Arsenal are back in with a shout to finish in the top four after Wednesday night’s 3-0 win against West Ham – but the furore over manager Arsene Wenger’s future remains unresolved.
Robbie Savage’s Daily Mirror column on the uncertainty about Wenger signing a new contract spreading to the pitch produced another tidal surge of online correspondence.
Here, in his weekly Sav Says trawl through your tweets, our top pundit exercises his right of reply…
Carol @CarolCharwood: Don’t always blame the manager, players have to take some of the responsibility.
SAV SAYS: “Totally agree, Carol. It’s happened before, and some of the players need to take a good look in the bathroom mirror and ask if they have done everything in their power to sustain a title challenge at Arsenal this season. We’ve seen what happened to Claudio Ranieri at Leicester – he won the title, yet when the players let him down, he was the one who carried the can. But let’s not forget who signed all those players at Arsenal, who built the squad, who mixed all the ingredients together. This is Arsene Wenger’s team.”
forgotten ppl@prodlegacy: No individual is bigger than any club. I’ve always admired him (even as a blue) but this has turned me against him #clubinlimbo.
SAV SAYS: “Apart from Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United, I’ve never known another big club where the manager seems to be so influential. From the outside, Arsene Wenger appears to be the most powerful man at Arsenal – and that includes picking and choosing whether he stays or goes. After 21 years with the Gunners, I understand that sentiment comes into the equation. I get that. But I find it absolutely bizarre that Wenger’s longevity in the job has almost made him untouchable while the fans are fighting among themselves and the division has become so toxic.”
moon goddess @jriv72: His management for the last 13 years is why he should be leaving. Stop making excuses for his failings.
SAV SAYS: “Yes, it’s 13 years since Arsenal’s Invincibles won the title, but I would not say Arsene Wenger has presided over 13 years of failure since then. They have reached a Champions League final, won two FA Cups and there have been some near misses – but it’s the last two or three years where the story of every season has felt like the same old, same old at the Emirates. Last year, when all their major rivals were going through a period of so-called transition, was a massive missed opportunity. It looks as if Wenger is going to stay, but I’ll be intrigued to see how the club’s philosophy is going to change. Arsenal played some of the best football I’ve ever seen earlier this century, but it’s not just his philosophy that needs to change – it’s the club’s whole mentality. You don’t get a trophy for fourth place, and I think they need to adopt a bit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bravado: He calls himself a lion, but he’s also a winner. For me, if Wenger is going to stay, he should be looking to move ‘upstairs’ as the director of football and putting in place a manager – probably one of his ex-players, like Patrick Vieira – who can work with him to give the team a new identity.”
Mahseny @housny: He is still a better footballer million times than you. Only the size of your mouth and ID got a job for you.
SAV SAYS: “Hang on, mate – Arsene Wenger has been an outstanding manager, no question, and I know he played a few times for Strasbourg. But did he ever win the Worthington Cup? If he was ever a better player than me, I’ll tell you what: I’m a better player than him now! And there are people with bigger mouths and higher profiles than me who haven’t got a job in football right now, so I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Arsenal Man @Arsenal4Ever95: I would rather listen to Savage for an hour than listen to Henry blow Wenger for 10 minutes straight.
SAV SAYS: “Look, I understand the loyalty of ex-players who are standing by Wenger – and in many cases, he did so much for their careers, it would be amazing if they didn’t support him. But there has been a noticeable change in the tide in recent weeks, with some Arsenal old boys who played under Wenger becoming more critical of him. It’s not just the fans who are divided – former players are no longer unanimous in their backing.”
Another frustrating night at home for Manchester United as they could only draw 1-1 with Everton, and Savage’s co-commentary on BT Sport set the keyboards tapping as well…
John Furlong @FurlongFurlong: Robbie Savage telling Barkley how to play is like me telling Einstein how to teach science.
SAV SAYS: “I take it you’re a science teacher, John. Sorry, but I was never much cop with test tubes and a bunsen burner.”