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Judge Wenger In May

A Gooner Matata Arsenal Goonersphere

"Judge me in May." A common phrase often spoken from the lips of Arsenal's greatest ever manager to remind us all to be patient, that the football season lasts for ten months, not one and it's where you are in May that's important not where you are in November. This coming May, The Arsenal will attempt to keep hold of The FA Cup by beating Aston Villa in the final, whilst they'll more than likely secure qualification for The Champions League by finishing inside the top four of The Premier League.

Arsenal should finish inside the top three in all fairness - they are favourites to finish second as I write this. Should The Arsenal retain The FA Cup, like they are favourites to do, then it's a very good season and one that mixed with Arsenal being in their best run of form since The Invincibles should see a cease to the calls for Wenger's head. Till the end of his contract in two years at least.    

Arsenal's fan base is hardly unanimous on whether it wants Wenger out or Wenger in. It's the main reason our fan base is referred to as fickle. When Arsenal lose, then the people who want Wenger gone will obviously be heard louder than the people who want Wenger in and vice versa. It may also be called fickle because of people like me. After our two nil loss away to Dortmund in September I thought it was time for a change, I'll admit it. I didn't tell him to "f**k off out my club" or a "dithering old c**t" at that train station in Stoke and I never would have done even if I was there. The greatest manager in our history is open to criticism, he admits as much himself, but he should find himself entitled to our respect.  

I just felt that Wenger had done as much as he could. The lack of a centre back and holding midfielder arriving in the summer despite our swelling bank balance, the heavy defeats the seasons before and the poor dropped points rendering our title challenge pretty much over by November were just some of the reasons I felt Wenger's reign had run its course. In my opinion if Arsenal didn't win The FA Cup then the 13/14 season would have been an under-performance by Wenger as well. The FA Cup saved that. The FA Cup could be lost this season and I'd still be more optimistic for next season than I was the start of this one. Something special is happening at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger deserves to see it.

For the record, I find the infighting amongst Arsenal fans over whether Arsene should stay or go with people dedicating themselves to factions like the WOB (Wenger Out Brigade) and the AKB (Arsene Knows Best) pathetic. The phrase "WOB" began to come about during the nine years Arsenal went without a trophy. Arsene Wenger has had no problem admitting he made mistakes over the course of his career, like any manager has, it's part and parcel of the job but on the whole those years where Arsenal couldn't compete financially with Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs and yet still finished inside the top four year upon year were a great success. Wenger, in my opinion, absolutely smashed it.

wenger press conference

If you judge success purely on trophies won then I feel very sorry for you. Success is relative. If Burnley stay up this season they will probably celebrate the same way we'll do should we retain our FA Cup. Arsene's target with Arsenal during the barren years was to finish inside the top four, qualify for The Champions League, take the money it rewarded and pay some of the 400 million pounds it cost to build Arsenal's new home.

He did it, he achieved what was asked of him. When Spurs finished fourth and missed out on Europe's top table due to Chelsea's European Cup win, Arsenal finished third. When big players left for money we couldn't offer to challenge for trophies out of our range he still got players like Squillaci, Almunia, Denilson, Santos etc to finish inside the top four. Spurs and Liverpool (pending a miracle) couldn't do that despite spending £100 million. Doing that has allowed Arsenal to spend £80 million on just two players. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Two genuine world class talents. When Bacary Sagna left to warm Manchester City's bench Arsenal spent approximately £26 million on two right backs in Calum Chambers and Mattieu Debuchy. Arsenal are now in a position where they can compete financially with the best in the Premier League, they have £138 million in cash reserves. This position of financial power is allowing Arsenal to move up a level and it's largely down to Arsene Wenger's work.

In January of this year Arsenal signed a centre back in Gabriel and Francis Coquelin has been a revelation in the defensive midfield role since being recalled from Charlton. The centre back and holding midfielder many called out for had arrived. We all know there was an element of luck in Coquelin's arrival back at The Arsenal, but many players just sometimes need that break. It's Arsene who is picking him now and it's Arsene coaching him now though so just enjoy it. Enjoy the form of Mesut Ozil, enjoy Alexis Sanchez, who, in my humble opinion, is the most exciting player Arsenal have had since Thierry Henry, enjoy the discovery of Hector Bellerin and enjoy the run Arsenal are currently on. 

alexis ozil arsenal celebrate goal assist

Our form since our two nil loss to Southampton in December is as follows;


That's incredible. The most in form team across Europe's top leagues.

Chelsea will win the title this year and Arsenal should have come closer to challenging. The poor pre-Christmas cost us and even if Arsenal do win on Sunday it'll still be a miracle for Arsenal to seriously challenge Chelsea. Arsenal should also have done better in The Champions League. Our second loss in nineteen games costing us but Arsenal will head into next season in title winning form and hopefully with their second trophy in two years in the cabinet. This transfer window coming is the first in a long time where instead of needing a player we find ourselves only looking to improve on what we have. There's every reason to be optimistic that Arsenal could do something very special next season and that's because of Arsene Wenger. He deserves the next two years; to rob him of this opportunity to reap the fruits of his efforts would be criminal.

I promise next time I'll judge him in May.

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Tags: Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, Sagna, AFC, FA Cup, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil

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