Following an abysmal and dull performance against QPR last weekend, is it time for Chairman Peter Hill-Wood to start thinking about replacing manager since 2006 Wenger?
The Frenchman has been fighting off negative press recently after a series of mediocre matches and loss of quality where many top players, even before Van Persie left, have jumped ship or been sold outward-bound.
In the last 2 months Arsenal has piggy-backed off some solid wins, notably 6-1 twice against bottom-of-the-table-scraping Southampton and Coventry in the League Cup. Unexpectedly they have lost a couple of stinkers along the way including away to Norwich 1-0 and at home 0-2 to Schalke, losing to Chelsea also at home was tight and unlucky for The Gunners. They have drawn three.
Even though a win equals points, Arsenal did not win convincingly against a possession-dominating QPR. If the first half was anything to go by, they were truly lucky to get the win; speculations that Arsenal’s sole goal was offside were confirmed by Rangers’ Hughes post-game. Watching Giroud was uncannily like watching a Giroud on the latest Pro Evo being played by an amateur who could not meet any through-ball. Wright-Phillip’s pace caused a few problems every now and then, opening up Sagna and Santos, when Rangers sneaked in the odd counter-attack. If anything Arsenal were frustrated; Santi Cazorla greedily thumbing a half-volley into orbit. The only blessing in disguise was Mbia’s exit for foul play which gave birth to Arteta’s goal four minutes later.
At the post-game press conference Wenger admitted ‘it was a good game overall’, yet I can’t help thinking his blank expression mirrored his own spawning concerns, and the nation’s thoughts, that he could be soon on the out. You would have almost certainly agreed at the 37th minute if you were watching the League Cup tie against The Royals on Tuesday night when they were 4-0 down.
A lack of domestic and European titles in recent years has also spurred criticism of Wenger’s leadership. They have not won the Premier League since 2003-04, albeit they have won it 13 times, 10-time victors Arsenal have not won the FA Cup since 2005 and the European Cup Winner’s Cup was held over twenty years ago in 1993-94.
Wenger’s transfer-making has been the backbone of the club’s problems at large. Supporters now need to dig deep following their beloved club through the dark winter hours more so than ever. Arsenal really lack a hard-hitter like wizard Ibrahimovic who has the form of his life at the moment. Last season French-speaking stars Clichy (7m), Eboué (4m) and Nasri (22m) left the Wenger family, big steardy Mertesacker and the Ox came in and have since proved their worthiness. This season pointless Giroud, ageing 27 year-old Podolski and unreliable Cazorla were bought; yet 12 departures outweighed arrivals 4:1. With money in the kitty Arsenal need to add to their strike and attacking midfield contingent, hastily too mind, before any future spending limitations are imposed on clubs.
However, such an outstanding comeback as that 7-5 heaven-sent display versus Reading, regaining any temporarily lost respect, dismisses any comment that Wenger is transfer-fodder, at least until the next poor-show anyway. Wenger should be beady-eyed, poised though for a media-assault that could see him axed like Harry Redknapp, who despite having brought Tottenham to fourth place in the table, was perhaps booted for not delivering success.
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