With the Premiership title nearly decided, our focus turns to the next big footballing question. Wenger in or Wenger out?
After weeks of waiting to hear of Arsene Wenger’s fate, surely this latest defeat is the time he tells the world what he has decided. For me it is clear, he must be calling it a day at Arsenal. He had the opportunity to confirm he was staying after the West Brom game a few weeks back. The fact he left the fans and media waiting by saying ‘I’ve made my decision’ was just a way of biding more time before the inevitable.
The 3-0 defeat at Palace surely is the result in which he answers the million dollar question. It’s all becoming a bit farcical at Arsenal. The icing on the cake was Walcott’s comment ‘We are back to our best’ after taking 60 minutes to break the deadlock against Premier League strugglers West Ham at home, to then lose at Selhurst Park. If players are making these sorts of comments to the press, they are clearly trying to persuade the fans that everything is fine behind closed doors. Maybe to give Wenger some much need breathing space and to support their manager. Theo Walcott is a completely separate subject…
I’ve said it for months now, and I’ll say it again – Wenger will not be Arsenal manager next season. The concoction of unhappy supporters, losing the dressing room and the worst run of results in the last 20 years makes for a ‘Wenger Out’ cocktail. In the next couple of weeks supporters will sit back sipping on this new cocktail expressing how good it tastes, and how much they are going to enjoy drinking this cocktail all summer. In fact, most Arsenal supporters will brag about this new cocktail to all their footballing friends, but trust me, by the beginning of September they will start to miss the taste of lager.
You only have to look at Manchester United over the last few years, and even Manchester City this year. Bringing in the so called ‘best’ managers doesn’t automatically mean it guarantees success.
I think seeing that his players have just stopped playing for him in the last few weeks as well as the banners in the crowds, and flying over the stadiums, it has finally become too much for the Frenchman. And too right. It will take Arsenal supporters a couple of years to see what Wenger achieved year in year out, and actually what a feat that was. I know football fans don’t want to talk about the financial side of things but the man literally turned Arsenal into one of England’s top teams. What I know for sure is this; in two years you won’t be able to find one ‘Wenger Out’ supporter, they will just vanish into thin air. I’m already dreading when the time comes listening to Arsenal supporters moan about the good old days under Wenger when they were the ones who pushed him out.
It’s also clear that the board at Arsenal feel the time for change has come too. They must see the caliber of managers being poached by the top teams in the Premier League and they want in on that. I think the board possibly regret not snapping up Klopp when they had the chance, but I think a year and a half ago they couldn’t sack Wenger. Again he had got them into the top four and won the FA cup, they had to stick with him. It’s also clear that Wenger has a Ferguson style stature at Arsenal. What I mean by that is he runs the club from top to bottom, or at least has a say in all aspects. He doesn’t just pick the team. So with that in mind it is difficult to throw the man who is steering the ship overboard. The only way that can happen is if he chooses to jump himself, and unfortunately I believe he walked the plank on Monday night under the flood lights in South East London.
There is a positive in all this for Arsenal fans, and that is that Arsenal is a very tempting football club for nearly all managers around the world. But it does seem they have missed the boat on a lot of managers. If you ask me I’d say they have to try and find a manager who can inject some life back into a club that has gone stale. It needs a manager who can give the club some character and identity on the pitch. For me there is only one man for the job…
Diego Simeone. It’s a perfect fit. For him and Arsenal. In some ways it feels as if Simeone has come to the end of his Atletico Madrid era (The same with Wenger and Arsenal). Atletico Madrid are 3rd at the moment and with two Champions League final defeats it must be hard to rejuvenate yourself and to brush yourself off and start again. I think he probably has taken Atletico Madrid as far as he can, and Arsenal would be the perfect next step. Also, the way he puts his team together on sensible budgets and gets the best from players is very similar to the mould Wenger has made at Arsenal over the years. But more importantly, I think he has the ability to attract world class players like Greizmann to Arsenal, because players want to play for managers who are passionate. What’s more, if someone like Simeone comes in, Sanchez will stay at the club. Win-Win. He could come in, get rid of the dead weight that Wenger has been blind to for too many years and build a good team. The skeleton of a Premier League winning team is there, they just need someone like Simeone to push them on and be truthful and ruthless with certain players. Plus, it would be great to see Simeone in the Premier League.
Wenger has made his mind up because, probably deep down, he doesn’t believe Arsenal are going to finish in the top four. That must have hit home after the final whistle on Monday night and with the players not playing for him anymore as they have undoubtably lost faith and certain sections of the crowd fighting one another (I mean even the players are fighting in training) Wenger has no choice but to clear his desk.
Jamie Redknapp summed it up perfectly after the West Brom game saying that Wenger is not to blame for the results on the pitch but the players themselves. The passion and anger from his comments on Sky Sports after the match is how Wenger must be feeling inside. Even Henry couldn’t defend the players.
It’s sad that it ends like this for Wenger, especially after all the amazing things he has done for Arsenal Football Club and he won’t get the send off Ferguson got at United because of the divide within the supporters. He is a great manager and I think he will take one more managerial job before calling it a day. I hope and pray that there will be a day when Wenger takes a team to the Emirates, wins, and he can then put two fingers up to the ‘Wenger Out’ supporters!
Finishing on an unusual sad note. Wenger finally leaving Arsenal means it is the end of an era for the Premier League. Never again are we going to see managers reign for so long at one club. We won’t see managers like Wenger and Ferguson stay at a club for twenty years. Sadly, football has developed and moved forward in a way that managers don’t get the time they deserve.