Arsenal: Wenger flirts with oblivion as Sanogo flounders

Apr 14, 2014
Jonathan Harwood

Should the Gunners' coach stand down even if his struggling side do win the FA Cup?

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

ARSENAL may be in the FA Cup final, but there is little doubt that Arsene Wenger came within nine minutes of footballing oblivion at Wembley on Saturday.
The sight of the Gunners trailing Wigan of the Championship and seemingly unable to break down their supposedly inferior rivals as Wenger's latest experiment, Yaya Sanogo, flailed and floundered up front was too much for many fans.
Per Mertesacker's late equaliser and the heroics of Lukasz Fabianski in the penalty shootout kept Arsenal on course for their first piece of silverware for nine years. They also prevented a full-scale revolt and earned Wenger breathing space.
"If Mertesacker had not equalised, had Wenger's players not kept their cool from the spot, then they would be waking up in a very different world," says Rory Smith in The Times. "It would be a world where Arsenal would be about to go ten years without a trophy. It would be a world where the pressure for Wenger to stand down at season's end would be almost irresistible. It would be a world where that, logically, would be the right decision."
But even if the Gunners do go on to win the FA Cup and somehow overhaul Everton to claim an unlikely top four finish, a growing number of fans believe it is time for Wenger to leave. Winning the cup would at least allow him to bow out on something of a high.
Even the FT thinks his time might be up. "At 64, with a contract that expires in the summer, many question whether Wenger should sign the extension on offer. His limp demeanour during his team’s recent maulings suggests he might be among them," it wrote last week.
The reason that many fans think it is time for Wenger to leave is simple. He has created what Andy Dunn in the Daily Mirror calls "a team that is very slowly sinking into the quicksands of mediocrity".
He must face up to the reality of the situation at the Emirates. "Lukas Podolski, Nacho Monreal, Yaya Sanogo, even Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen and a tiring Mikel Arteta... they are not the future of a club with aspirations to compete with the best of the Champions League and Premier League," says Dunn.
Sanogo is a case in point. At the end of last season Wenger had two recognised centre forwards at his disposal, Olivier Giroud and Nickas Bendtner, and one or two others, like Podolski and Theo Walcott, who could fill in.
Wenger tried and failed to sign a big money striker, but instead ended up with an unproven youngster from France. This season Sanogo has made ten appearances  for the Gunners and has yet to score after 435 minutes on the pitch.
The effort he puts in is unquestionable, but he is blighted by the quality Wenger seems to prize above all others – "potential". That is no longer enough for Arsenal fans, who have seen "potential" evaporate on so many occasions that they have run out of faith in it.
Website Here is the City points out that a day after Arsenal scraped past Wigan and saw Everton climb above them into the top four of the Premier League, Gonzalo Higuain, a player Arsenal baulked at paying £35m for in the summer, scored his 20th, 21st and 22nd goals of the season as he bagged a hat-trick for Napoli in Serie A.
How different would Arsenal's fortunes have been this season if it was Higuain rather than Sanogo providing the competition for Olivier Giroud?

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did you really right this rubbish and put it out for people to see just one question Why ?

Another unbalanced dreadful article. Andy Dunn ??? Who the f*** is Andy Dunn to comment. Higuain cost £34m and had 19 goals before last weekend. Giroud had the same number.I am not a Giroud fan but he would be good back up to a quality striker, whoever that may be. They are few and far between and all the leading clubs want one. Apart from Suarez and Agguero I am not sure who you might drool over. Torres ?? Carroll ?? Dzeko - maybe better - Negredo ?? Those four have cost about £130m !!! Please stop trying to appeal to people who do not have their own opinions, yours are no better.

I think the article is spot on but far to gentle on the rubbish he brings to the club. He has to go as he has not kept up with the English premiers new front runners. you can not win a league when you shop in te french bargain basement and bring in a bulldozer in the disguise of a center forward. i can not think of any other center forward quite as useless with the ball at his feet as Giroud. In fact if one could get Bendner a little more enthusiastic to work on the pitch he would definitely be a better CF than giroud will ever be. than we have the resurrection from the Russian sick bay- what a catastrophe! Than we have a freeby Sanogo - absolutely laughable to play a junior so short of ball skills in a top team... send him back where he came from - use Podolski! Many of the old men in the side are tired - JUST AS WENGER IS!" SEND THEM OUT TO STUD! -We have a major problem with plenty of proof to accentuate this fact, and that is that the big players do not want to play for Wenger. Even the Germain porcelain doll is a waste - he is far to soft for the robustness of the Premier league.. Sell him and bring in some men!
The ultimate problem with arsenal is wenger... he buys the players - he sel;ects the side - he trains the team... failing in all these departments. send him to the kintergarten - he is best at buying little ones and making footballers from them some better than others - than selling them on and making a few bucks. buit as for running a good football side - forget it. The trophies he did win was using a side he inherited in the main... when his own replacements became the team we went down hill and have been so ever since.
We will lose the FA cup to hull. the are to robust for this tender Arsenal team, and they work twice as hard.

They're wrong, Higuain has 24 goal on the season with yesterday's hat trick

His point is valid.
Sanogo is not good enough yet and Giroud never will be good enough.
Higuain would definitely have scored a lot of the goal scoring opportunities Giroud missed.
Arsenal has a better midfield than Napoli and would have created more chances for Higuain to convert.
Factor in that Higuain is more the kind of player that Ozil can pass through balls to and he is looking better.
Factor in that Giroud is a mid table player at best, he has never scored a single goal against top 4 opposition this year or last, in fact since he signed for Arsenal.

making pointless statements about Torres and Carrol highlights your lack of football knowledge, there are teams and leagues outside of the premier league, to mention only players who we know are rubbish is childish and lumping their collective transfer fees together to arrive at a figure is characteristically stupid of you.
Negredo cost a rumored 18 million plus add-ons, doesn't look like an excessive transfer fee now does it .
To say that Giroud would be back up striker to any top striker is complete nonsense, he wouldn't make the bench at any top 4 club in the PL, Spain, Italy or Germany.

Maybe you should realise that your opinions are are worse than just about everyone's...

Lazy journalism, hack a great man down. Arsenal trade in reality while the European Champions Teams you talk of, have tax privileges and huge benefactors, and the new boys Atletico Madrid have debts to make you shiver. Why don't you go out and buy the best sports journalist from the top paper instead of making us wait till you develop some prosaic insight. Imagine allowing people to develop, you haven't got the time for that nonsense. And now Chelsea FC (Oliagarch Tax Scheme) own more players than any club has ever and that takes a few out of the market. But the premier league won't have the balls to step in and stop it undermining any notion of competition. Of course Wenger will have to go, but allow him some dignity, and make sure you don't rest on your laurels wherever they may be. What is the career span of a journalist, a football managers is ever shrinking. Salute Wenger.

If wenger had enough stuffing in him he could gt Bendner to work a bit harder when in a game - he is a better player than Giroud will ever be- Giroud is useless with the ball at his feet. If Higuan had played in front of the same midfield as Giroud does he would have far outscored Giroud who is nothing but a second rate bulldozer with absolutely no clue when it comes to ball technique,. Get rid of him and let us get some real Arsenal type ball players... not china dolls who can not take the hard physical premier league like our German china doll who falls over every time someone bumps him, and than proceeds to look at the ref pleading for a free kick. I've said it before and say it again... the big players do not want to pay for arsenal or rather Wenger. Put him where he fits best - in the kinder-garten buying school kids and turning them to footballers, some better than others - and sell them off at a profit - He would be serving Arsenal better than in his current capacity. Shop in the french bargain basement and get the Girouds of this world!

Agreed that Higuain is a better player and would have scored more than Giroud - though i am doubtful it would be a drastically higher number - perhaps 5 more than Giroud i would say (and likely in bigger games). To be fair though you imply that the commenter should look outside the league for other options can also be seen as naive. I say this as we bought the best number 10 in the world and he has took time to settle in a totally different league. I refer to this as it is "safer" to buy from within your own league so that the judgement of whether they will be a success is based on fact not conjecture. This isn't possible as no top end club will sell a good player to a rival (and like it or not Arsenal are still rivals of the top teams) - see the Suarez issue in the summer.

There is certainly no doubt that we need a pacey forward running striker howeer the criticism of Giroud is like that of Ozil - unfounded and wrong. It seems many fans want Giroud to be something he's not - like getting a blonde girlfriend and then dumping her because she won't dye her hair brown. Giroud does the job he was bought for and the only thing this criticism from so called supporters does is damage his confidence, which has been evident in recent games in his demeanour on the pitch. Why should he put in so much effort when he will be slammed by his own fans regardless. If he scores two then he will be ripped apart for missing out on his hat-trick.

Giroud's first half of the season was good - his form dipped at the same time as Ozil's for the same likely reason. No runners ahead of him - f you see some of hte early season games, when Giroud flicked on, or brought it down from a punt upfield, he has at least two runners heading past him - Walcott and Ramsey. When they both got injured the form of individuals dropped and that of the team. I don't say it as an excuse - Giroud is one-dimensional, and there's no getting past that - but too much is being put on the shoulders of a man who has done well. His stats are not far behind Rooney's (i think from my last look a couple of months ago) and Rooney is on 300k per week.

Seems harsh to me - for a start Podolski may score some great goals and be sublime at striking the ball, but he is nowhere near what we need for a lone striker (without getting into he debate of whether we should play two strikers instead). His work-rate is poor and he drops too far back when alone up front. Personally i would rather keep Giroud than Pod as a back up to a "real striker".

To level all you have at Wenger is also harsh i think - he doesn't train the team - there is a bunch of coaches at the club who do that. He merely oversees the team and leads training but to lump all the blame on him is unfair. The coaches would advise him and he would listen, as well as putting his own edge to it. To make a rather childish comparison, it's like you only having 2k to buy a car so you buy a Skoda. Then your wife complains that the car is crap, it keeps breaking down, it doesn't look nice and it isn't comfortable, and asks why you didn't just buy the Bentley. Do you deserve that criticism? Is it your fault that you could only get the Skoda? Or did you do the best you could with what you had to work with? That is how i see Wenger - he ha dto endure not having the money for so many years and having to buy Skodas instead of Bentleys - yet he kept a certain level of success. In the transfer market you can't simply go from zero to hero in one swoop - it takes a bit more than that and it takes some time. If Wenger was so terrible then players wouldn't sign for him at all, and the current players would kick him out. Personally i want Wenger to stay for a couple more years - and i am not trying to convince you of the same. However to say the trophies he won were with inherited teams is utterly wrong and displays either a lack of knowledge or a willingness to ignore basic facts to make a puerile point.

Ozil is I believe an Outlier in that equation, he is a specific type pf player who has flourished with fast runners to pass on to and assist.
We don't have fast wingers and forwards or cover for injured fast players through lack of transfer activity.
I often say that Wenger bought the gun but no bullets...