Arsenal: Wenger Out?

"Arsenal appear to have a lot of issues right now, but will they all disappear when Arsene Wenger hangs up his boots? "
Published by
23rd Jan 2018

It’s fair to say that the 2017/18 Premier League season hasn’t been too kind to Arsenal Football Club. Currently sixth in the Premier League, they have a lot of points between themselves and fifth place Tottenham Hotspur. Arsene Wenger is set to have yet another season in control of the Gunners however it’s been highly disputed by many, that he should hang up his boots now and call it a day. They do still have campaigns in both the Carabao Cup and the Europa League, however due to poor form overall in the Premier League and pessimistic press off the pitch, Arsenal fans are worried that their club could finish empty handed this season.

Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal for a staggering 22 years, only five years shorter than Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United. Although he has had some very impressive seasons, most notably his team the ‘invincibles’ in the 2003/04 Premier League season. In the present day he is simply stale. Angering the fans on a weekly basis, not helping his players develop as much as they should. He has simply becoming a seemingly permanent fixture in a club that needs change.

It’s not even a case where it only takes a confident victory to sway the fans back into conformity. After beating Crystal Palace 4-1 last weekend still there are undertones of unhappiness from the fans and the players. Sadly, Arsene Wenger will be remembered for his most recent seasons rather than the rose-tinted campaigns of the past. He’s in a situation where he calls the shots rather than the hierarchy of Arsenal Football Club, his obstinateness has caused him to go from hero to villain in a matter of a decade.

He has managed to achieve some success though in what will be his final managerial years at Arsenal. Last season he brought home the FA cup and the Community Shield. However these achievements are shadowed by his lack of success in the Premier League, Champions League, and League Cup this decade. One also believes that the departure of Arsene Wenger won’t be as sweet as supporters are hoping. We only have to look back a couple of years once again to Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure to know that a club set in its ways needs time to adjust, and a couple of managers, potentially.

It’s January, therefore there’s nothing but transfers to talk about, with Arsenal at the forefront of all the action. Arsene Wenger has been known to let his best players go quite easily with few signs of struggle. This transfer window is no anomaly as one of their biggest names (Alexis Sanchez) left for Manchester United. He played 122 Premier League games scoring 60 goals and 25 assists since 2014, more than any other player in the Arsenal Squad since 2014. It’s not all doom and gloom though. In return for the Chilean forward Arsenal received the Armenian midfielder, Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Both players showed gratitude joining their respective clubs. 

Only a week before the departure of Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal also lost the longest lasting player in their squad, Theo Walcott. The Englishman left the Gunners after 12 years for Merseyside blues, Everton. This departure was rumoured to be linked with Walcott’s words in a post match interview, expressing a lack of desire amongst the squad. Something Arsene Wenger didn’t take too kindly. Fortunately for the supporters, their Manager has said that Arsenal will be actively seeking players to fill their ever so shallow squad depth at the moment. In an article posted recently by Sky Sports Wenger answered the question “Will Arsenal still be on the transfer market after the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan?” His answer was a profound “Yes”. This would imply that Arsenal still have some bite in them! Fans with Arsenal Premier League tickets will hopefully be in for some pleasant surprises during the second half of the season!

So who are they looking at bringing in? Will they be looking for players to replace the winger and attacking midfielder they’ve only just sold? Surprisingly they’re looking at a striker even though their squad depth in this position is already strong. Perhaps Arsene Wenger is looking at playing two upfront? Time will tell. Their main prospect is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the current Borussia Dortmund forward.

This has caused confusion for Arsenal fans and pundits alike as they only recent purchased Lacazette for fifty-three million euros in the summer. The France forward scored thirty seven goals in forty five games. Yet at Arsenal his form has been indifferent - not scoring in nearly ten hours prior to last weekend. Should Arsenal stick with Lacazette in his current situation or pay an arm and a leg for the Gabonese international? It’s a difficult call. In all fairness to Lacazette, he hasn’t received the opportunities he’d been promised, perhaps Arsenal should instead look to players that will be able to provide the French forward with options to score goals.

Recently, Jack Wilshere has returned to Arsenal from what seems an eternity due to injuries throughout his career. Due to this Arsenal have offered him a new contract with a very unusual term. He is set to receive a pay cut from £110,000 to £90,000. However his contract will include more bonuses than usual if he remains fit, he will receive the equivalent of his previous contract in add-ons, perhaps even more. This will work as a sort of insurance policy for Arsenal Football Club, if he’s not fit then they won’t lose as much money by not playing him. But if he is fit to play they will be paying him ample amount for him to remain content. He has shown his loyalty to the club in the media and he is improving with each game he plays. The only problem, Arsenal can’t rely solely on players of which are consistently injured. They’re squad depth simply isn’t strong enough.

It will be no surprise, Manchester City are well on their way to winning the Premier League. Many would argue that they’re on their way to winning many things this season, only losing twice since the football year’s commencement. However the race for qualification of the European competitions next season is becoming more thrilling and exciting with every game. Unfortunately, at this moment Arsenal are a cat’s whisker from qualification. The Premier League table is shaping up as it normally does with the ‘Big 6’ at the top. This year though, Arsenal are the bottom of that top six.

Arsenal’s Carabao Cup effort shows a little more promise than their Premier League one this season. Tomorrow, they face Chelsea at home in the Semi Finals of the competition. Both Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas have been ruled out of the game due to injuries for the Blues. Opportune moments to strike should present themselves to Arsenal due to these injuries. If they make it to the final, perhaps they will once again be starting next season with an outdated manager that coasts by, by winning the easier tournaments.

They also cause havoc with a shock defeat to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is renowned for these types of fixtures, and from time to time the underdogs do underperform however, Arsenal had been under performing a little more consistently than those who’ve been surprisingly knocked out the tournament in past years. The gunners drew four times in December across all competitions. For clubs that have been more unlucky at the beginning of the season, this type of record would be raising the question of whether the manager is worth having. Particularly from the board at Arsenal Football Club.

Something has to change at Arsenal Football Club, too often they’re selling their best players to their rivals, too often they’re losing fixtures that are essential for them to qualify for the Champions League, and too often they’re ending their tournament campaigns due to a lack of passion.