Like a tedious Spotify playlist, Arsenal have kept on playing the same stuff for almost a decade with little to no success. It would be unjust though to say Arsene Wenger's method is not of value, given it is mostly attacking and entertaining. Besides, his ability to find and develop promising youngsters has also made fans believe in his ways and be patient.
Unfortunately, however, none of that seems to be working at the moment, as Guardian writer Jonathan Wilson put it, "Arsenal have a squad full of lost boys, promising young stars who never quite grew up and operate in a Neverland of unfulfilled potential."
Nevertheless, unlike what6 most people think, it is not that Wenger still does not consider opponent analysis as a determining factor in developing a strategy, rather he now spends so much time on it that he has missed the latest innovation in football, which is time, the fourth dimension in the game.
Today, most coaches consider width, depth and breadth as three dimensions in their geometrical vision of the game. However, only those who added the fourth dimension, time, to that geometry, are now ruling European football. Ontology, a specific branch of metaphysics that works on dimensions and four-dimensionalism, is the newest addition to the football strategist's guidebook, given physics would be incompatible to theorize something as highly abstract as football. And, in order to organize the team's collective action on the pitch, a coach must have a clear vision of what constitutes a composition and a fusion, even though he/she may not have studied ontology.
Consider a set-piece with more than two players, because, I believe, three is the minimum number of players required to execute a planned-out set-piece.
Two players can execute simple attacking or defensive moves with their conjectural vision, but three or more players would always require a pre-planned strategy to move collectively. At that point, a coach must develop a strategy that considers the width, depth, breadth of the space and time.
In Wenger's mind, there is a concrete plan on positioning that may utilize the three dimensions well, but he is about utilizing time.
In most cases you will find Arsenal players in the right position, but either they are too slow to react and move or do not know how where to go or where to pass within the right timeframe.
You will understand my point clearly once we analyze Jurgen Klopp's work at Liverpool. Klopp's game plan is centered around time. Given gegenpressing is only viable when all other geometric possibilities are crippled. At the same time, for an opposition defender, a team that utilizes gegenpressing must also excel in utilizing time the right way. Otherwise, you will end up working in three dimensions like Arsenal, with limited effect on the field.
Now, the question is not whether Arsene Wenger will regret keeping Alexis Sanchez on the bench against Liverpool, because as I have said many times in this column, one player's actions alone in four dimensions, without his teammates' participation, would mean little. If Arsenal want to get rid of this "lost boys" stigma, either Arsene Wenger must understand the new metaphysics of the game or he must go, simple as that.