Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Merci Arsene And A Fond Farewell

It’s hard to believe Arsene Wenger is no longer the manager of Arsenal, but it has come to pass and there’s no going back. While I may have been of the opinion it was time for him to move on it still doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what he did for Arsenal or that I won’t miss him either. I’m still not sure his departure has sunk in after he spent nearly 22 years at the helm on the good ship Arsenal.

I think I won’t really consider him to be truly gone until I actually see someone else on the sideline when Arsenal are playing. With a World Cup still to come it’s going to be a while before we get to see that, but it is coming one day in July. That’s assuming the club know what they’re doing and have the right man for the job lined up and ready to go.

I had hoped Max Allegri might be that man, but it looks like he’s going to stay at Juventus and we’ll have to look elsewhere. It appears Luis Enrique has priced himself out of the job too and Mikael Arteta is quickly becoming the bookies favourite to take the role. I’m not going to criticise a new man before he gets the job, but I will be surprised if it’s Arteta considering he has never managed a club before.

He has served a two year apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola at City and he was Arsene’s captain when he played for us. Comparisons have been made between him and Arsene, but Arsene arrived at Arsenal with plenty of managerial experience which included a French League title. There’s a vast difference between an assistant coaching role and managing one of the six richest clubs in the world. There’s still plenty of time for the club to get their man though and hopefully they know what they’re doing.

I digress though and I should be writing about the departure of the man who has run our club almost single-handedly at times over the past 22 years. He brought us some highs we could probably not even have dreamt of and we saw our team play some beautiful football too. I honestly think his legacy could have been damaged if he stayed any longer and I’m glad he went soon enough to make sure that legacy is intact.

The final game at Huddersfield was so like so much of this season except we at least managed to get the away win for which we had waited so long. Huddersfield probably deserved something from the game, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang snuck in at the far post to score a goal that was so typical of him. He is the parting present Arsene has left us with and it’s one which should make the job of the next manager so much easier. We have needed a goal scorer of his calibre for a long time and he can be the player to help us improve on this awful season.

Arsene has left some pretty good attacking players behind, but the defensive problems of the last few years are one of the main reasons for his departure. Those problems stem from a lack of quality defenders and what seemed like an inability on his part to get the best out of the team as a defensive unit. The priority has always been in attack and the quality of defenders and defensive midfielders we had in the past meant we could do just that, but as their quality has diminished we have let in more goals season after season.

I have no doubt Arsene will be looking to our results first every week and I hope he succeeds at whatever he decides to do next. I never doubted his love for the club or his desire to do the very best for us, but his ability to do so has waned for far too many years now. I’m sure he will be delighted for us if we succeed without him, but he will probably feel we would have done so with him too.

As a man you only have to read the glowing tributes to him from just about anybody who knows him or who has played for him to know how well he was loved. Huddersfield gave him a great send off on Sunday and they are to be admired for it and I think that send off portrayed how he is seen by many in the game. It was an emotional day for one and all and one which I will remember along with all the great days we were lucky enough to share with him too.

At this point I think I should thank him for everything he has done for our club and wish him well in the future. I don’t know if I truly believed this day would ever come and now that it’s here it’s more than a little surreal. I’ll always remember the beautiful football and the incredible talent he introduced us to and I’ll always be greatful to him for everything he has done for the club we all love.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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