Recently a collection of Arsenal supporters have been asking for Wenger to go stating ‘all good things must come to an end, Wenger out’ on boards within the ground.
Even a number of ex Arsenal players believe enough is enough.
But should he go?
Arsenal have not won a league title since 2004, they have come close on a number of occasions and it is felt they have bottled it when it really matters.
Since 2004, they have won the FA Cup 3 times, reached a Champions League final in 2006 and they have finished in the top 4 every season. Is this good enough?
I feel that Arsenal fans are living in the past slightly, expecting too much from a team that financially cannot completely compete with the two Manchester clubs or arch London rivals Chelsea.
Arsenal have had a number of world class players, and with the talent they have produced through the years and Wenger’s sharp eye for a young prodigy they perhaps should have done better.
There is no question that Arsenal play beautiful attacking football, but they fail to produce the goods when matches get difficult and especially in games against the top teams. This season Arsenal continued to press Leicester at The Emirates and claim a late winner through Danny Welbeck.
At this point, I thought that Arsenal had turned a corner. I had not seen this kind of fight and hunger from the Gunners since the invincibles in 2004. Unfortunately I was wrong. This kind of football has not been replicated since.
They seem to lack the fight to the end attitude that Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United had or most recently replicated by Manchester City when they first won the Premier League.
What about this season?
After winning back to back FA Cups, many felt that a title push this season was certainly on the cards. The squad the Gunners have is a strong one.
The problem I have found with Arsenal this season is their injuries.
Jack Wilshere has been out all season, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have missed several games, Danny Welbeck missed a large chunk of the campaign, amongst many other injuries this season. They have had key players missing at key moments during the season and it has most certainly taken its toll.
I actually feel that not winning the league this season is not Arsene Wenger’s fault. I believe that it is largely down to injuries incurred throughout the squad, whilst a number of key players have not performed at the right moments in the season.
Take the defeat to a young Manchester side at Old Trafford. Alexis Sanchez was completely marked out of the game by a recent graduate into the squad Varela. An experienced Sanchez should have definitely had the beating of him, but didn’t.
Home form has been a major issue for Arsenal this season. Their away form would seem them challenging for the title alone, but the home form has deteriorated their chances.
The Emirates does not seem to be the fortress that Highbury used to be. Maybe due to the lack of noise in the ground? It has been widely mentioned that the design of the stadium does not hold the crescendo of noise in very well. Which doesn’t make for much of an atmosphere.
I think these factors have played a major part, but I do also feel that Arsene Wenger has failed for many years to galvanise his team at the right moments to produce the goods to win the vital matches. Too many times have Arsenal faded towards the end of the season, sometimes moving from 1st / 2nd all the way down to fourth within a few months.
Sometimes it seems like a lack of interest by the players as the season progresses.
I believe the time is right for something new at Arsenal, a fresh outlook would benefit. Over years Arsene seems to have focused more on playing aesthetically pleasing football rather wining matches.
The problem is however, is who do you bring in? If they don’t bring someone in with the right pedigree, then they will do even worse than Wenger, at least he’s been consistent.
I think a Simeone type figure should be brought in. They missed out on Giardiola. These type of managers would be perfect for Arsenal, to continue to produce brilliant attacking football whilst having a better mentality of winning.
I also think Arsenal need to sign more ‘winners’. They should look to bring in more players that have won trophies and know how to win like they did with Petr Cech. This would help increase that winning mentality. I feel that Arsenal should actually look to release players with reoccurring injuries such as Wilshere and bring in players that actually have good fitness history. This would aid squad depth.
Another key for Arsenal, is to keep its key players at the club and not sell them like they have done in the past. Arsenal have repeatedly sold its best players in previous years so much so that whenever Arsene chose a new captain it was automatically presumed that they would be the next big name player to leave the club.
Keep Wenger until the opportune moment, when the right manager is available to come in. If they rush this, it could backfire (like it has done with Manchester United).
Sources: The Mirror, The Guardian.