Football is a results business.
When the team is playing well the players take the praise, and when the team is playing poor the manager takes the blame. That's generally the nature of it. A nature Arsene Wenger has become used to in his time in English football.
In a season of total unpredictability in the Premier League, few would have thought Arsenal would still be top of the pile as we head into February. It seems a long time ago some of the fans at the Emirates were adamant for change and were calling for Wenger's reign at Arsenal to finish.
Arsenal's new found resilience has given the fans great hope of ending the trophy drought that has seen the Gunners fail to win a trophy since 2005. The signing of Mesut Ozil looked like it was a turning point for Arsenal and their long serving manager. Wenger went against his traditions and spent big money to bring Ozil to London.
Right at this moment, Arsenal are having a very good season, but things could easily change as the business end of the season approaches and real success can only be measure in trophies for a club the size of Arsenal.
Wenger's confidence and belief in his charges, while obviously very encouraging for the players, can sometimes outweigh his need to see the bigger picture. A club the size of Arsenal should never go eight, nearly nine, seasons without a trophy.
However, the fans would rather see nobody else lead them to glory then the Frenchman. Arsenal's fixtures for February and March are undoubtedly very tough and these months will show a lot about how far this side has actually come. The Gunners have to face Bayern Munich twice in the Champions League, Liverpool twice (one in the FA Cup), Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in this period of time and this will ultimately define their season.
There is a very thin line between success and failure and Wenger, above anyone else, should know this. What if, after their great first half of the season, Arsenal go another year without a trophy? How do the fans react do that? With Manchester City and Chelsea having such strength in depth, it makes you question Wenger's inability to see what their competing with.
January seemed like the perfect time for Wenger to sign a striker to help Olivier Giroud who at times looked tired and lacking the spark needed. The Arsenal boss has total faith in this group of players to deliver but his faith could turn into foolishness is Arsenal don't win a trophy.
Is Wenger happy to see Arsenal compete again properly for the title or does he actually have the ambition to go on to win it? That is the question that the next few months will put to the test and come May deliver the answer.
There is no doubt that Wenger knows Arsenal inside out and is a great manager but sometimes his old fashion managerial style can hinder the team. Surely if Wenger bought another striker in this window, Arsenal would have as good as chance as any side to win these major trophies that have eluded Arsenal in the last number of seasons.
This could come back to haunt Wenger and Arsenal at the end of the season. Big matches are decided on big moments produced by big players. Chelsea and Manchester City certainly have the bigger players, but Arsenal's defiance and character has come to the fore when its mattered so far this season.
Everybody expected the north Londoners to fall at some point this season - and it could still happen - but they have shown no sign of doing so yet. They have managed to grind out victories while not playing well, something which Arsenal sides of the last few years couldn't manage to do.
Different players have produced the goods at different times this season with Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Ozil and Giroud coming up with the goods when it mattered the most. Their was a real special moment at the Emirates when Arsenal were playing Coventry City in the FA cup on Friday, when Wenger introduced Gedion Zaelem at the age of 16 for his first team debut.
Zaelem is the first ever player to play for Arsenal under Wenger who wasn't born when he took charge. An amazing stat, and Zaelem looks like the next on a long list of talented young players Wenger has put faith in while being at the club. With competition as fierce as ever, their would be a real sense of victory for football if Wenger was to win the Premier League.
A man who's believes and philosophy hasn't changed since he took charge in 1996, even when football itself has evolved. Arsenal stood by Wenger when everyone wanted him gone just like Wenger stood by Arsenal when luxurious offers elsewhere came calling.
A commitment and faith that is rarely seen in modern day football. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. A huge few months in store for everyone involved with Arsenal, as they try to prove themselves at the top level of the game again.
One things for sure, Wenger has not lost the passion or the will to succeed.
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