Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager, is no doubt a successful coach. After 22 years at Arsenal, no one will deny his proud position at the club. During his reign, he won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, and seven Community shields.
Despite his successes, Wenger had his flaws which affected his team in his latter days managing the club. These shortcomings are basically what the new manager, Mikel Arteta should strive to avoid. Arteta, a former player under Arsene Wenger, took the reins of power at Arsenal permanently in December 2019.
In eight months managing Arsenal, Arteta has already taken the club to an FA Cup and Community Shield glory. The coast is clear for him to succeed and even do better than his ex-boss. To ensure that, here are two fundamental flaws of Wenger’s style Mikel Must avoid.
1 Adaptation in Tactical approach:
Wenger revolutionized English football with his 4-4-2 approach to games against the prevalent 3-5-2 in England at the time he came to the London club. Wenger allowed players to express themselves, giving them the responsibility to make decisions. This system worked well for him, but with every life endeavor, one must adapt. Eventually, his tactics were found out by the opposition managers.
Defiantly, Wenger refused to adapt as he stuck to his guns. Ferguson, the ex-Manchester United boss remarked in his autobiography thus:-
“In later years we learned more about Arsenal’s game,” wrote Ferguson. “Wenger had a template of how he sees his players and the way they play. We didn’t need to win the ball against Arsenal; we needed to intercept it. You need good players who can intercept.”
On his part, Wenger never believed in tactical adaptation; instead, he sticks with player adaptation. He sums it up in his words thus:-
“I think the system of the team is to adapt to the quality of the players; we have so many offensive players. We play to our strengths.”
Unfortunately, this inability to adapt tactically in a game led to significant losses to rivals. It includes a 6-0 defeat at Chelsea, a 5-1 loss at Liverpool, a 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City. The 8-2 loss at Old Trafford to Manchester United features prominently.
In contrast, Mikel Arteta has demonstrated a knowledge of tactical adaptation when the need arises. In recent victories against Manchester City and Liverpool, Arsenal won with less than 40 percent possession of the ball. This development is usually not in the character of an Arsenal team.
2 Hesitation and Indecisiveness in the transfer market:
In Arsene Wenger’s era, who Arsenal nearly signed featured prominently in the tabloids. Almost all the top players at that time Wenger held sway at Emirates, had some form of contact with Arsenal. That Indecisiveness cost Arsenal virtually all the time even in the regular club to club transfer.
Players like Ibrahimovic had a meeting with Arsene Wenger, and according to Ibrahimovic, he refused to go on trial. In the same vein, Ronaldo and Messi also narrowly missed signing for Arsenal.
At a point in time, ‘Wenger’s nearly men’ became a cliché in football circles. The list is inexhaustible and includes Dimitar Payet, Ngolo Kante, Vincent company, and Paul Pogba. In Pogba’s case, Wenger opted for his teammate in France U21 squad, Yaya Sanogo.
Notably, the list also includes Didier Drogba, Gareth Bale, Yaya Toure, Luis Suarez, Makelele, and Jadon Sancho. Chukwueze the current Villareal sensation left Arsenal to sign for the Spanish outfit. Undoubtedly, the most devastating of all is Serge Gnabry, who has helped Bayern Munich win the Champions League. The youngster went to Bayern for a paltry 7 million pounds. He is a superstar at the moment.
In the meantime, Mikel Arteta has shown a commitment to be decisive in the transfer market. He has already secured the signature of Williams from Chelsea. Gabriel Magalhaes has also signed from Lille. In the same Vein, Arteta has given fans the hope of securing the signature of Arsenal Talisman, Aubamayang.