EIGHT THINGS ARSENE WENGER SHOULD DO
1) Forget about the romantic vision and start demanding a bit of old-fashioned physicality. Those Arsenal teams with Vieira, Petit, Henry, Bergkamp, Adams, Campbell and Keown weren’t scared to put themselves about. At Old Trafford, the Gunners were an open door.
2) Show some trademark Arsenal courage. The days of “1-0 to the Arsenal” suddenly seem a million years away. The fans who sung their hearts out at Old Trafford on Sunday deserve more than supine surrender and subdued, out-of-their-depth players frightened of making a mistake.
3) Spend some money. Now. Stop messing about. If you’ve got £90million burning a hole in your back pocket, the minimum expectation is that you are going to do something with it, rather than suggest the players aren’t out there. They are.
4) Find a leader or two. Cesc Fabregas left under a cloud, but he was a captain in the Gunners mould. Robin van Persie has to score the goals, and even if he keeps the armband he needs a genuine deputy who can make under-performing players realise they’re letting everybody down.
5) Stiffen up at the back. Arsenal fans have been crying out for a dominant centre-half for far too long. If it takes £15million to land Gary Cahill, Chris Samba or Per Mertesacker, then pay it. Teams that don’t do the basics at the back get squished in the Premier League.
6) Make some changes. Training routines, tactics, backroom staff (surely Steve Bould should have been promoted from the youth set-up by now?) – just try something to alter the mood and mindset; to blow away the stale cobwebs.
7) Take responsibility. The groundswell of anti-Wenger feeling is understandable, but misplaced. Now, though, Le Professeur must demonstrate that he recognises his own errors and take immediate steps to put them right.
8) Be ruthless. Don’t blame young Francis Coquelin, but too many of those who went missing in action at Old Trafford have had too many chances and are taking liberties. It is easy to get rid of Armand Traore, but isn’t it time to ditch the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Andrei Arshavin – not to mention Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh?
AND TWO THINGS WENGER SHOULDN’T DO
1) Kid himself that Old Trafford was just a blip, while reminding people that his side won the league a season after losing 6-1 away to United in 2001. That was a one-off shocker, this looked like the start of a pattern – the hallmark of a team that will fold under pressure throughout the campaign.
2) Remain defiant, insisting he would rather fail his way than succeed while copying others. Yes, football is about style, artistry and entertainment. But above all it has to be about winning. If Arsenal keep on falling short, the response of the supporters can only become more negative.
Mirror chief football writer Martin Lipton