It’s that time of the year again when the “Wenger Out” banners are unfurled to fly high at the Emirates stadium, seems to be more of an annual event than anything else for the Arsenal fans crying for the dismissal of their long-serving manager.
It’s February and the UEFA champions league football returns with the Round of 16 knockout phase. The first day of the knockout phase had seen a huge upset with PSG humiliating Barcelona in a 4-0 rout at the Parc des Princes and Benfica win with a slim advantage over Borussia Dortmund.
The previous week had seen a dip in form for the Gunners, a shocking loss to Watford at the Emirates, and an abysmal defensive display against Chelsea that resulted in Eden Hazard scoring a contender for the Goal of the Season had seen them lose ground in the title race. They were 12 points behind the league leaders and yet another year where in Arsene Wenger had failed to deliver the league title.
The Arsenal faithful, noting Bayern’s less than impressive displays in the Bundesliga under Carlo Ancelotti, were hoping also for some sort of upset but that wasn’t forthcoming when they played at the Allianz Arena last Wednesday. Arsenal succumbed to a brutal 5-1 loss but it seems a normal occurrence for the English side as they tend to capitulate to unimaginable losses whenever they play Bayern away in the Champions league with the exemption of that infamous 2-0 win in 2013 but they were still knocked out on aggregate.
A total abject and abysmal display, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was seen furiously berating his teammates on the pitch, the players looked like they were “mentally fragile” as stated by club legend Thierry Henry. Not only match performances have caused unrest around the Emirates during this period but there is also the issue of the lingering contract disputes between the club and star players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez hanging around the air.
This year had seen an increase in the tide of the “Wenger Out” cries as fans, ex-players and pundits such as Michael Owen and Jamie Redknapp have acknowledged that it’s time for the long-serving stalwart to resign and handover the reins to another manager.
The betting sites and media are having a field day with bets and articles on who is to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal with three prominent names constantly propping up. Massimiliano Allegri, manager of Juventus, Eddie Howe of Bournemouth and of course Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid all seem to be in the fold but I do agree with Henry in his staunch defence of Wenger.
I do believe Wenger should be allowed to stay on at Arsenal at least for the four more years he claims he has in management. Wenger has done a wonderful job at Arsenal which most people fail to see and he certainly deserves more respect than what he is given presently, the transition of the club over the years to the Emirates Stadium, constantly qualifying for Champions league football on a limited budget.
He has accomplished something which I doubt any other manager would be able to accomplish for years to come going undefeated the entire season, a run which lasted for 49 games a record that still stands till today, so how did it get so wrong for the man who claims he hates defeat so much to the extent of being sick after a defeat?
Isn’t this Arsene the same Arsene of the invincible 2003-2004 season? Wenger has shouldered the blame of recent, understandably he is in charge of the team but some of the players can do a lot better than what they have been doing. Ozil started the season in fantastic form but recently seem to have gone incognito and Granit Xhaka has not shown any reason for why the Gunners purchased him for over £30m last summer, Sanchez seems only to be the cream of the crop but then one man can’t carry the weight of the team all season long.
The pressure on Wenger gets greater each year he fails to deliver and hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be the last season for one of football’s most iconic and longest serving managers.