The pressure is building once again on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger following his side’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on February 4 where the Gunners were blown away by the league leaders. The result means Arsenal’s title hopes are all but over for another season as they now trail the Blues by 12 points.
A large part of the away support on February 4 at Stamford Bridge made their feelings clear about Wenger at the full-time whistle. Some took signs into the stadium which encouraged the board to let go of the Frenchman, while others were very angry when speaking to various media platforms following the game.
Although Arsenal fans expect to still be in the title race at this stage of the season, you simply cannot ignore Wenger’s achievements at the club which demand more respect than he is currently receiving. Under his stewardship, Arsenal have won three Premier League titles, they have lifted the FA Cup on six occasions and the club has finished inside the top four in every season since he arrived in North London in 1996.
The Gunners are still on course to finish in the four once again this season. They have an exciting last 16 of the Champions League to look forward to against German giants Bayern Munich and they remain in the FA Cup where they are 9/2 in the football betting to win the trophy for the third time in the last four years.
Wenger built one of the greatest teams ever seen in the English game when his Invincibles went on a run of 49 games unbeaten in the Premier League. Since then the club has built and moved into a new stadium which has impacted the transfer budget the Frenchman has had to work with. The Emirates Stadium is one of the finest in Europe and did not come cheap. As difficult it was for the club to move away from Highbury, they had to invest in a bigger ground in order to continue competing with the major clubs in European football.
Chelsea, Manchester City and more recently Manchester United have taken spending to a new level in recent years. They have handed their managers blank cheques when it has come to recruitment, however, it has not always guaranteed success. Wenger has spent a fraction of what his counterparts at those three clubs have over the last decade as he has always had the club’s long-term stability at mind.
There will come a time when Wenger will leave his position at the club therefore it does no harm to start planning for that period. At this stage though, there does not seem to be an obvious replacement to the Gunners boss. A great example of a club who have failed to replicate long-term stability is Manchester United. They struggled to replace Sir Alex Ferguson following his retirement. They are now on their third manager since Fergie left Old Trafford and have failed to qualify into the Champions League in two of the last three seasons.
Arsenal fans do have to be careful what they wish for. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Just ask Manchester United fans about that!