Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Alan Green: Whinging Wenger is losing plot

Time running out for Arsene

So Arsene Wenger's claim at the start of the week that he was confident his team would achieve a Premier League and Champions League 'double' is shown for what it was: not so much an attempt to stir his players into one massive final push, simply ludicrous.

And I'm getting very tired of listening to his constant whinging.

Take the two penalty decisions in the European games. I, too, thought that Dirk Kuyt fouled Aleksandr Hleb in the first leg and that it should have been a penalty but to imply, as the Arsenal manager seemed to, that it wasn't given because the referee was Dutch - like Kuyt - was feeble.

Then, on Tuesday night, when Kolo Toure's clumsy challenge on Ryan Babel was rightly penalised by the Swedish official, Wenger complained again.

Perhaps Babel is Scandinavian, not Dutch. I used to think far better of Wenger but his increasingly one-eyed view of football has become tedious.

He lamented the lack of experience of the Arsenal defending at the penalty incident without apparently noticing that the man at fault was his most experienced defender!

And, if it's true that his unquestionably talented Arsenal squad lacks depth and experience, then who is to blame for that? Surely it's Wenger himself?

There was a marvellous quote recently from the manager. In the light of the massively improved financial state of the club, he was questioned about a rumour he'd been handed a £100 million transfer kitty: "What would you do with it?"

"I'd hand it back," came the reply. And, of course, Wenger would. He absolutely refuses to depart from principles that insist on buying young, relatively unknown talent cheaply (UEFA are keen to stop the practice because it's 'unfair' on the parent club) and bringing them up in the 'Wenger way'.

In so many ways, that's admirable and those of us that are neutral generally love the way Wenger's team plays - even many that aren't 'neutral'.

But it also has to deliver and this is the third season in succession that Arsenal have failed to win a trophy.

Wenger appears bulletproof but for how much longer? He certainly wouldn't have survived at Chelsea or at Liverpool.

He should have bought some players in January and it seems, albeit in retrospect, criminal that he allowed Diarra - immense in Portsmouth's run to Wembley - to depart to Fratton Park.

It wouldn't be for the first time if I got this completely wrong. I'm commentating at Old Trafford tomorrow and, who knows, Arsenal might turn it on and might turn over the Champions-elect.

I doubt it. Instead, as Wenger admitted in his state of total despair in the aftermath of the events at Anfield, that will be "very, very difficult" .

What he needs to do is ditch the odd principle and buy some good, ready-made players in the summer to strengthen what he already has. Being pretty isn't enough, you have to win trophies.

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