One definition of insanity is doing something time and again, in exactly the same way, expecting a different result each time.
Many have levelled that criticism at Arsene Wenger over the last ten years. He’s always engineered potent attacking units but that matters not when the back line and midfield is being exposed by the better teams.
The cycle has looked like this. Ten good performances against the minnows, which leaves Wenger gleefully smiling like he’s finally cracked it, without really changing anything. Then comes a season-defining big match, where the traditional flaws are exposed and Wenger’s expression changes to that of a madman who needs carting away by the authorities.
When the big game has passed and the pressure is off, Arsenal start playing like champions again.
But, with a fine run of form under his belt (let’s forget Monaco for a minute) that classic, gleeful Wenger expression was all over his chops again after the defeat of Liverpool last weekend (picture courtesy of BBC Sport)
And, having also beaten Manchester United and City on their own patches this season, perhaps things are finally changing. The use of Coquelin and the purchase of Gabriel has exposed a hitherto unseen more Machiavellian approach by Wenger. Has he finally accepted that you need destroyers as well as creators to balance your side?
For once, we would like to see Arsenal spend their money on defensive reinforcements this summer. Yes, they need a world class striker to impact the biggest games. But, if Wenger signed a top keeper like Petr Cech and an absolute beast of a centre back, plus Morgan Schneiderlin for the anchor role, we think that the look of glee may for once remain on the Frenchman’s face throughout next season.
Wenger is a great man and a great coach, but there remain question marks about his overall philosophy and transfer dealings. While he is clearly an aesthete of the game, he patently wants to win the biggest trophies again. A great summer in the market and Arsenal can make that final step.
Arsenal fans: Is Wenger finally getting it right in the defensive areas?