Is Wenger’s time at Arsenal coming to an end?
Arsene Wenger has thrown in the Champions League towel after a battering yesterday evening from German outfit Bayern Munich.
After claiming his Arsenal side now have a better chance of breaking back into the Premier League’s top four than turning round Bayern Munich’s 3-1 first-leg lead, it seems the clubs Champions League dream is over for yet another season.
The under-fire Gunners boss – the subject of calls from angry and frustrated fans to quit – watched helpless as Bayern hit three away goals with brutal ruthlessness
The fact remains, Arsenal are 21 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United and having gone out of both domestic cup competitions to opponents from lower divisions, the club are looking at another trophy less campaign.
In reality, Arsenal are no longer competitive in the Premier League or in the any of England’s domestic cups. For the Gunners it has now been eight long years without competitive success.
No-one will be hurting or feeling the embarrassment as much as Arsene Wenger. But is it time for the Frenchman to stand aside? or failing this, could he eventually face the sack.
Sadly, it feels like that we are approaching D-day, as far as Wenger’s career at Arsenal is concerned, he will surely be asking himself whether his time has come.
There’s no doubt he has been the best manager in Arsenal’s history, having enjoyed huge success in the past. But football is a results business and in this case the past counts for nothing. The fans have long since forgotten the success of the ‘Invincibles’ during the 2003-04 season. In the meantime, they have witnessed no such joy.
Wenger’s contract is set to expire in 2014. If Arsenal feel that he will not push them forward in his final year then they should look towards a new manager come the end of the season.
However, if Wenger achieves a top four finish this season and uses the fund available to him in the next transfer market, then he deserves the chance and final year to put it right.
The club had money to spend in January. The winter market is never a good time to buy. But that makes Wenger’s decision not to buy more last summer even more frustrating.
Despite signing the likes of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud, the club have never really recovered from the loss of Robin van Persie, who carried the Gunners last season.
In the last few years, Arsenal have been heavily critiqued for becoming a selling club. Van Persie was yet another big-name player joining the exodus of players to leave the Emirates, amongst the likes of Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
The questions are being asked at press conferences. Why start so poorly? Why defend so badly? Do you need new defenders?
Naturally, Wenger shrugs it off, defends his players and then boasts about their second half resilience. What do fans really expect him to say? He’ll certainly not admit to the answers the fans seem to think he should say, like, ‘my players are not good enough’, ‘we’re defending badly’, ‘my time has gone’. No manager says that.
Currently, the only shining light at Arsenal seems to be the prospect of Jack Wilshere. However at just 21, he is having too much pressure put on his shoulders. However, the youngster has recently publicly defended his manager.
After the defeat to Munich, Wilshere admitted: “We didn’t start great – and that’s been a thing for us this season.
“In the second half, we stepped it up and it’s unfortunate we didn’t do that in the first half. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s a bit of nerves or anxiety because we show what we can do when we play, we will look at it and try to put it right.”
Wilshere leaped to Wenger’s defence and said the players should take the blame.
He added: “It’s nothing to do with the manager, he puts us on the pitch, it’s down to us to perform.
“The players have to take responsibility, the manager has been here for 16 years and he’s done a great job. There’s always a chance in the second leg, but we need a few goals. We have the players to do it; we just have to start better
Club captain, Thomas Vermaelen has also come out fighting in support of his under pressure boss.
“Of course we’re behind him,” he said. “He’s done a lot for this club. He still does a lot of hard work with us. He is the right man for the job.
“We have to show it on the pitch as well. At the moment the results are not good. But we will work hard with him to get the results back.”
Asked if he was shocked at the pressure Wenger is under, Vermaelen added: “Yeah, I am actually.
“Everyone in football looks too short term. They don’t look at the long term, and he’s done a lot for this club.
Clearly Wenger has full backing from his playing staff. In this case it seems his main opposition is indeed the club’s supporters.
Celebrity Arsenal fan Piers Morgan believes the time has come for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to resign. Morgan believes they will not make the Champions League qualifying spot unless the current manager leaves the club.
Despite all this, majority shareholder Stan Kroenke loves Wenger and gives his full backing. After all, as a business, Wenger has made the club huge amounts of money. Having sold players in the market for huge profit, the Frenchman has also maintained the clubs Champions League status season after season. What more could the owners want from their investment?
However Arsenal is not a business. It’s a football club and the fans are right to crave trophies to go with the top four finishes. If the Gunners want to re-establish the ambition that saw them compete as title contenders all those years ago, then it’s time for change.
That will either come with a change in management style, or a change of manager. The truth is Wenger has stubbornly resisted change. In my opinion his remaining days at Arsenal are limited, if the club wants to move forward then a new man in charge is needed.
Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and opinions. Should Wenger stay on as manager of Arsenal football club? or is it time for change at the Emirates?
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