The Wenger debate flew to a new height during Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to West Brom on Saturday, with two planes flying over The Hawthorns presenting the two sides to the issue. The toothless, spineless and humbling defeat to a quite frankly overachieving and bland Albion, was for many a fitting result to the occasion, personally I don’t think analysing another defeat of such a manner would be worthwhile, it would only replicate my previous posts. Since last year’s Norwich ‘Time for Change’ there seems to have been an increase in numbers of those who feel the Frenchman’s time is up, Saturday reflected this, as it was a Hong Kong group that funded the ‘Respect AW’ banner…
Reports have surfaced in media outlets that Wenger made a decision over his future following his game, the international break has come at a fortunate time, giving Wenger time to determine his future, as ultimately it is he who shall decide his fate. In itself that is a fundamental issue at the Football Club, it seems only at Arsenal does the manager have complete control of his fate. Unusually I feel that for once the international break is of importance, I believe in the upcoming days Wenger will (or at least should) decide his future, and if not he risks further escalation of protests and further divisions and infighting in the terraces. Essentially it may prove pivotal, it also gives him time to gather thoughts and maybe (although unlikely) give Wenger time to switch up tactics before our clash against Citeh at the Emirates.
With every game Wenger delays an announcement on his future frustration and unrest grows. The negative reaction of supporters will only intensify if Arsenal lose key fixtures against City in the league and FA Cup Semi, along with London derbies against West Ham and more notably our final visit to WHL. Wenger could go into his final few games with a divided fanbase and a toxic atmosphere behind him.
My prediction is that Wenger will sign a new one year contract, and that this season we will finish 6th. This is the conclusion I have reached following reports that Wenger has revealed transfer plans to senior players – signs of intent to stay and natural instinct that he remains stubborn in his approach. Presuming this is the outcome the fan reaction will be toxic and uncomfortable for another season, as has been the case for the last 2 seasons at least. Protests will again grow in size, more empty seats will crop up (especially if we end up against unknown Eastern European sides on a frosty November evening in the Europa League). As someone who still respects Wenger for his work and dedication put into the club, I feel another season would do detrimental damage to his legacy as manager of Arsenal.
In terms of on the field, another season of Wenger would almost certainly see further decline and make it harder for his replacement. Theoretically this summer we could lose Sanchez and Ozil, two of our best players, who the media are yet to identify potential replacements for. Meanwhile Guardiola, Mourinho and Klopp can sign more of their own signings and further implement their changes to the club with huge financial backing. Pochettino’s Spurs side will gain more experience and possibly a couple more players that are instrumental. Arsenal conversely will continue a downward spiral that has been evident for some time now. There is a strong chance that if significant changes in the squad, tactics, backroom staff and owner’s commitment aren’t made the club will be left chasing shadows, in the dust and be forced out of a reformed top 4/5 that could form a new dynasty in Premier League history.
Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but can any Arsenal fan seriously say these turn of events aren’t entirely implausible? Signs of this have already begun, the Hawthorns was relatively empty for a visit of a club that’s CEO predicted to be on par with Bayern Munich two years ago. The chant “You’ve only come to see the Arsenal” is now redundant, fans go to see their side, in confidence that they could pull off a result, the days of Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp, Cashley Cole, Campbell or Wright and Adams are a memory.
Essentially most of the polls and social media feeds show that there is growing discontent, and the only way to avoid amplified protests and divisions between fans would be for Wenger to resign come the end of the season.
Recently a video appeared on my twitter timeline, Wenger says following his retirement he will “become a normal fan with a season ticket”, what Wenger needs to realise is that most normal fans want him to join them in the stands for the start of next season.