Three wins in the space of a week, yet still all is not rosy at Arsenal. If the murmurings of frustration and disillusionment that could be heard around the Emirates Stadium in Wednesday evening’s Premier League clash with Southampton were not ominous enough for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, and which dissipated only when Alexis Sanchez – so often the saviour of the North London club this season – swept home a late winner, then a banner unfurled by Arsenal fans at last weekend’s victory at West Bromwich Albion which called for him to leave the club is a sure sign that not every Gunners supporter is too pleased with the way things are going under the Frenchman.
Do the dissenters have a point? Or are they asking for too much?
Arsene Wenger would point to the fact that under his leadership, Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League for eighteen years in a row, whilst also winning a number of trophies including the Premier League and the FA Cup. Although they may not have recently enjoyed the same level of success as the Invincibles side which stormed to the title a decade ago, they did at least bring to an end a nine-year trophy drought last season by lifting the FA Cup, which may be an indication that Wenger’s side have found that intangible winning formula that can land further silverware in the near future.
What’s more, the fact that Wenger has been at the club for such a long period of time could signal a period of instability for Arsenal should they decide to seek a replacement for the 65 year-old. With Gunners fans seemingly so desperate for immediate success, sticking with Wenger may in fact be the right approach for the North London outfit to realise this; Manchester United know all too well the perils of replacing a managerial legend, and given that realistic options are currently scarce, parting ways with Wenger now could turn out to be an unwise move.
However, the Arsenal fanbase’s frustrations at Wenger’s constant excuses that Champions League qualification alone equates to a successful season is entirely understandable. After years of relative parsimony in the transfer market, the Gunners have spent big in recent seasons – the acquisitions of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez for £42 million and £35 million being the stand-out examples – and the matchgoers who spend a considerable sum on tickets to see their team play are right to demand progress, which Wenger simply isn’t delivering at the moment, and hasn’t been for quite a while. Qualifying for the Champions League without fail is undoubtedly a fine achievement on the Frenchman’s behalf, but if it becomes the limit of the club’s ambitions, then surely a change is needed?
Arsene Wenger still retains the backing of the majority of the Gunners fanbase, and their recent winning streak could kickstart what has otherwise been a pretty miserable campaign. However, he must start aiming higher and challenge for the title as a club of Arsenal’s size and standing should be doing consistently. If this does not happen soon, the voices of discontent will only increase in volume.
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