There has been a lot of pressure surrounding Arsene Wenger of late and many Arsenal fans are starting to lose faith in the Frenchman.
Although Arsenal’s start to the season hasn’t been particularly disastrous, there are still calls for Wenger to leave his post after nearly two decades in charge; the fans may well be frustrated with the sporadic form of Arsenal but it would be a massive mistake if Wenger were allowed to leave the club (before his contract is up).
One of the main reasons why it would work against Arsenal is due to stability. Similarly to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, the club clearly struggled to adapt to life without a figurehead as strong and influential as Sir Alex. It is only now that Manchester United can claim that they are putting together results that would have been commonplace under the Scotsman’s reign. Therefore, it seems fair enough to suggest that Arsenal would have similar problems if Wenger suddenly left the post at the Emirates.
This raises the thought of exactly why Arsenal would struggle? To put it rather simply, the current Arsenal squad has clear weaknesses and Wenger is probably getting the best out of his squad at the moment; there is an alarming lack of depth in the defensive areas, where Wenger has relied all too much on younger players to perform in these areas when other first-team players are out injured. Furthermore, there is also no real defensive midfielder in Arsenal’s side; Mathieu Flamini is probably the closest Arsenal have to a defensive midfielder but many fans have not been impressed with his return so far. Mikel Arteta is a liability at times, despite the Spaniard still possessing undoubted technical abilities. However, an all-action, box-to-box midfield engine is what is missing.
Jack Wilshere offered the energetic element to Arsenal’s midfield in a defensive sense but his injury has exposed the problem even more. To put things simply, Wenger could easily sway fans’ opinions by signing the right players in January. A boost to the defensive element of the squad will solidify Arsenal, who have an abundance of attacking midfielders; a sense of variation in midfield will allow the current team to prosper, rather than expose their lack of strength in key areas.
Some Arsenal fans may have become frustrated at the club’s lack of ambition and spending power. However, this is simply not the case. In the past two seasons, Wenger has spent big on both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Although Ozil has struggled at times, Sanchez has been an absolute revelation at the Emirates. If Wenger adopts this marquee signing approach with more of a defensive stance, Arsenal will soon reap the benefits. To accuse Wenger of having no ambition is simply wrong but he must spend wisely in the next couple of transfer windows. Arsenal fans will also have to ask themselves whether life would really be better without their manager. Once again, they are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and are two points adrift of fourth place in the Premier League, not to mention their FA Cup success last year.
Arsenal fans clearly want another push at the Premier League title, however, they must be deluded to think that their current crop of players can get there. Therefore, Wenger still needs time as the club are going through a transitional period and Wenger will continue to invest in players in the future. Wenger is still continuing to nurture young talent and, in the near future, Arsenal could easily look like a side capable of challenging for the title.
Arsenal fans leading the Wenger-out brigade should have some patience, their club is not in crisis and they have one of the best managers in the world who still delivers success every season; sometimes, you have to be careful in what you wish for.