What has seemed to be a lengthy call for Wenger to leave his long-tenured post as Arsenal manager, it would seem that this season the calls got even louder and had a bit more venom behind them. Fans for years have been sold on the euphoric dream that Arsenal would be competing with forget domestic clubs, would be competing with the European elites. Yet here we are again with the same tired rhetoric of falling so far behind first place that it has become laughable. But there is a last saving grace for Wenger and it seems as if he is viewing it that way. The Europa League offers the last bit of optimism as it offers the only chance to get back into the Champions League. With success in the competition a viable possibility, will this leave the door open for Wenger to retain his position as manager?
Now I’m going to preface my statement by saying that I’m not sure that all the fans will agree with me, but I am most definitely resigned to the fact that any talk of winning the league whether it’s before or during the season is ultimately a farce. The best that the team can currently hope for is finishing in the top four and maybe winning one of the domestic cups. So with that being said, you would think that my expectations for the team would be low right? Wrong! There are certain levels that I expect the team to perform at and to say some of the performances this season have been embarrassing would be a drastic understatement.
There are a number of games that immediately spring to mind when deciding what Arsenal’s most egregious game of the season was, and there lies the problem. It’s infuriating seeing the amount of talent that currently resides on the team and then seeing tepid performances that are doled out on a far too frequent basis. Far too many players are looking for others to take the game over rather than taking the initiative and grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns.
So during the middle of the season, the calls for Wenger to step down from his role were more than justified. With the team coming out of the tunnel already looking defeated, and their performance on the field showing it, it was more than fair for the fans to be in uproar considering the amounts they are asked to pay to watch such performances. But for all the complaining and hooting and hollering from the fans, one thing that we know for a complete and utter fact is that Wenger is arguably the most stubborn manager in the league and increased pressure won’t force him out of the club.
With the top four all but unattainable this season, what once was a Europa League gauntlet has been whittled down significantly to a much more viable task. With Dortmund and Napoli dumped out in the earlier rounds, the one team that should realistically (And I use that term very loosely) cause Arsenal any problems is Atletico Madrid. The stark contrast in performances between the Europa League and the Premier League will infuriate Arsenal fans even more because it reveals that the team can perform on that level, but finding that level of consistency seems to be the problem.
Winning the competition and ending Wenger’s barren ran in Europe would provide the perfect platform for him to ride off happily into the sunset. But, knowing the man like we have come to know, the more realistic option would be him asking for a further contract extension.