Unfortunately, our manager has caused a split in our fanbase in the last few years, but in recent months this divide has been made more distinct. After last season’s bottlejob the last few games of the season were only marginally remarkable for the battle between WOBs and AKBs (the dismal terms for our two groups in our own fanbase), which was epitomized in the ‘Time For Change Protest’ that was in truth pathetic, only for ‘One Arsene Wenger’ to echo round the ground, during our clash with Norwich at home in April. Between March to May the atmosphere around the club was toxic, with a level of in-fighting that would make the Bushwhackers proud. Although the issue has come off the boil since the onset of this season, the divisions remain intact, proved by petty Twitter feuds that rumble on.
It seems as though announcing your stance on Arsene Wenger as an Arsenal fan, is like announcing your date of birth on a passport. Before I go into my opinions of the latest news and games, I feel it’s only necessary for me to publicise my stance on our manager, as sooner or later someone will enquire into it, and it should also provide some context to my opinion.
Arsene Wenger has been arguably our greatest manager off all time, but I would definitely argue that in the last five years he could have achieved more. This season marks ten years since our move to the Emirates, in that time we have won only two major honours – the back to back F.A Cups. Of course we have had financial restrictions during this time, limiting Wenger’s ability, however since our move to the Emirates we have surpassed four chances to win the title in recent 15/16 season, the 13/14 season, the 10/11 season and the 07/08 season, in all of these campaigns we carried a threat to the title only for it to predictably fizzle out. In each of these seasons there were occasions when as manager Wenger could’ve played a bigger role, for example in the 2010/11 season, when we lost the Carling Cup Final to Birmingham, following that defeat the players emotionally capitulated and only mustered one league win in March and April. At some point the manager has to step in and rally the troops at that point. Overall with the exception of last season, we have had stronger competition so you could argue we’ve only given up one real chance.
Last season highlighted a lot of flaws in the post-Highbury Wenger system, such as a lack of a Plan B, defensive fragility, mental weakness and no ruthless edge. The recent North London Derby highlighted the lack of a ruthless edge, and my fears are that we will end the season with the familiar story, Champions League qualification and a valiant exit in the Champions League itself. Wenger has massively improved this squad this year, Xhaka looks to be a superb addition, and while Mustafi has had a shaky start, playing with Koscielny should see him improve into a quality centre half. The issue is the Premier League is far more competitive this season, and I fear that Arsenal’s home form will prevent us from pushing on for a title, or the tendency of Arsenal to ‘to an Arsenal’. These issues and our long term problems provide an argument for a change in management.
I think it’s time for some fresh ideas, Wenger won’t be sacked, and he shouldn’t be, but at the end of this season I feel it would be a natural time for him to step down and announce a successor. The whole argument and infighting is an embarrassment, I can sympathise with both sides, but fans physically fighting each other over our manager is pathetic, especially after the astounding job he has done over the last twenty years. So I suppose I’m leaning towards Wenger’s departure, so if it was ‘Wexit’ I’d be a soft ‘Wexiter’, but I’m also fine for him to remain.