Anyone who watched the recent series Versailles on BBC 2 would know it tells the story of the rise and fall of the Bourbon dynasty through the eyes of three successive monarchs which eventually culminates in the seismic Revolution. It is a story of progressive decline illustrated by the gradual erosion in governing standards; from the iron willed and unquenchable Louis XIV to the ill equipped Louis XV and finally to the bumbling and indecisive Louis XVI. For Arsenal football club the rise and fall of a dynasty can be shown through the eyes of one man.
In the aftermath of the 8-2 destruction at Old Trafford, this space asked the question what is lower than rock bottom Wenger? The answer it seems is getting trounced by vastly superior Milan and then getting outfought by a rejuvenated Sunderland thus exiting two cup competitions in a week.
The results have exposed Arsenal for what they really and taken away the façade of Van Persie`s brilliance. They are a second rate power who have not only stagnated but regressed under their once imperious leader. No longer can Arsenal football club be considered anything but an afterthought for a trophy.
Managers are often unfairly blamed for their team’s failings but in this case the evidence against Wenger is damning. Too often he has allowed quality players to leave and replaced them with potentials or substandard footballers. His decision to sever the link between the old and the new has resulted in a lack of smooth transition, the kind that United have mastered.
No one seems to have a conclusive idea as to Arsenal transfer spending power but that can offer no strong excuse as to Wenger transfer failings. Allowing Fabregas, Nasri and to a lesser extent Clichy to leave simultaneously has proved to be a catastrophic error. The last few years have seen Arsenal on the cusp of achieving something special before amusingly imploding in spring. This season the damage was done before a ball was kicked.
His tactical failings have been reported and they have prevented him from lifting the European cup, but domestically his ability to spot and nurture a world-class player and the ability to construct an attacking team have seen him amass a host of silverware. Defensively too he used to have an iron clad back four in place which was often shielded by terrier like midfielders, such commodities are now extinct at Arsenal, (but they can be seen down the road at Tottenham).
The most disturbing aspect of the whole saga is the managers infuriating attitude. His recalcitrance and pride have spilled over into delusion, arrogance and at times paranoia. He is beginning to resemble those nobles who continued to live the life of decadence in the palace of Versailles; unaware that unrest was sweeping the rest of the population. Wenger appears wholly resistant to change.
Wenger loves Arsenal; of that there is no doubt. It is his baby club, one that he has forged in his own image. For him to abdicate his throne would cause him immense emotional turmoil. However it makes it all the sadder he has let his own hubris take precedence over the needs of his squad. His frequent claims that Arsenal remain just a shade behind the superpowers of Europe has never really stood up to scrutiny but such boasts now look derisory.