Wenger blamed for Arsenal worst start in Premier League

Posted on by SoccerPunter

There have been questions raised on tactics used by Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, after their worst start to English Premier League season in his 16 years of management.

Arsenal suffered an embarrassing fourth defeat of the Premier League to Swansea City last weekend at their home ground, it is also their third match without a win. Arsenal is at an unfamiliar 10th ranking in the league table.

Many football fans are disappointed that Arsenal‘s reluctance to invest money in new signings means the club does not have any chance to challenge for English Premier League trophy. Wenger stalked down the Emirates Stadium tunnel bracing himself for fresh questions about his capacity to lead the club.

“It is more down to shareholders and that is not my job,” Wenger said when asked about the resources at his disposal on Saturday.

“It’s difficult to answer that straight away after a game like that, but I believe the support from the board is there to spend the money if we find the players.”

Despite the supporters’ concerns, chief executive Ivan Gazidis said Arsenal’s financial stability and projected revenue growth will soon put them “in the top five clubs in the world”.

Last week, Arsenal announced a 150 million pounds ($239 million, 185 million euros) extension of their shirt sponsorship agreement with Emirates Airlines.

The sales of star players Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Alex Song, meanwhile, have raised in the region of 90 million pounds, but the players signed to take their places have enjoyed only qualified success.

Of the glut of players who arrived in the 2011 close-season transfer window, only Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker have managed to nail down first-team places, and this season’s new signings have also enjoyed mixed fortunes.

While Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla has been a revelation, it has taken French striker Olivier Giroud time to find his feet and Lukas Podolski has shone only in fits and starts.

For all of Cazorla’s evident class, and the vast potential of youth-team graduate Jack Wilshere, there are fears that Wenger’s famed ability to spot a player may be deserting him.

Arsenal have gone seven and a half years without winning a trophy, but while they used to be able to take solace in the quality of their football, Wenger’s side are no longer the swashbuckling team of old.

They continue to enjoy more possession of the ball, on average, than any of their rivals, but after 15 games of the current campaign, their attack is only the seventh most potent in the division.

At the Emirates on Saturday, it was Swansea, not Arsenal, whose passing football drew gasps of admiration from British media pundits.

As Swansea coach Michael Laudrup noted: “Arsenal are still moving the ball around well, but we play that way as well.”

Wenger has at least guided Arsenal into the last 16 of the Champions League for the 13th successive season, but they have gone beyond the quarter-finals only once since losing to Barcelona in the 2006 final.

Deepening the gloom around the Emirates on Sunday morning was the news that long-serving chairman Peter Hill-Wood had been admitted to hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The 76-year-old was one of the men responsible for bringing Wenger to Arsenal in 1996, in a move that was to change the face of English football.

Sixteen years on, Wenger has established a legacy that cannot be tainted, but with the club’s rivals streaking into the distance, he is under more pressure to react than ever.

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