Arsene Wenger

“To play attractive football is every teams’ dream but winning and getting results is the harsh reality” – *Jose Mourinho*

Has reality hit Arsene Wenger or is he still living in the euphoria of his invincible team of 2003/04?

Following an unsuccessful period at Nancy which culminated in his dismissal in 1987, Wenger joined AS Monaco; the club won the league championship in1988. In 1991, Wenger guided Monaco to victory in the Coupe de France, but their failure to regain the league title in later seasons led to his departure from the club by mutual consent in 1994. He briefly coached Japanese J League side Nagoya Grampus Eight, which won the Emperor’s cup and Japanese Super cup during his stint.

In 1996, Wenger was named manager of Arsenal FC. In the 2003/04 season they Played 49, Won 36, Drawn 13, Lost None. The Arsenal squad which set a new unbeaten league record between May 2003 and October 2004 will live long in the memory and forever in the history books, even after its record had been broken.

Arsène Wenger had built a team that could be compared to any side in Europe. With Sol Campbell and KoloToure at the back, Patrick Vieira and Pires in midfield and Henry partnering Dennis Bergkamp up front, Arsenal had too much steel and too much style for their Premiership rivals; but whatever the “Invincibles” achieved, was purely down to a squad full of leaders and men. Lehmann, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Parlour, Viera, Henry, each one of them was born headstrong & never required any motivation from the manager. Arsene taught them how to play beautiful football, something he is adept at doing.

When Ruud van Nistelrooy’s late penalty finally defeated the famous unbeaten side of 2003-04, he brought the curtain down on Arsenal success for over a decade now and counting.When Sol Campbell’s jabbed leg brought Wayne Rooney down, the beginning of the end was put in motion. Perhaps the greatest Arsenal team to ever be assembled was slowly but surely on a free fall, to be replaced by a long line of inferior mannequins. In Arsene Wenger’s words “We had technical talent, we had the intelligence and the mental aspect that goes with that, and we had the physical potential to do it.”

In Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup tells the story of his captivity. His account is distinguished from 150 slave-authored narratives published before the Civil War, as Northup had been born free, as Arsenal was winning and dominant in EPL.  It is a brutal story, which provides an unvarnished view of the inhumanity inherent in the system of chattel bondage

Did you just say BONDAGE? Hmmm! could the North Londoners, be in any worse form of slavery at the hands of task master WENGER Le Professeur?

Frankly I don’t know…

But if slavery was a hellish nightmare, living death in the words of one scholar, Twelve Years a Slave explains most explicitly the Igbo saying ‘’odinduonwukanma’’

Some men and women refuse to be dehumanized by dehumanizing circumstances, creating meaningful relationships and maintaining estimable values in the most difficult of circumstances…hehehe.. I’m sure you can co-relate it to my Arsenal people…a sneak peep of Arsenal TV, will surely be a sweet appetizer

Through his years of enslavement, Northup never surrendered his desire to reclaim his birthright in freedom. Heart-rending betrayals frustrated his several attempts to escape.

Please what is Wenger’s escape plan, could it be his sneaking from fourth to 4th every season, or bribing Referee Moss like he did against Burnley?

They always start the season very strong and make their fans believe that this is the season when the drought will end but every year it is déjà vu. Wenger has lowered fan expectations to a point where fans are happy ending the season with CL spot ONLY. Who says brain washing is not a skill in football?!

ARSENAL has spent approximately 3,800 days on the fourth position since the start of the Premier League – which adds up to NINE years-

Arsène Wenger suggested that Arsenal should regard the prospect of securing fourth place in the Premier League and entry into next season’s Champions league qualifying round as comparable to winning a cup. “The first trophy is to finish in the top four,” said Arsenal’s manager in the wake of a 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round defeat at Sunderland in 2012. Since Patrick Vieira left in 2005 Arsenal has finished fourth six times in 11 seasons. How many times have they finished third? Four!

Haha! Having finished in the fourth position for a record 15 times since the English top flight league started, this consistency is incredible and should be respected.

Wenger always reels off excuses like he’s planning for his weekly grocery shopping, from finances to injuries, to referee decisions, and bullish & defensive styles of play by his opponents…the beats goes on, am sure with CHELSEA Champions elect this season, we might be hearing that as Donald Trump became the 45th president, Putin hacked his match tactics and gave them to Chelsea.

The most pathetic of them being financially related, Wenger despite paying himself hefty is very strict and stingy with player deals and wages which has made Arsenal not so sought after by players. A picture showing a member of Arsenal’s medical team, rushing to treat PetrCech of an injury;  was carrying a kit bag, with the champions league logo cello-taped to cover the Champions league logo…inbox me for a perusal. He keeps playing yo-yo with Ozil & Alexi’s contracts like it was his job negotiating or his money to spend.

“I had a huge sense of responsibility when we built the stadium to get the club through it without going bankrupt,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website in 2013. “The first years were difficult and also explained why we lost some players.”  Such excuses will make you ask, has any other team built a stadium and still won trophies? Diego Simeone has managed to transform Atletico Madrid into a respected force and Champions in Spain and Europe without breaking the bank. Recent comments of Alexis Sanchez suggesting that the players lack the self-belief that they can win the title affirms the fear of many, that Arsene Wenger cannot provide enough motivation and drive to the team. While players of Atleti (little wonder they are called Atleti warriors) Liverpool & Dortmund  under Klopp see nothing as impossible & here a senior player of Arsenal is admitting at a crucial point that his teammates lack hunger and self-belief.

Arsene Wenger failed to realize that Leicester City is also an indication of his failure for many years. The fact that they did it rubbishes all of his excuses and shows that he has indeed underachieved. Momentous, historic and simply remarkable, Leicester city triumphed against all odds – 5000/1 odds to be precise (I wish I had played bet 9ja)– and reached the dizzying heights of first place by beating almost everyone that stood in their away last season.

Messi…Drogba…Ronaldo…DiMaria…YayaToure…Xabi Alonso…CarlosPuyol…company…Pique…Buffon…Zlatan..

Am sure you’re wondering what this man is doing…Galaticos team sheet? Sorry to disappoint you, in the world of espionage we call it ‘the eleven(11) that could have been’’ written and published by Arsene Wenger himself.

Of course being aBest Seller he did a sequel titled, ‘some of my greatest signings’’ which included but not limited to Mikael Silvestre…Francis Jeffers…Chamakh…Denilson…Senderous…Pascal Cygan et al. Albert Einstein would surely have been dead jealous of Wenger’s intelligence.

Manchester City (69), Liverpool (64), Manchester United (63), Chelsea (50) have all had more separate injuries than Arsenal this season.The Gunners are only the 14th most injury-hit team in the league, having suffered 37 separate injuries, even Tottenham has (42), so what could it be?

When it wants to rain, it does ‘cats & dogs’ …..At a time when Arsenal tightened the purse-strings, was the arrival of billionaire owners at Chelsea and later Manchester City, as they changed the landscape of English football forever. After years of Arsenal and Manchester United dominance, Roman Abramovich’s exorbitant spending and Mourinho’s arrival from Porto turned Chelsea into a new powerhouse. It took Jose playing his first team’s eleven in Carling & FA cup matches …winning the league back to back for Arsene to change his tactics from his preferred 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 as the modern game demands now.

However there is no doubt that Wenger hates playing against Jose Mourinho. In 15 meetings, Mourinho’s teams have beaten Arsenal seven times and drawn eight, including a 6-0 trashing by Chelsea in what was Arsene’s 1000thgame in charge of the Gunners. What an amazing anniversary gift, befitting to  the Pharaoh of Emirates. The only time Wenger has ever ‘beaten’ Mourinho was in the 2015 Community Shield – a game that is as prestigious as a friendly between River Angels &Ifeanyi Uba FC.

Last year was definitely the most disappointing because all the other bigwigs – Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea & Liverpool all held a conference and agreed to gift Arsenal the title, in the spirit of brotherhood.

Wenger “like” an old dog that can’t learn new tricks & he lacks the balls of steel that most of his peers seem to be having these days, stuck to his losing ways and bequeathed the trophy to Leicester like mother Theresa.  He has become stubborn & delusional lately. His transfer policies are messed up, little wonder he went to buy Suarez from a One pound shop!  His tactics are wrong in small & big games; substitutions ineffective. Like a curse, anything he touches withers. His team is just made of mediocre and average players, to name but a few. Xhaka de zulu-the red card god, Per Mertersaker  who’s defensive astuteness and qualities has made him a top summer target of Rangers of Enugu…well what do I know about Mademoiselle Giroud who can’t do 25 goals a season, a mark of any strikers that wins the league across Europe’s top  5 major leagues.  Did I forget the speed star Theo Walcott who missed his calling to rival Usain Bolt?

Cesc Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Adebayo, V.Persie, Song, et al  are EPL Champions, attained only when they decided to trek all the way from North London to Stamford bridge, up north Manchester and even to Catalonia respectively, just to smell, taste and savor the sweetest joy of a victory!

Talking about winning, NO Arsenal fan, player or management has ever used an Iphone to tweet;

‘’YES! YES!! Arsenal Champions Of England; once again!  #COYG

“In this country, only one manager is not under pressure. Every other manager is. We cannot be below par. We have to meet the objectives. There is one outside that list, but good for him. You know who…so who are you to complain and say Wenger has failed? Jose could be right.

My my! Isn’t Wenger a piece of art, always struggling to zip up his jackets during matches, one can only wonder which is worse, to zip Arsenal up from 4th to 1st or fourth to fourth!

Present table shows them in an unfamiliar 2nd position which has left ‘gunners’ drooling again as usual, but my village elders will always say “’we don’t know how an elephant got to the top of a tree, but one thing is for sure, it will fall down’’. To Arsenal and fans alike, they understand more than any, that there’s nowhere like 4th, sorry home. With Arsene as their gaffer, they can sleep easy knowing they are well and truly FOURTHI-FIED!

But one can say that in the UCL Arsenal….v Bayern………….

Stopppp! What is wrong with me…my apologies, it was me, just an un-intended typing error!

Ok, let’s stick to the EPL!

With a 4-6 match ban, or a stadium ban imminent, Arsene & Arsenal can only kiss the trophy and even their coveted 4th position goodbye once again.

The question now remains in 20 years of being the Arsenal manager with just 6 years of success can Arsene Wenger be truly considered amongst the game’s greatest coaches, a failure specialist or just a mere flash in pan: fluke one might say?

The ‘Invincibles’ seem to be eons of ages ago, but reality tells us that indeed Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are still INVINCIBLE & FOURTHI-FIED since 2004.

-Uche Abugu


Uchechukwu Abugu Vincent is an unrepentant Igbo man from Enugu state, Nigeria. He was born and raised by noble Catholic parents. Married with 3 handsome boys, to the best wife on the planet. He is a UNN graduate, ex-banker, entrepreneur, ardent & hardcore football lover who writes as a hobby.

You can reach him on the following social media handles : IG – utchayabugu, Twitter – @utchayabugu,  FB – Utchay Abugu