Yesterday his beloved Arsenal side had a shocker. They lost at home to West Brom 3-2 and for Arsenal, it doesn’t get much worse than that. I expected Wenger to come out after the game and criticise the referee, the assistant referees, the fourth official, West Brom’s tactics, the weather or something else. What he actually did was quite different.
I believe this is the first time I have ever heard Wenger criticise his own players.
“It was a poor performance, defensively and offensively. Not one player performed to their level. We had an off day and were not good enough to win the game. We were not capable of the right level of concentration. The concentration that gives you the sharpness was not there today. We were poor everywhere, at the back, up front and in the middle of the park. Anything was difficult for us today, to pass the ball, to win it back. Overall we got what we deserved, that is zero points. We didn’t deserve more.”
Wenger refused to single out anyone for criticism despite another poor performance from Manuel Almunia.
“You can have question marks over many players today if you look at the performance, especially defensively. Many players made massive mistakes defensively. I do not want to talk about any one performance, we were collectively poor. You could single out many players. Overall, it was a poor team performance and we have to analyse why and respond well. It’s unexplainable how flat the whole thing looked for the whole game, it’s a mystery for me. Something in our performance today was not right. It was unusual to see a team as flat was we were.”
In some ways it was quite refreshing to hear Wenger talk like that but in others it may raise some concerns. He has been at the club for a long time and he has never publicly spoken out about his players before. They must have disappointed him at some stage in his time at the club before so what has changed now?
I think this may be the first season for a while when Wenger has thought his side have a genuine chance to challenge for the title. Because of that he knows that he can’t afford to drop three points at home to West Brom. He can no longer talk about his young players learning and developing. He knows that they have got to start delivering.
I know Wenger refused to single out Almunia but surely it is unrealistic to expect a side to win the title with him in goal isn’t it?
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