Is it the time or should it be time for Arsenal to let go of their finest manager of the modern era? The very man who made them a wonderful concoction of grace, pace, skill and most importantly winning in style team in the league, the hot ticket in the premier league was to watch the Gunners play. Right now all this seems a distinct memory as The Arsenal are miring away into a rut with the manager apparently clueless.
How did this all go wrong for Arsene?
2014 when Aaron Ramsey scored the winner at Wembley, the unanimous feeling was of relief with a certain weight lifted from everyone’s shoulders. Ivan Gazidis coming out and saying we will be like Bayern Munich in a few years and we are working towards it earnestly, was lapped by the fans and critics alike in the aftermath of the win.
Arsene Wenger was again the toast of the Arsenal fans and when the open bus parade reached the emirates enclosure, Arsene got the loudest cheer from the faithful. Fast forward to 2017 and 2 FA cup final wins as well, the feeling was we are far away from the original idea.
Talking about 2017, Wenger’s Arsenal finished 5th, the first time out of top 4 in his reign. For the ones who chided him for that achievement, the value can be understood now when a lot of the so-called bigger teams accept that top 4 indeed is an achievement. Yet with 75 points, the Gunners finished 5th leading to hug outpouring of “you don’t know what you are doing” before the FA cup final.
Arsenal though had the chance to redeem having done the unthinkable by beating Pep’s city in the semifinals to reach an unprecedented 3rd final in 4 years. In the finals, Arsenal outplayed Chelsea the league winners and were worthy winners of the trophy. Again the sense was this was the perfect script for a fairytale ending to the great man, yet Arsene stayed on and signed a contract for 2 years.
Fast forward to the start of this season and the continual contract saga of Ozil and Sanchez, the stuttering start, the resounding away defeats and the sense of the players being extremely lethargic and stale was evident. Wenger just did not seem to be able to motivate his players for one more time, something he had done for so long. The very players who used to play for him seemed distantly away from the manager’s vision for the game. How can this go so wrong for the Frenchman?
The main reason could be that Arsene Wenger does not want to budge from his steadfast ways. He wants his entire team to play the game as it is supposed to be, play from the back, quick passing, each one takes the other’s position when in need and overall have a fluid system for a seamless transition. Sadly that happens in the ideal world whereas, in real football, we have specialists for each position.
How come there was never a defensive midfielder bought? Why was a centre back not bought knowing very well Koscielny has had a history of Achilles problem, Per Mertesacker should have retired after the FA cup final and neither Chambers to a large extent and Holding to a lesser extent have matched up to their initial hype. He did add Sead Kolasinac but after a couple of months, he suddenly seemed to have been phased out, begs the question why?
Ironically the football has become boring, something you could never accuse Arsene Wenger’s team to be. The fast, incisive football has now become laboured and sideways passing boredom. This is probably the one that hurts the most and the likely last nail in the coffin.
Apart from odd moments of magic ( Everton/Spurs), the Gunners cannot assure a win even when they look comfortable. Agreed no game can, but the previous Arsenal teams and I don’t mean just the invincible ones, did win games they looked like. Even when called flat track bullies (easily beating mid/lower table teams) and losing to the bigger teams, Arsenal did manage to do so regularly. Now a win is treasured for its rarity.
The most important thing in all this is it is not when but more so who will ask him to leave? The man has given his life for the club and it will take a tremendous effort to get him off. The board needs to have set him a target for this season and if he does not achieve it, he should be asked to leave. The backup plan seems to be in motion with the bringing in of newer scouts and also talks of a ” director of football”, all that should part of the process but first identify the man to replace the great man and do it now.
Time to go Arsene, your legacy although belittled now will never be diminished. you have done so much for the club and the premier league overall that you will always be remembered as a true pioneer.
Go Arsene before they ask you.