Wenger remains defiant but his words ring hollow

Arsene Wenger is having none of it.
“We focus on the players we have and we believe we have enough strength. I saw all the games over the weekend and I don’t see why we should be suddenly afraid of anybody in England.”
Alright then. This is all deja vu time. Wenger puts up another one of his bombastic statements (choose your pick: Quadruple, Super Additions, Abou Diaby is the next Patrick Vieira) and then on the day of the match prowls on the sidelines looking sick as a dog as things don’t go Arsenal’s way. It’s the body language and the facial expression that give the lie to these protestations.
Did you see his frustration increasing as the Arsenal vs Newcastle match plodded on to a goalless draw? The one that got two of our players suspended for three matches and was otherwise notable for its attacking futility. The Newcastle goalie Tim Krul was never seriously tested because Arsenal lacked composure in front of goal.
What really strikes one as bizarre is not what he said in this press conference. It came after Joey Barton went mental on Gervinho and then blasted a series of tweets exculpating himself. Wenger called Barton a great player. This on the eve of losing his best player to Barca. It’s moments like this when one realizes Wenger may be living in an alternate reality.
The Wenger of 2004 would not have looked at Barton, a moderately talented midfielder sideways let alone elevate him to a selective pantheon of players who have earned greatness. I would like to challenge Wenger to name Barton in the same breath as Dennis Bergkamp.
Wenger has more to say to the fans who aren’t too happy about the way the club is progressing towards the business of transfers.
“Rather than convicting this club, the fans have more reason to be proud of the whole situation here,” he said.
“We have built a team and a stadium in such a short space of time, we have a strong financial situation and we always survive at the top level.”
Did Wenger not see his best player walk away because Arsenal were unable to win titles? A player whose devotion to his club was second to none and who left not for money but with the eternal regret that he could not do more. Fabregas stayed on as long as he could but in the end the status quo that Wenger paints as a pretty picture did not suffice. Our family has a roof over our head, cash in the bank, and we always get invited to the party. What more do you want? The American dream. It’s a myth, more so than ever. Get over it.
I don’t know whether Wenger wakes up chanting that particular mantra so he can get through the day. He probably does because it sounds suspiciously like something Arsenal should consider posting on their website so fans don’t labour under delusions of grandeur. But let fans put their own spin on his statement.
” It’s the sixth year running this team is being built and now its talisman is gone, it’s been five years since we moved to the Emirates, we’ve money in the lock box but we never get to see it or spend it, and surviving might be the right word to use because this year we might fall out of the top four.”

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