Jack Wilshere has defended Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and says the Gunners’ recent poor form is the fault of the players.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere says the players ought to be blamed for the malaise around Emirates Stadium at present – not manager Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure in the last few seasons, with memories of the last time the Gunners won a trophy fading further into the distance as days pass.
“The boss has been here for 16 years and he’s been doing a great job so you can’t question him,” said Wilshere to ITV.
“A manager can put us on the pitch and motivate us but we have to do it when we’re on the pitch. But we’re starting badly and getting punished for it.
“I think the players will take responsibility, we’re man enough to take it.”
Wenger is one of the last ‘auteurs’ of football management, alongside Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, and seems to be involved in every decision at the club. Perhaps it is here that Wenger’s failing lies, as some of his recent purchases have been less successful than he would have liked.
He has earned a reputation as a supreme spotter of talent, with players like Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas all mere potential developed by Wenger into world class talent.
However, the scouting networks at other clubs have caught up with that of the Gunners, and those clubs often have more financial muscle than Arsenal too.
Midmarket gambles from Wenger in the £10-15 million range – Jose Antonio Reyes, Andrey Arshavin, Alex Hleb and Gervinho to name but a few – have had mixed success to say the least, and it may take the releasing of the shackles of the Emirates Stadium payments that results in a renewed bid to stay at the top.
Arsene Wenger will reportedly have £70m to spend this summer, and the club will shortly be announced in cash terms to be near debt free.
If Arsenal qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, the pursestrings could finally be loosened, and perhaps the club’s fans will learn to appreciate Arsene Wenger again – if it’s not too late.