English Premiership: Leicester’s triumph vindicates Wenger, By Nelson Dafe

By Nelson Dafe on May 20, 2016

Views: 2,647

While the celebrations in Leicester City as their darling club clinched an improbable English Premier League title continues, in North London and beyond to the spheres of Arsenal’s supporters worldwide there continues to be a huge feeling of disappointment with another campaign not yielding the Premiership crown.

The Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger has been pilloried by a growing section of the club’s fan base for not being able to win the 2015/16 league title and the open insurrection against, and support for, him by some fans at the club’s Emirates Stadium during their home match against Norwich recently told of how divisive his reign at the helm of one of the world’s finest institutions has become.

The major criticism leveled against Wenger is that he has had the chance of winning the league over the years but he has simply been too frugal to make the right acquisition of players to do the job.

Some of the fans have ignored the tight debt repayment conditions the club has been under in the past decade, occasioned by borrowing from the banks to build the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium home of the team.

Arsene Wenger has simply refused to spend huge sums of money on players and match the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea. He’s not serious on winning any major trophy, the ‘Wenger out’ argument goes.

The manager has laboured to point out that the club has not had as much money to go toe-to-toe with the aforementioned clubs and that one probably doesn’t need to in order to win the league or any other trophy.

This has been met with derision by the anti-Wenger band, who insist that titles are handed to only those who spend as huge as the richest clubs in the world.

As relatively poor Leicester lifts the title, poor Wenger has been even derided further. Many point out that he can no longer point to the fact that his failure is because richer teams blew him out of the market in the pricing of players.

But Wenger has always pointed out that throwing astronomical sums of money is not the only route to winning trophies. If anything, Leicester City’s success has proven him right.

Winning trophies is dependent on more nuanced factors. It includes, but not limited to, good tactical planning, getting effective players (even at low costs), luck (to avoid injuries to key players), luck to find the right calibre of players who can effectively translate a winning strategy, etc.

No matter how good a manager is, he needs the nuanced factors to work in his favour. Leicester’s manager Claudio Ranieri knows this all too well, hence his admirable humility after winning the crown.

Now fans and pundits are using Ranieri’s fine hour to mock Wenger. An Arsenal fan carried a placard at the club’s recent home match against Norwich that pointed out that Arsene has had excuses for nine years while it has taken Ranieri just nine months to win the title that has eluded Arsenal. But they forget that while Wenger has won the English Premiership title three times and the French league once, for 30-something years since he started coaching this is Ranieri’s first major trophy and that he was recently sacked as manager of Greece after they lost to lowly rated Faroe Island.

This is not a criticism of Ranieri or to detract from the great work he’s done with Leicester, but just to note that while he is a quality manager, the stars have aligned for him this time in a way it has not for other fine managers out there.

•Nelson Dafe is News Express and Daily Sports Correspondent in Benin City. Photo shows Arsene Wenger.

Source News Express

Posted May 20, 2016


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