The manager merry-go-round looks set to rear its ugly head again this season with under-performing teams looking likely to get rid of their managers. It’s an issue that always seems to crop up every season and we’ve seen it all before. A team goes through a rough patch of results, going several games without a win and talk of unrest in the changing rooms. Days’ worth of media speculation ensues before the club announces that the manager has departed the club.
People may argue that this is the way that modern football works, and I understand that. We look at Swansea this season, an under-performing Bob Bradley is replaced by Steve Clarke and immediately performances and results improve, justifying the change in management. But what I can’t seem to understand is why, in certain situations, the player’s performances are completely overlooked and the club’s poor form is solely the fault of the manager.
A manager picks the team, yes, but there is only so much they can do in preparation. The overall performance on the pitch is down to the 11 men on the pitch fighting for the win. The fault that comes from a losing streak lies as much with the players as it does the manager.
Just look at Arsene Wenger and his rough ride since the club’s 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich. Arsenal fans have voiced their displeasure in recent weeks, most notably the ‘idiot’ at Stamford Bridge, but why is that Arsene faces the criticism and not the players who performed so badly in their abject performance at the Allianz.
The second-best player in the side, Mesut Ozil,
again failed to turn up for the big occasion and yet, the German international still hasn’t faced any criticism from fans, and if so, he certainly isn’t facing it to the extent of Wenger
Why is it that the underperformance of a side is automatically attributed to the manager? In certain cases, like Bradley and Mancini at City, the manager is right to face the disapproval of the fans. However, in a case like this, where an Arsenal side completed an utterly embarrassing performance, not enough is being made of the lack of structure, organisation and leadership on display.
Just a note on the current Wenger scrutiny, Arsenal are a side that has been consistently achieving top four with a squad of average players, and a significant lack of spending power in comparison to the bigger clubs. I personally don’t see the uproar that has surfaced in recent weeks. If the board dug into their pockets and boosted the side with some genuine world-class player, then maybe they could face a title challenge. You can tell when your squad is lacking when forever-youthful Kieran Gibbs ends the game as captain in a Champions League last-16 tie.
Players have been getting away with it for far too long and it is disappointing to see such heavy criticism of one of the greatest managers of recent years. Arsene Wenger has earnt his right to leave Arsenal when he sees fit, without being forced by the growing animosity of the Emirates faithful. Maybe it’s time we see clubs making more of poor players and not just the easy route of blaming the manager. We can only wait and see…