The League looks as if it’s slipping from Arsenal’s grasp yet again; is it time for Arsene Wenger to leave?
Before I get into this I want to write as a general disclaimer that if you’re looking for a ‘Wenger Out’ rant, you’ve come to the wrong place. I am and always have been pro-Wenger and currently do think he’s the right man for the job.
With that said, I do think that questions need to be asked and just blindly skipping to fourth place for yet another season, hand-in-hand with le Professeur, isn’t something that I’m really willing to do again.
Sunday’s loss against Manchester United hit me in the gut. Before this, I thought it couldn’t get worse than the crippling embarrassment of losing at home to the worst Chelsea team for years but hey, I was wrong. The weakened Red Devils were there for the taking. For the first time in around 10 million years (give or take) we were favourites to come out of the clash with all three points.
Combine this with the fact that Leicester narrowly beat Norwich the day before, allowing them to jump five points clear at the top of the table again, and we simply had to win. At this stage in the season we had no other option.
Apparently no one told Arsenal that and despite Wenger fielding arguably our strongest possible team at this point in time, we lost. But it wasn’t the loss that irked me the most, it was the complete lack of creativity, drive and ambition from the players. Graeme Souness, a man I don’t habitually find myself agreeing with, summed it up post-match when he described us as ‘weak’ and ‘insipid’.
Now I fully understand that Wenger wasn’t necessarily entirely to blame on this occasion. He’s selected the strongest team he could and there’s only so much he can do after he’s put them out there. I was more angry at the players this time around. But there is and has been a pattern emerging throughout this squad over the last few months. It’s wasting away. We look tired and unable to string passes together. Our solid shape and character from the beginning of the season (with the exception of West Ham) has warped and we look completely lost no matter what starting XI Wenger puts out. This is where I do blame the boss. If he’s rotating and each player still doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be doing, something’s not sinking in behind the scenes.
Again, and I can’t stress this enough, I don’t want Wenger to be sacked, nor do I want him hounded out of our club. But I do want change and it needs to be drastic.
I don’t think it’s as simple as just paying millions for a top striker. Although that would be nice, this current squad has proven that we’re able to ripe apart any team. We beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at home, remember? Therefore, we do have the right tools, but something has happened along the way and we’re no longer using them correctly.
Could this be down to injuries, specifically Santi Cazorla? The problems seem to have originated in midfield and we were showing signs of losing our structure in our match against Swansea away earlier in the season before we was sidelined. However, they got considerably worse afterwards. Shouldn’t our squad be able to deal with one player missing?
Take a key player out of most teams and they’ll most likely struggle, but would they struggle quite as much as we have?
One thing is for sure: something, somewhere went wrong and that something, somewhere needs to be put right. I’m no football manager (who knew?) so I know that it’s not nearly as simple as I’m making it sound, but if something doesn’t improve soon I think we will be saying goodbye to Wenger in the summer.
This season, while trying not to sound like one of ‘those’ fans, was meant to be our year. Our rivals are all over the place, we’ve got a decent squad who have been together for a long time now and this was our time. If we can’t win it now, especially after such a strong start, we have serious problems and unless Wenger attempts to address them, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep fighting his corner.