After losing to Barcelona, Manchester United and Swansea in recent weeks, has Arsene Wenger run his course as Arsenal manager?
Arsenal, who currently sit third in the table, six points behind leaders Leicester City, haven’t won the league since the Invincibles in 2004. Since this win, the Gunners’ highest league finish was second in 2005 but they haven’t finished above third since then. This is not good enough from a side that turn over a reported £300m a year, and have the highest ticket prices in the league.
The man who has been in charge for 19 years, once described fourth place as a ‘trophy’ which many believed showed the lack of ambition he has implemented at this club which is intolerable for a manager at a club like Arsenal. He has come under constant scrutiny from fans and fellow peers alike. Jose Mourinho described him as a ‘specialist in failure’ before he won the FA Cup in 2014, which was his first in nine years. Mourinho also claims every manager is under pressure to succeed apart from the Frenchman.
In recent times Arsenal have been fortunate to finish fourth, as in the 2012/13 season, they left it until the last few games to overtake north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, which marked celebrations from the manager and squad a like as if they had just won the league, this is not the Arsenal of old. A new direction is needed. A direction where finishing fourth is a bad season and only challenging for titles will do.
Finally when the fans feel a new tide has come at Arsenal, winning 10 games back-to-back at the end of last season, and the current crop of players come out talking as if they are going to make a lighting start to the current campaign, but the Gunners lost 2-0 to West Ham on the opening day of this season. To top it off, Wenger fails to make the most of another transfer window, only bringing in Petr Cech, making them the only team not to sign an outfield player in Europe’s top five leagues – although the Czech Republic stopper has kept 12 clean sheets in all competitions since arriving at the Emirates.
With this season being tipped as Arsenal’s year, with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all crumbling. Arsenal’s bid has also faltered with losses to United, Chelsea, Southampton and the latest to stun being Swansea. The Gunners have failed to make the title their own and have slipped below Leicester and fierce rivals Tottenham in recent weeks.
Wenger’s excuses seem to have run their course as well as the man at the realm has always claimed the teams above Arsenal have more financial power but that’s not the case with Tottenham and Leicester.
The Frenchman’s transfer dealings in his Arsenal career have been somewhat below par in every way. Yes, in the last couple of seasons he has brought in two sensational players in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and he oversaw most of the arrivals of the Invincibles, but don’t forget the man that really brought in the bulk of the squad, was of course, David Dean. The so-called next generation of Arsenal were pretty much all sold off controversially to big clubs or rivals including the likes of former captain’s Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie as well as Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, who all went to Premier League rivals Manchester City.
The 66-year-old’s replacements of these great players have been poor with the likes of Marouane Chamahk, Yossi Benayoun, Kim Kallstrom, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta and Sebastien Squillaci all coming in.
With Arsenal in their usual stuttering form, fourth place looms again and so it’s time to say a sad but needed farewell to the greatest manager this football club has ever seen.