I will love my club my whole life (Arsenal 3, Everton 1)

Only one significant story line was still alive on the final day and even this concluded as everyone had expected.

For Wenger it was “A sad day, the first time in 20 years we have not qualified for the Champions League.”

He could not bring himself to say the words “Europa League” and instead praised his players.

In the last 2 months his players had “responded in a strong way”, “they have learned” and “it is important to keep them together.”

Wengerm

Pressed on his own commitment to the club, Wenger said “I will love my club my whole life, even if I wanted I will not be capable to change that.”

His use of a tricolon adds rhetorical weight to his passion.

“My commitment. my loyalty and my love for the club cannot be questioned.”

The speculation about his future “was a big handicap for the team”. The team “played in a very hostile environment and more than ever we needed to stick together and be very strong together – that is why I tell you this group of people are remarkable and they deserve to be supported in a different way”.

Arsenal fans have only the cup final left to show they can support these remarkable people in a different way .

Leadership communication lesson

Pathos is the appeal to emotion and is the most powerful of the persuasive arts. To work its magic however it must be a shared emotion with the audience. Laughter, for example, is so powerful as it is the audience sharing an emotion together. Wenger, though,  is too far down the road with many Arsenal fans for pathos to have much impact and this is likely to become clear after the cup final.

 

The game was totally under control (Arsenal 2, Man Utd 0)

So this is how the 25 game unbeaten run ended.

A run that had seen the club move from the depths of despair in sixth to the dizzying heights of fifth.

In his post-match interview Mourinho wants to focus our attention on two aspects, the performance and the limitations on his squad.

He does this through braggadocio – elevating his praise for his players.

“I like individual performances and I also like the collective performance.”

“I cannot ask more from players who play not one second of football in the last seven weeks.”

“Jones, Smalling, Mata – amazing.”

“The kid the same – amazing job.”

MUAR

“We were good, well organised, played well, deserved to win and Arsenal were not better than us.”

“The game was totally under control.”

He ends with a joke at Arsenal’s expense and one that reminds every listener of his success as a manager.

“Finally, I leave the stadium with the Arsenal fans happy. It is the first time I see them smile and see them enjoy.”

Leadership communication lesson

Humour is a powerful communication tool. It stimulates emotions and builds on a common set of assumptions or knowledge between you and your audience – in this case Mourinho’s record against Wenger. Get your joke wrong, however, and you will lose the audience. If you are preparing for a speech or presentation and want to use humour, make sure you have tested it in advance. Ask a colleague the question, “Is it funny?” and, if not, cull it.

 

 

The Top 4 is a Trophy (Arsenal 2, Man City 2)

“I will not stop because retirement equals death.”

If you thought Wenger was already under pressure then this quote in the build up to the match caused a double-take.

The failure of the referee to spot an infringement means Wenger dodges the grim-reaper for the moment.

Mental strength is the theme of Wenger’s post-match interview.

The team was “ready for a fight”, “on the mental front it was a very strong performance.” and “for us the test was mental”. “Mentally it has a positive impact on our team”.

wengerapr

This mental victory is the counter-balance for the fact that “mathematically you could say it is not good for them (City) or for us (Arsenal).”

Indeed. League tables can be frustratingly mathematical.

How tough will it be to make the top 4?

For Wenger it will be tough.

He illustrates this by quoting a young manager who has said that in England to be in the top 4 is a trophy because it is so difficult.

The stick that has been used to beat Wenger mercilessly during the 13 years since they last won the title is  effortlessly broken across his knee with this comment.

The young manager in question?

Guardiola.

Leadership communication lesson

The  Enthymeme is a logic sandwich any leader needs to get to grips with to win their arguments. It takes a belief of the audience and uses it to help convince them. If your assumption is that Guardiola is a great manager, then if he thinks a top 4 finish is a trophy, you are logically forced to recognise Wenger’s achievements.  A leader needs to find and understand the assumptions of their audience. Basing your arguments on these assumptions is the strongest way to win any argument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you lose 2 games (Arsenal 2, Hull 0)

From the frothing frenzy of Arsenal Fan TV to the calm and eloquence of  a Wenger post-match interview.

A game in which Arsenal were “resilient and focused”. They “played a little bit nervous” although it was “not easy playing against a good side.”

The opening goal was a handball? “Maybe, I didn’t see it.”

Instead, Wenger uses the interview to frame the supposed crisis surrounding the club and his position as manager.

wenger

The cause of the crisis?

“When you lose 2 games at this club there is an edgy atmosphere.”

“You fight for confidence when you have lost 2 games.”

“It is so dangerous when you lose 2 games on the trot.”

It’s a wonderful example of Syncrisis. The reframing of an argument by redefining it.

The argument is not about Wenger, the “specialist in failure” to use Mourinho’s spiteful jibe,  and the 13 years since Arsenal last won the title.

Not about an argument that has led every back page and every sports show since Hazard turned Koscielny and Coquelin inside out.

And not about an argument enflamed by Ian Wright sharing his own assessment of an assumed private conversation with Wenger in which he sensed he might have had enough. Apparently he had been hurt by the lack of support, said Ian Wright, one his iconic players, who went on to explain why he felt Wenger should leave at the end of the season….

No, the argument is about the loss of 2 games.

Some-one tell Arsenal Fan TV.

Leadership communication lesson

Syncrisis is Greek for ‘alternative judgement’. Wenger speaks many languages, but Greek is not one of them. Wenger understands however that we are surrounded by argument. As a leader you must use this to your advantage. Always choose your strongest arguments and minimise your weakest arguments. Get this wrong and you will not be a leader for very long.