Football FanCast columnist Tom Jones wonders if Arsenal fans share Arsene Wenger's optimism.
Arsene Wenger has become something of an institution at Arsenal and many Gunners fans could not imagine the club without him. But having gone four seasons without a trophy, how long will the fans continue to back him? Is the team Wenger has assembled this season led by Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie destined to end Arsenal’s long wait for silverware? Arsene Wenger certainly thinks so, but do the Arsenal fans share his optimism?
Arsenal have made a good start to their Premier League campaign this season, having won all of their games at the Emirates Stadium and only slipping up on the road in tough matches against Manchester United and City. The team that Wenger has developed has been years in the making, but finally it looks like they are set to deliver. Fabregas has been sensational this season, setting up goals for fun and he has been well supported by the whole team, from Vermaelen to Arshavin. They look well balanced, have a good blend of creativity and endeavour and have all the tools required to mount a serious title challenge.
Manager Arsene Wenger has put plenty of faith into his current crop of talent and strongly believes that this season will be a successful one. “I know that we haven't won a trophy for four years, but we have been very close and I believe that this year the team will do it,” said Wenger at Arsenal’s AGM. Wenger, who was also celebrating his sixtieth birthday, is Arsenal’s longest serving manager in their history and is showing a new found confidence this year. He further said “When I say that, it is not to please you, it is because I am really convinced of it.” So Wenger is convinced that Arsenal will win a trophy this season, but if they don’t should Wenger and Arsenal part company?
One ex-Arsenal player certainly feels that time is running out for Wenger and that this is a vital season. Emmanuel Petit told BBC Sport “they have to win something this season or the pressure on Arsene's shoulders will be huge.” The Frenchman even thinks that Wenger is fortunate to still be charge of the team after four fruitless seasons. Petit further stated "when the manager doesn't win a trophy for four years at any of the other big clubs in Europe they are fired.” Would a continuation of the trophy drought result in big players like Fabregas wanting to play their football elsewhere for a team that is winning titles for fun?
Surely Arsene Wenger has earned and deserves the patience of the fans for all that he has done for Arsenal in the past decade? Arsenal would certainly be a lesser team without Wenger but will a time ever come when the fans will start to say enough is enough? It’s a credit to Arsenal fans that they continue to back Wenger and they seem to share his optimism this season, and come May next year the Arsenal trophy cabinet could well be the home to some more silverware.