Guess who said this in 2009?
"It is not often that a boy of five or six is always living with adults in a little village. I learned about tactics and selection from the people talking about football in the pub - who plays on the left wing and who should be in the team."
Guess who would have told them to eff off in 2011?
Arsene Wenger with this prickly response, "I've just completed 32 years of coaching - I don't want to answer this kind of question." This was his reply to the suggestion he consider bringing in Tony Adams or Martin Keown to bolster Arsenal's beleaguered defense.
Yes, the young Wenger who learned his football listening to what ordinary pub folk drinking bier had to say about a player or tactics is now above any advice. The friends of his father, those still alive, might right now be discussing how an Adams could improve the Arsenal defense but this Wenger decades later would have dismissed them as no nothings.
" I can understand that people are unhappy and criticize but you know as well as I know people are very quick to go overboard."
Actually, I have to say Arsenal fans have been remarkably patient with the majority still fiercely supporting Wenger but wishing he would pay more attention to improving the defense or spending a bit more freely on a quality player. Even the most impartial observer of the sport would agree an attitude adjustment is needed. But any such justified criticism is seen as an attack on the system or the manager. The flag is unfurled, "I have kept them 14 years in the Champions League."
Ivan Gazidis goes even further, bordering on paranoia, when he says, "You don't throw something like that away easily, or if you do, you're a fool." The mushroom cloud scenario if Wenger were to leave. On one end is sweetness and light, on the other the Stygian depths of Hell. This is as close to deification as one can get. It's a bit rich when you think of Arsenal as a club founded by munition workers in far more humble circumstances more than a century ago.
But here is Wenger again:
" When it goes well we must not completely believe what people say and when it does not go as well, we must not completely believe it."
It was Wenger who crowed about the "quadruple" after winning the first leg against Barca last season. Most fans were far more realistic dreading the ides of March. Now, that we are 4 points from five matches and fallen into a -8 goal differential hole, we're not to believe its a bad start. He's tricksy, that Wenger!
More in context, Arsenal have garnered just 16 points from its last 16 matches. If one were to extrapolate it to a full season then expect 33 more points and we're looking at relegation zone. To challenge for fourth place this season, Arsenal need 66 more points from 33 matches. For that to happen, they need to win at least 19 matches (last season's figure) or from the current 20% win rate to increase it to 55% of the remaining 33 matches. Each loss increases the pressure by 4%. We're are already on our third loss and need to limit it to about eight.
Someone tell Wenger that reality is still not knocking on his door. He is a great manager but he has feet of clay and Arsenal could get stuck in that mud if it continues to pour on that defense.