Wenger Explains Key Decisions In AGM Speech And Q&A

I enjoyed listening to Wenger’s speech and Q&A at the AGM. Le Boss was honest and forthcoming in his usual charming style and covered some important topics.

Firstly in his speech, Arsene acknowledged the fact that we have room for improvement.

I don’t say we don’t have any weaknesses. We are conscious of that but we work very hard on it.

It’d be naive bordering on stupid to think that AW is blind to the problems but many continue to believe that. Arsene pre-empted the questions about a goalkeeper with a fairly clear explanation.

I get many advices that we take on board, but for me it’s very difficult to come out on any specific position on any player. Why? Because if I say, “I wanted him I didn’t get him”, it is basically a message to my player who plays that you’re not good enough and you’re there because we didn’t find a player who is better than you.

I think that’s as much as we should expect to get from him. It’s clear we tried signing some big names but it didn’t materialize. I’d not be surprised if at a later date it comes out that Liverpool and Lyon were among the clubs who refused to negotiate with us on this matter.

Then there are those who like to believe that an extra 2 million would have seen us get Schwarzer but it’s extremely difficult to have a rational debate with someone who takes unreliable media rumours as gospel. Similarly, what can you say to a random, meaningless statement like, “anyone is better than Almunia”?

My best guess is that Arsene must have discussed the goalkeeping position with experts in the field and identified some players who can do better for us. We tried to get them but it didn’t work out in a difficult market. I can understand why clubs like Liverpool, Lyon, or Ajax would have been reluctant to let a big player leave. I’m also quite confident that we’ll continue to monitor the situation and make a move if the status changes.

Then a gentleman, white hair experienced looking and all, asked him a question about playing with a dedicated holding midfielder alongside Song. I’m sure this is a thought most fans have had and many have been wondering why we don’t do it.

I considered it and did it already. We have many players who can be defensive and offensive, for example Jack Wilshere. When a player is good technically, like Diaby or Denilson, they’re both sides of players. But if you look at their defensive record and you compare them with defensive holding players in the whole league, then you’ll see that the number of balls they win, the number of balls they intercept is as high if not higher than typical holding midfielders. And when they have the ball they can play as well.

We do not restrict our players when we win the ball back and that’s why maybe some people think we do not play with two holding midfielders. In “Holding” you’ve the word “Stay” that means do not attack, that’s not the way we play and sometimes you can be exposed but what people forget it’s one of our strengths as well. When we score five or six goals it’s because we have the potential to attack and to restrict players who have that potential is to take their qualities away.

In our sport you never say never, but the most important is to be faithful to the principle and to find the balance. If we do not attack you’ll quickly be bored here and people will say, “Come on man, we pay a lot of money to watch your games, we want to win the games but we want to see goals as well”.

I think the keywords here is ‘balance’. We have to find the right balance and with someone like Wilshere in the team we are getting close to that. Ramsey seems like another one who can do just as well as Wilshere has been doing. I’ve also seen a conscious effort by the midfielders to swap positions and to cover for each other. That seems to be the key to achieving the right balance. We end up in trouble when this understanding is lost.

Normally, when Cesc is on the pitch he reads the situations well and often drops deeper when the opposition is pressing us and we’re finding it difficult to move the ball forward. Others who play in the advanced role will have to learn from Fabregas and that should allow us to do better even when El Capitan is missing.

Interestingly, I’ve not seen many people acknowledge the fact that Jack Wilshere is as good as any big midfield signing we could have made this season. Instead of being on loan, if he had been a Bolton player we would not have been able to sign him for less than 20M in my opinion and that makes him a world class signing. Just because he has come through the youth system, we should not take him for granted or undervalue the youngster.

I highly recommend listening to this speech and this Q&A session on ATVO. If you don’t have ATVO I’d recommend signing up, it’s more than value for money.


23 Responses to Wenger Explains Key Decisions In AGM Speech And Q&A

  1. Zgunner says:

    I still don’t understand people want to get rid of Wenger, usually people who don’t understand the vision he has, and his ability to make things happen. It never made any sense to me the sort of criticism I see against Arsene.

    For example last season, so much moaning about Arsene not buying a striker… Why buy a striker that’s going to need time to adjust, Chamakh is coming on the free (and now they don’t say a word about Wenger’s bargaining genius, no praises, nothing, some fans..), And most important… He didn’t want to shatter Bendtner’s confidence by getting another striker. Same scenario played out this year with the goalie situation.

    I’m still willing to bet 100$ that when Almunia returns he’s going to do great.

    • critic says:

      ironically enuff, most of the ppl who want him out are the one who started supporting arsenal b’cz of him…..we live in a mad mad world….

    • 7masters says:

      I have to break it to you that Wenger has made many major mistakes but put these way, We can do no better let alone even run a five a side. Sometimes the mistakes was due to his arrogance and stubbornness refusing to fill the gap that needed urgent attentions. Holding Midfielder is a must for Arsenal with two full back overlapping all the time it a must to have someone whose jobs is seat back like Gilberto. It funny when we had Gilberto we conceded less but where let down by overall team performances.

      Also I cannot understand people like le Grove and Arsenal Review some dude called Palmer or something
      These lot are not football fans at all and they simply hate Wenger no matter what he does for Arsenal day in day out. Wenger has taken guess work that was George Graham and made Arsenal always in top four with limited fund. I think he is genius but he has some flaws like all geniuses that a fact and we should point out when he does make major mistakes.

      The biggest mistakes he has made is to look down on Carling cup and wrong team selection in big games. Sometimes he really bottle it before even a ball has been kicked. But we should be proud of record all these five years without a trophy is becoming like mental damage thing to players and we need to support them and let them focus on their game instead of running around like headless chickens.

      Also one thing we really need to let the players work hard and focus on their job without so much criticism. I have seen other players make major howlers Pepa Reina for Liverpool but their fans hardly crucify him for it, While with our fans one mistake and our supporters go on for ages until it affect player concerned etc Denilson, Fabianski to name few. These people have major issues with their life and hence their constant criticism, It weird to see some people who have nothing better except moan all weeks, Months on end. My advice get a life dudes

      • desigunner says:

        I just wanted to mention one fact – In the 06-07 season when he was the captain, Gilberto scored 10 goals for us in the Premiership. I think he was second highest scorer for us that season. Again just shows that we need balance and not a dedicated guy sitting back.

  2. Frank says:

    I completely agree with you regarding Wilshere. If he would be playing for Bolton, his transfer fee would be close to Rooney’s ManUtd teen transfer record. Possibly higher if he keeps it up. Average young English player go for £10m…

    • desigunner says:

      That’s true, given the inflation these days and the fact that people want 18-20M for player like Gary Cahill, someone as talented as Wilshere would cost a crazy amount.

      He should be recognized as a world class signing.

  3. Filip says:

    Arsenal are showing interest in Kara Mbodj- 20 years old,6ft3in defensive midfielder.It is good if Song has some competition , isnt it?Affelay is worth only 5 or 6 mln euros.What do you think, desi ?

    • santori says:

      Let’s not forget on Emmanuel Frimpong.

    • santori says:

      I was just thinking the same after the game against Shaktar, one of the commentators quite astutely pointed it out.

      Seems like there is no define role for the central mids and they rotate in their duties between going forward and covering.

      This is a difficult task to get used to but if/when we do polish it (and we certainly seemed to have had it down against Donensk), it will be a formidable weapon in our Arsenal.

      Ditto the forward attacking midfield positions. Again I don’t see Wenger particularly fixing any of those positions rather affording the likes of Arsharvin, Wilshere, Nasri, Fabregas, Diaby or Rosicky license to drift.

      What’s important in playing this sort of fluid positioning is communication. Get it right and we are unpredictable, devastating.Get it wrong and we’ll be all at sea.

      Looks like we’re beginning to get the right grasp of it.

    • MSL says:

      Arshavin is very similar to Afellay isn’t he. I cannot see where we would fit Afellay given that our midfield is already packed with competition. Vela is already there who can play as a winger too.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure we are very close to signing Mbodj. I think it’s just interest but these days people make a big deal out of it. If we sign him eventually then he must really be good, I’ve faith in our system of picking the right players.

      Affelay for 5-6 M ? I doubt that will happen. Even if it does, we already have Arshavin and we are getting Wellington Silva soon. Not sure where Affelay will play. If we get a winger, we need someone better than Affelay. He might end up like Babel.

      • santori says:

        I wouldn’t mind a bit more speed out wide on the left or right up front.

        Someone who has pace to burn (like Walcott) but also guile.

        If Vela can’t step up, perhaps there is a slot open for someone who can play both wing and as a striker.

  4. venky says:

    In my opinion, failing to cover for the DM when he presses forward is the main reason why we lose big games.Against smaller teams we manage to stay out of trouble because they don’t have the quality to hurt us on counter attacks,even they produce odd goals on occasions, Blackburn this season being a good example.Against teams like Chelsea,Manu we get caught because they have the quality for ferocius counter attacks. What I am irked about is, is it that hard to drive home that point to our midfielders ?. After all it is not rocket science, you just have to see that your DM is going forward and come back deeper for cover, thats it simple.
    On a different note I am happy for Fabianski, more than doing any fantastic saves, he has not done any blunders thats the most important thing

    • critic says:

      grr…commentator curse…don’t say it..

    • MSL says:

      Our system with rotating midfielders between attacking and defending is slowly developing. The injuries have been a headache and hindering this development. Shaktar match was the perfect example of Cesc, Wilshere and Song taking turns to get forward.

    • desigunner says:

      I can see what you mean but it’s never that simple.

      For instance, someone like Diaby always wants to go forward. That’s his nature and instinct. When he sees space in front of him he moves forward. At that time Song might also have gone forward. It’s not easy to see your own options and that of the team-mate all the time.

      That said, we have to get it right if we want to win the big games. It would come with a great deal of training and playing consistently in one position. Certainly not as simple a task as it sounds.

  5. afrogoon says:

    dude…..how do you come up with these articulate,immaculate,intelligent as well as excellent posts…..no drama,no baiting,no intentional baiting to get hits……just pure reason….keep up the good work my arsenal bother…keep it up!

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks. I just write what makes sense to me and seems important. Probably down to my analytical nature in general. And I’m encouraged when there is an good exchange of intelligent ideas, observations and opinions. Thanks to all the regular contributors for that.

  6. afrogoon says:

    what the hell….these typos are crazy

  7. drvics (mumbai gooner) says:

    Not many surprises with regards to those comments, are there Desi? Especially for those of us that have basic understanding of a rational decision making process. Dont get me wrong, I dont claim that he is perfect. Wenger is very intelligent, very knowledgeable and very very logical (almost Vulcan, I’d say), that is an undeniable fact.

    I have said this before that we cannot blame him for every apparent mistake without taking into consideration the environment and the premises he made while taking that decision. For example, his premise that our youngsters are good enough and hence certain positions would be filled internally rather than through transfers. We can question his premise, but considering not many of us watch our young players day in day, it would be stupid to do so.

    The worst comments are those that assume that he is doing nothing (especially during the transfer period).
    Clearly, those who make these comments dont have a rational thought in their puny minds. Just because a reason for a decision isnt given, doesnt mean there isnt a logical reason there. And when reasons are given, he is called a ‘whiner’.

    Wenger will make mistakes and some of them could even be monumental, but he’s only human. I think a quote from another very wise old man would explain it better:
    “In fact, being – forgive me – rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.”
    – Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

    • desigunner says:

      Well said and nice quote 😀

      The worst argument I’ve heard is, “Wenger cannot see what is obvious to everyone”.

      Somehow people have lost the ability to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who works so hard for the club.

  8. […] Wenger Explains Key Decisions In AGM Speech And Q&A I enjoyed listening to Wenger’s speech and Q&A at the AGM. Le Boss was honest and forthcoming in his usual charming […] […]

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