At the start of the season it was looking like Arsenal’s time had come after years of heartache for the gunners with title rivals Chelsea battling to fight for a top half finish. Manchester City not looking like a team that can challenge for results away from home, Manchester United continuing to rebuild from the era of Sir Alex Ferguson. This brings us to the man that is Arsene Wenger and his era at Arsenal with many highs like the invisibles of 2003/04 to guiding Arsenal to 6 of the record breaking 12 times F.A Cup champions. This brings us to March 2016 and Arsenal struggling to gain a win in any competition since Christmas with the gunners going from top of the Premier League to being 3rd and 11 points of Leicester at the top, being knocked out of the F.A Cup to Watford at home and crashing out of the Champions League to favourites F.C Barcelona and the question amongst all Arsenal fans… Wenger in? Wenger out?
Start of An Era
Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal since 1996 and there is no doubt about the legacy that he has managed to bring to Arsenal and changed the style to become a revolutionist within the Premier League, When Wenger came into the League he was an unknown manager unproven manager and unheard of in England and managed to bring early success to his career winning the double of the Premier League and F.A Cup in 1997/98 season. Wenger made legendary signings that went on to become legends at Arsenal with the likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira signed under his reign are hailed as his best signings ever, the early success that Wenger brought with changing Arsenal’s style of play to a more slick, quick moving possession style of football and saw instant success within this.
Things kept going up and up for Arsenal and in 2003/04 season to what many Arsenal fans regard as one of greatest moments was going unbeaten for a whole season in the Premier League, this moment many see as the greatest moment in Wenger’s Era as Arsenal manager. looking back to this season we saw a team that the looks of champions, they had the goalscoring threat of club legend Thierry Henry leading the line, Patrick Vieira holding down the midfield, a solid back four with Jens Lehmann in goal ensuring Arsenal managed to pick up a record 49 games without losing.
After this success this would become Arsenal’s last Premier League title to date and after winning the F.A cup in 2004/05 saw a title drought that saw frustration begin to grow amongst fans after the transition from Highbury to the state of the art Emirates Stadium, many was expecting with Arsenal moving into a new stadium was going to bring more success and take the gunners to new heights and become the new leading force within English Football.
End of An Era?
Moving to the Emirates Stadium can be seen as having the opposite effect to what the Arsenal board was hoping for, with the stadium costing millions this meant that Arsenal saw the loss of many key players over the next few players with the likes of Thierry Henry, Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabergas, Cesc Fabergas and Samir Nasri sold to bring in money to be able to pay off the cost of the stadium and saw the team fall back behind teams like Chelsea and Manchester City with multi-billionaire owners and Manchester United under the reign of the icon Sir Alex Ferguson.
From we're going to win the league, to season over in March.
No improvement whatsoever in 12 years. #WengerOut
— Mentally Jaded ? (@LeeGunner82) March 13, 2016
— Lord Gooner (@lordgooner8) March 13, 2016
We have no mental strength, we lack desire and ambition. Our manager is responsible for enforcing that in our squad. #Wengerout
— Amy AFC (@newmanqueen1) March 13, 2016
Although Arsenal have managed to battle on and manage to stick around the top 4 and gain entry into the Champions League fans have become frustrated with the lack of passion and drive within the team with last season the players was celebrating like they had won the league when they only just managed to finish coming 4th, this lack of desire within the team many fans blame Wenger for with him not being able to push his side on to reach the next level and rise to winning the title.
As an Arsenal fan myself this topic is controversial topic to speak about as there is no doubting the legacy and all the memories that Arsene Wenger has brought to this club, but personally I feel Wenger’s time has come and gone and for the last few years I have been saying that Wenger should be offered a role within the Arsenal board where he would still be able to help out the club as there is no doubt he can still have a huge impact on the future success of the club but as a manager I don’t think he now has the ability to lift the side in the darker times in the season like we have seen since Christmas. Wenger has been able to get by past the last couple of seasons of the criticism he has been receiving by “covering” up the faults by winning the F.A cup back to back but this season has shown when it really matters and we had our chance to shine and win the Premier League the same results have occurred with Arsenal slipping up as usual and now has seen former players with Emmanuel Petit now coming out publicly to criticise Wenger as a manager and to take a role as the director of football at the club. For Wenger, I can’t see a way back and would take a miracle for the fans to take off the pressure unless Arsenal can overturn an 11 point deficit on Leicester and win the title this season then we could be looking at the end of an era of Arsene Wenger.