’re very negative these days. I think 0-0 is OK considering the last couple of games. The defence looked comfortable and it wasn’t a must-win clash. I understand that you’re frustrated with Arsenal so far this season but couldn’t you give the manager and his team a chance to fix things themselves?

    @ ramugunner – Agreed. A tentative step in the right direction. This game will have no influence on the Manchester United one and it was good to see the team – especially the defence and midfield – giving all they had.

  25. Spanish Fry
    November 6, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    @ Demetrio – I just realised that sounds a bit harsh on you. I guess what I mean to say is that, yes, there are problems and we’re well aware of them. But I think it’s time to start getting behind the boys and looking at the positives.

    Otherwise watching and discussing Arsenal is going to be a very frustrating process this season.

  26. MoMONEY
    November 6, 2008 at 8:41 am #

    Does anyone else think Nasri is a bit out of place on the wing?

  27. Jess
    November 6, 2008 at 8:44 am #

    Wow I thought RVP was one of the players who has actually shown iniative and heart lately. I didn’t think much of Bendtner. I thought RVP looked much sharper. I was surprised by how much we missed Walcott tonight but all in all I have to say I am content with tonight’s result.

  28. Spanish Fry
    November 6, 2008 at 9:24 am #

    @ Jess – ‘Content’ is a good word. I’m also content. I think Wenger got his selections right for this game and I think they say a lot about what he’s going to do against Manchester United.

    More on that later 🙂

  29. Spanish Fry
    November 6, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    @ MoMONEY – Nasri is in a little bit of a quiet patch. I don’t think he looks out of place, just that the team is not really attacking cohesively and it’s making him run into a lot of blind alleys. We saw that a lot against Fenerbahce, but it wasn’t only him. Diaby, van Persie, Bendtner, even Fabregas were getting caught out because the movement around the player with the ball wasn’t great.

  30. RBP-The Next RVP
    November 6, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    Guys from what i’ve read, VP had a good game, he hit the bar, i mean you can’t get much closer…and to be honest Bedtner is the best striker to compliment VP or Adebayor, he is not an “out and out” striker, and things should be looking up soon, Eduardo will be back early next year, (van P, Ade, and Eduardo) think of that for a strike force

  31. RBP-The Next RVP
    November 6, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    I meant bednter isnt the best*

    i made a typo, my bad

  32. Demetrio
    November 6, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    Out of Eduardo, RVP and Ade, Id sell RVP and bring in Huntelaar. I wouldn’t really care if Ade left either, Villa would be a perfect signing. A striker that can actually score. RVP is a fan favorite, but that doesn’t mean it makes him good. I’ll say, 2 years ago he showed he had a lot of promise to become good. After constant injury, and this years bad form, he doesn’t impress me at all.

  33. MoMONEY
    November 6, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Villa would be a dream and he fancies Arsenal but I doubt we shell out the cash… I disagree with thr RVP opinion… I would keep him and get rid of Ade though he would NEED to be replaced… I honestly dream of David Villa in a gunners shirt but there are more realistic options (Zaki, Fred, Benzema…)

  34. ssroslan
    November 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    I have given up in Arsenal. That’s really sad. After Stoke game, I’ve promised myself not to read anything anymore on Arsenal and will not watch Arsenal game till the end of the season! Wenger’s rants make it even worse! He always rants at opponents physical approach. His young team should be ready for that. When will they be physically ready. Another 5 years when the likes of Fabregas, Clichy and Denilson are 25 or 26?

  35. famous ijewemen
    November 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    ysir plase iwant my brother to join your club his name is samson

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