This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Cast your mind back a few seasons, and you will remember the incessant in-fighting amongst Arsenal supporters.
The main source of debate was Arsene Wenger. Of course, the Frenchman’s influence on the Gunners was revolutionary when he first joined the north London outfit in 1996, winning two doubles and leading the side to an unbeaten Premier League season.
However, after 2005, he hit a barren spell, winning just three more major trophies in 13 years. Eventually, he left at the end of the 2017/18 season, much to the joy of the Wenger Out brigade.
Indeed, the slogan went viral. Per a Times piece in 2018, posters were not just seen at The Emirates, but also at an anti-Robert Mugabe protest in Zimbabwe and at the Glastonbury music festival. One sign was seen at Wrestlemania in America; another at a World Cup qualifier between New Zealand and Fiji. It was a global phenomena.
Arsenal had become stale under the 69-year-old, and a new impetus was needed. Unai Emery was chosen to be the man to usher in a new era at the Emirates Stadium.
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According to The Athletic, though, there is some discontent amongst the squad in regards to his training sessions. They are deemed by several members of the side to be too repetitive, and they are believed to be growing frustrated. In light of this recent report, it is worth considering whether the former Sevilla boss has really brought in the positive change many hoped for.
The fact is, there has not been much difference between the two. During Wenger’s last term, Arsenal ended up with 63 points and finished in sixth place. Whilst the Gunners may have moved up one spot and earned seven more points last time out, the end result was the same: no Champions League football.
In the cup competitions, there was once again little to split them. Wenger led his side to the League Cup final in 2018, whilst Emery took Arsenal to the Europa League final in May. On both occasions, the north Londoners were easily dispatched, by Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.
It remains to be seen whether Arsenal kick on this term, but it doesn’t look too promising so far. They currently sit seventh in the table, and last Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Watford was reminiscent of the end of Wenger’s reign as they failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead.
Under the former Nagoya Grampus Eight boss, the Gunners were connected with a possession style of play. Under Emery, though, the side has no clear identity.
After sustained periods of criticism, Wenger finally departed the Emirates Stadium after 22 years in charge. However, little has changed since then.
They remain cast adrift of the top two, desperately attempting to qualify for the Champions League. Yet again, there is no guarantee it will happen this season.
As the old adage goes, the grass isn’t always greener.