• Premier League

Graham: Wenger 'fortunate' to keep job

ESPN staff
March 12, 2013
Arsene Wenger has not won a trophy with Arsenal since 2005 © Getty Images

Former Arsenal manager George Graham does not believe he would have kept his job with the Gunners if he had gone eight years without winning a trophy.

Graham, who managed Arsenal between 1986 and 1995, believes current boss Arsene Wenger 'raised the bar of expectation' during his earlier successful years at the club, but he thinks the French tactician has allowed standards to slip since last winning a trophy in 2005.

The Scot, who won two English championships and a host of cup competitions during his reign as Arsenal boss, stopped short of calling for Wenger to leave the club, but admitted he is fortunate to still be in position after a long run without a trophy.

When asked by talkSPORT whether he believed he would have kept his job at Arsenal if he had gone eight years without a trophy, Graham said: "Probably not, probably not."

"Let's be honest, Wenger's first spell at the club was phenomenal. He was up there at the time beating Sir Alex Ferguson. Three league titles, winning FA Cups, that's a phenomenal record, it's fantastic.

"He has raised his own bar and he has to ask himself if he has fallen a little bit. I just think in the last few seasons, the standards have slipped."

Graham went on question whether Wenger can revive Arsenal's trophy ambitions, as he suggested the Frenchman has lost his touch in the transfer market in recent years.

"Arsene's philosophy since he came to the club is attacking football and he cannot set out to play a tactical game," he said. "He loves all his players to go forward, that is his philosophy.

"It was great for his first seven years at the club. Phenomenal teams playing attractive football and making good players into world class players, but in my opinion, the players who are coming into the club are inferior to the players who were there a few years ago.

"Arsene Wenger has admitted it, Arsenal's strength is in midfield, but they are weak either side of the midfield. If [Jack] Wilshere is there, [Santi] Cazorla and [Mikel] Arteta, that is a good midfield. Either side, they are weak.

"People ask me about Arsenal's failure and I say it is all about the players. Arsene has never been a big, big spender. When he first came to the club, he got players for bargain prices and turned them into world class performers, he did that.

"Just in the last few seasons, it has been slipping away gradually to the point where the onus now is to reach the top four. Before that it was winning the title, but [the ambition] has slipped."

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