The mystery about Arsene Wenger’s future is still unclear. Will the Arsenal manager continue at the Emirates for another year? Or will he call time on an illustrious reign in North London?
The Gunners recent defeat to Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace means they have now lost four away games on the bounce. A torrid run which has understandably shrouded his future in even more uncertainty. For the most part, Arsenal look bereft of ideas. Constantly falling foul of their obvious shortcomings.
Many question Wenger’s inability to overcome visible issues with his brittle Arsenal team. They are often referred to as psychologically weak – unable to cope with the pressures of a title race or an attack-minded team who are willing to take the game to a defensively weak Arsenal side. After all, this Arsenal side don’t have the toughness of a Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, and well, the list goes on. The Frenchman has failed to replace sturdy, dependable Championship-pedigree figures, time and time again – opting instead for cheaper models in the hope the ‘Arsenal system can develop these players’ into the next Premier League superstar.
Wenger’s stubbornness has cost him dearly over the years, but this is most definitely his darkest period at the helm. With the Arsenal faithful split between loyalty and outright hatred, it seems only right than he should walk away at the end of the season as an iconic Arsenal manger and not taint his legacy anymore than he already has with this disappointing season.
A short trip to struggling Crystal Palace was meant to be a chance for Arsenal to redeem themselves, but under Allardyce they have become the antithesis of Arsenal; resolute, hard to break down, a solid work ethic and flexible in their game plans. They’ve added the likes of Mamadou Sakho to their ranks, who has helped sure things up at the back. Prior to the game, leading football journalist Mike Norman documented on Betfair Premier League that Palace would be without “Yohan Cabaye, James McArthur, Scott Dann, Patrick van Aanholt and James Tomkins” for the game against Arsenal. After thrashing the Gunners 3-0, this made the victory even more unbelievable due to the Eagles’ injury woes. It also shone light on how bad Arsenal have been of late.
There are eight games left in the Premier League season – 8 games to salvage Arsenal’s season. They currently lie 7 points behind Manchester City in their hunt for a Champions League spot. Not qualifying for the CL next season would be disastrous for the club financially but also in their chances of retaining some of their biggest stars as well as signing new players. However, there is a silver lining for many Arsenal fans if they don’t qualify for the CL, as they feel this is what will help usher Wenger out the door at the Emirates. With an announcement imminent on the Frenchman’s future, the results will certainly have to pick up immediately for him to be able to garner the support from the Gunners faithful for the remaining fixtures and beyond. Or has the damage already been done?