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Spice Girls reunion? It wouldn’t have happened under Wenger

OPINION: Arsenal fans’ revisionism may be a little unfair on his predecessor, but Unai Emery really has turned several players into ‘new signings’

08 November, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger

THE go-to response after each passing Arsenal match has become: That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

It choruses around the Emirates Stadium, and in all the streets around.

One-one against Liverpool? That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

Sign a player like Torreira? That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

Dynamic, game-changing substitutions? That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

I mean, I was craving a change of manager for the last five years as much as the next troll, but I’m suddenly starting to feel just a smidgeon sorry for the departed manager.

Soon it will be: Made it back to Highbury and Islington tube in less than 15 minutes! That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

The half-time hotdog wasn’t grimy! That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

There was something readable in the matchday programme! That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

Here we are, the autumn sun is in the sky, and Christmas is coming.

None of this would have happened under Wenger. Even some of the old loyalists are saying it.

As unfair as some of the revisionism is, the sight of Granit Xhaka holding strong in midfield against Liverpool on Saturday evening – something I had doubted we’d ever see – surely wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

What’s most encouraging about Unai Emery’s start as manager of Arsenal is the way he is turning players the club already had into “new signings”.

The best case in point: Alex Iwobi. In January, he was out partying on the eve of an FA Cup match, which somehow Wenger still picked him for and Arsenal lost to Nottingham Forest – a sorry way to defend the trophy.

Now, Iwobi looks like he should be starting every match. You hear people around the stadium calling for Iwobi – Iwobi! – to come on. That wouldn’t have happened under Wenger.

• THE Spice Girls are this week offering us a chance to consider what we’ve done with our lives for the past 25 years by appearing over every news bulletin and all radio shows, hawking tickets for a dreadful reunion tour.

Times must be hard, but it seems a long, long time ago since they were jumping around the St Pancras staircase shouting “Wannabe!”.

In the intervening time, you’ve all grown fat and bald and come to realise that 2 Become 1 wasn’t music, just whining, but at least over this quarter of the century Arsenal have won three league titles and the FA Cup seven times.

Over the same period, Spurs have conquered the League Cup once. You’d have to dig up Matt Monro and Elvis Presley to revive the soundtrack of their last title win.


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