Arsenal Club Focus – Was Wenger right?

The 28th August 2011 was one of the worst days in Arsene Wenger’s footballing history. His poor quality, inexperienced Arsenal side had just been dismantled 8-2 by Premier League champions Manchester United. Many were calling for Wenger to either strengthen heavily on the impending transfer deadline day and few were calling for the Frenchman’s head.

Unusually, Wenger reduced his stubborn demeanour and listened to the fans. The signings of Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos and Park Chu-Young went some way to destroying the belief that Wenger does not like to spend money. Since those players have been introduced and integrated, Arsenal have been in form with only one defeat in their last 11 fixtures in all competitions.

Wenger is not resting on his laurels. 15 seasons in the Premier League have taught him the value of improving and striving to succeed again and again. The Frenchman is fighting a battle both domestically and in Europe and is focused on succeeding with Arsenal, not silencing those who doubted his abilities as a manager three months ago.

‘At the moment I feel we are more focused – saying ‘look I am right’ is less important for me than trying to continue the quality of our team and our results’, Wenger said.

The Arsenal boss is more obliged to provide those who hold strong affections with the club positive results. Wenger clearly cares for the Gunners and the diehard Arsenal fans care for him. After all, Wenger took Arsenal unbeaten throughout the 2003/04 season and has delivered three Premier League titles as well as four FA Cups, so there should be no resentment from anyone connected or affiliated with the football club.

The Arsenal squad overall has developed a more mature attitude. The acquisition of Arteta has proved to be another astute buy from Wenger with the Spaniard showing the class that made him a household favourite with Everton. Of course, the Frenchman has relied on the explosive goal talents of his talismanic captain Robin Van Persie, but the overall support play of Theo Walcott and summer signing Gervinho has been crucial to ensuring the Dutchman gets the opportunities to score.

With Jack Wilshere still to return, Wenger must feel that his side can maximise their potential and make a push for the Champions League spot that seemed so far away when they were given a footballing lesson at Old Trafford.

Some fans are still disgruntled with the lack of trophies in six seasons and Wenger himself knows that a trophy has to come soon before the minority become the majority. The opportunity to extend their run comes away at Norwich on Saturday and Wenger knows he is in for a battle with the Canaries riding high in mid-table.

Wenger will be wary of travelling to lesser opposition after their September defeat to Blackburn Rovers, a defeat that seemed to kick his side into shape and sent them on their path of improvement. The job is not yet done and Arsenal crave to return to the glory days of Henry and Vieira to deliver a trophy to the empty cabinet within the halls of the Emirates Stadium.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Norwich v Arsenal

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