With the current football season entering the latter stages, Arsene Wenger is under immense pressure and it could still yet get worse for the Frenchman. Here is why I think it should be his last at the club.
Arsenal have accumulated just 48 points in 30 league games this season leaving them lying in 6th, 13 points behind their fourth placed North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, and facing what is looking likely to be Wenger’s worse league finish during his 22-year reign at the club. He could of course still get some fans back on his side by doing well in the Europa League which is the competition that looks most likely to be the golden ticket to qualify for next year’s UEFA Champions League.
So why should Arsene Wenger leave Arsenal football club in the summer?
He seems to have become a victim of the power he holds within the club, with the board remaining silent regarding his future and with his position seemingly not under any scrutiny from the current Arsenal hierarchy. From the fans point of view, it seems as though he runs the club from top to bottom, including when he goes or stays – which in my opinion, is completely wrong.
Every Arsenal fan appreciates what he has done for the club and Arsenal are a more stable and well-established club because of him. But not every story has a good ending and I personally think this fairy-tale should have ended after the FA cup win last year. It was a good chance to end on a high, something that he may struggle to do this season.
When you are a manager of a football club, you are an employee. If you do not achieve the aims and objectives set by the board and you do not meet the fans expectations, the likely outcome is that you will get sacked. However, it is clear that the fans and board have vastly different expectations!
Wenger, who constantly insists he loves the club, does not want to walk away – despite the number of protests and fans calling for him to go. With Arsenal going backwards every year both in terms of performance and league position/points, Wenger seems to be immune to getting the sack, and it looks like he does not plan on leaving anytime soon. This has led to Arsenal fans questioning whether the power he holds, and the money he receives, has overtaken his love for the club and his willingness to leave Arsenal in a good position for the future. Or is he just deluded?
The managers’ position also seems to reflect onto some of the players. It does not matter how poorly they perform, they still get into the side the following week. A prime example of this being Granit Xhaka. Despite picking up form in his last few games, the Swiss international has been poor this season, yet he still been picked week after week.
Everybody is too comfortable at Arsenal and that can be seen on the pitch and could be key to the lack of consistency from the team. One week they look like world beaters and the next they look like they don’t want to be at the club.
This boils down to the manager who, in my opinion, isn’t ruthless enough with his players. Players can consistently play poorly yet they know they will play the next week because of the lack of quality in competition and they know the manager has belief in his players, this does not happen with top class managers.
A good example of players changing under a new manager is Raheem Sterling. A player who had struggled to prove his worth at Manchester City under Manuel Pellegrini, but has flourished under the guidance of Guardiola, scoring 20 goals and providing 10 assists in all competitions this season. This is no coincidence either. When a new manager comes in of Guardiola’s calibre and brings his own players and coaching staff in with him, it can give the current players new belief and desire, and they may thrive under the new system and tactics of a new manager – just like Sterling has under Pep.
With the size of a club like Arsenal, the fans do feel the club should be at least be competing for the league and doing considerably well in the Champions League every year. Arsene has consistently failed to meet these expectations year in, year out, for the last 10 years. With this season looking like yet another season without qualifying for the Champions League, Arsenal are going backwards, and for a club of Arsenals stature, this is simply not good enough. When you have consistently failed to compete in 10 years with a number of different squads, the manager is the only common denominator.
Wenger isn’t the only problem though!
Despite Arsene failing to deliver, the board have failed to show any kind of ambition over the years, with the main culprit being Stan Kroenke, who owns 67% of the club. He is a businessman and it is clear he only cares about the money. The American has no relationship whatsoever with the Arsenal fans. He fails to attend the majority of games and has never invested any of his own money into the club. It is the reason that most Arsenal fans want him to sell the club to fan favourite Alisher Usmanov, who failed with a £1 billion bid to buy Stan Kroenke’s shares last year.
The fifth richest man in Britain, who already owns 30.4% of the club, has made it clear his intentions would be to make Arsenal competitive again if he could persuade Kroenke to sell his shares.
What I understand from listening to previous interviews from Usmanov is that his intentions are dedicated to Arsenal the football team, rather than Arsenal the business or his own financial gain. This can only be beneficial for the club in terms of having the money to buy and attract the best players in the world which is what you need if you want to be the world’s best (under the right management of course).
Overall, I believe the majority of the players at this club have the potential to be successful, but they need someone to get it out of them and a new manager with the backing from an ambitious board could revive the players who are currently not enjoying their football. The club has gone stale from top to bottom and in my opinion, needs a fresh start, which hopefully will get the club back on track to competing with the best clubs in the world.