Arsene Wenger was an incredible manager for Arsenal, winning league titles and endless FA Cups.
His teams played fast-flowing, attractive football, and could rip opposition sides to shreds when they were at their very best.
But sometimes there’s a need, especially in bigger games, to be able to keep things tight too.
Wenger used to drive the Emirates faithful wild in his later years, by refusing to buy the defensive midfielder which the team seemed to be crying out for.
And speaking about Liverpool on beIN SPORTS, 'Le Professeur' perhaps gave an insight into why he didn’t shake his side up with some good, old fashioned defensive solidity.
“Thiago Alcantara, for me, shows the typical problem of a manager,” he said. But isn’t the former Bayern man a problem most managers would love to have, Arsene?
“When you’re a manager, you think, ‘now I want to make the team better’”, he added.
“When you take the technical player, you lose the aggression in midfield and you destroy a little bit of the strengths Liverpool had before.”
He’s not wrong. The Reds used to have a midfield their own fans christened ‘Brexit’ due to the British players like Jordan Henderson and James Milner it contained.
Good, honest pros who will battle hard and recover the ball, but who aren’t very likely to slice through a defence with a delicious through ball like Alcantara can.
Wenger continued. “They have less capacity to win the ball back, and they suffer a little bit more. Sometimes when you want to improve the team, you take something away from the team.”
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And here we find the dilemma at the heart of the later years of his Arsenal side.
A defensive midfielder might have made the Gunners a better team in theory, but at the cost of the flair they could display going forward.
Most Arsenal fans would probably have loved to have seen how it might have worked out nonetheless.
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