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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Same old Arsenal, can Wenger change things?

You could forgive Arsenal fans for feeling a sense of deja vu as yet another season looks set to end unfulfilled in depressingly familiar circumstances.

After beginning February with hopes high in four competitions two disastrous months have seen them fail in all of them.

You get the impression though that the fallout from this year may actually force Wenger to divert from his stubborn path of bringing through young players.

To an extent it is admirable, and to keep the club comfortably in the Champions League positions while they pay off debts from their new stadium and so keeping the side in profit is testament to Wenger's skill as a coach.

Most Arsenal fans acknowledge this and so do not want the Frenchman to leave. What frustrates them though is when Wenger says the money is there, but he chooses not to spend it. That in their eyes is Wenger's own pig-headedness and ego getting in the way of success.

Everyone, be it an ex-pro, manager or fan can see what is wrong with this Arsenal side. Where are the Tony Adams's of the Patrick Vieira's? The drive and determination not to be beaten, to pull team-mates through difficult games, it has been absent from this Gunners side for years, yet each passing trophy less season only seems to strengthen Wenger's determination not to do something about it. They may qualify for the tournament, but the Champions League promotions suggest they are always missing something.

But now I feel he has little choice. The take-over by American Stan Kroenke may have an impact on the internal politics of the club and although I'm sure Wenger will retain full control of player purchases, he maybe leaned on to spend big. Those looking at the Champions League best odds next season should bear this in mind.

I don't necessarily think that would be a bad thing because if that had happened last summer and Wenger had bitten the bullet and bought Mark Schwarzer, or Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka (could you see those three making such a catastrophic error as the one seen in the Carling Cup final?) players with grit and leadership, they may be ending this season in a far better mood than they are.

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