Is this the end of the ‘Wenger Era’?
Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal’s manager for almost 22 years, after joining the club in October 1996.
He has led the club to unprecedented glory, with a collection of trophies including three Premier League Titles, 5 FA Cups and 3 Charity Shields. With the exception of this year, he has also gained entry to the Champions League at every attempt.
His legendary ‘invincibles’ side, who remained unbeaten for an entire season, are yet to be matched. In the days of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, his charges were the envy of Europe.
Can he turn things around??
Followng Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Brighton though, we could see an abrupt departure for the iconic leader.
The defeat adds to losses to Manchester City in both the Carabao Cup Final and the Premier League, as well as an early FA Cup exit to lowly Nottingham Forest.
Wenger has managed to keep Arsenal in the Top 4 for the last 20 years, but last year’s fifth place finish saw the North London side outside of the Champions League.
This has had a domino effect on the team and most likely Arsene Wenger’s job prospects.
This season they are 6th in the EPL with only 45 points. That’s 38 less than runaway leaders City who beat Chelsea on Sunday evening. It is also 13 less than North London rivals Tottenham, who won their league tie with Huddersfield on Saturday.
This has led to increasing calls from fans and ex-Arsenal stars for Wenger to leave. Legendary Ian Wright for example called his beloved club “A shambles.”
However, some may have overlooked what Wenger has managed to achieve this season.
He has led Arsenal to the Carabao Cup Final and has at least kept them in the Top 6, albeit barely. The Gunners are also still in the running for the Europa League Trophy. But would that be too little too late for Arsenal fans?
An impressive Curriculum Vitae
In his career at Arsenal, not only has Wenger won trophies, he has been given multiple awards. These include ‘Premier League Manager of the Month’, a few ‘Premier League Manager of the Season’ awards, ‘World Manager of the Year’ and even the ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award.’
There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger has built Arsenal into the top flight club that they are today.
Their achievements have cast a shadow over London, the North side in particular for many a year.
However, the club’s recent failures, and their nearest and embittered rivals continued growth, has brought Wenger to the lowest point of a once glittering career.
Wenger; ”I feel we responded well, but just couldn’t get the goal.”
Following the defeat Wenger spoke to Sky Sports who asked him if he was shocked by what he saw in the first half. He replied “Yes, it took us a while to get into the game. It was cold, plus we played on Thursday night. I feel we responded well, but just couldn’t get the goal.”
When asked if confidence is an issue, he said “Yes of course. You know we played the big game at Wembley, again Thursday night, and once again early this morning so it is a combination of these things.”
The creation of Arsenal Fan TV, and the social media ‘Wenger Out’ debacle haven’t helped the beleaguered manager. It has only hindered his attempts to replicate the dominance his team once enjoyed.
Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League loss to Brighton may decide the fate of Wenger.
Only a Europa League Win could perhaps save the once idolised Wenger a little deserved dignity.
If his team manage to lift the Europa Cup, many believe he will step down. A last piece of silverware and entry to the Champion’s League, may be a last blast of glory from the iconic coach.
Win or lose the Europa Cup, it could still spell the end of the ‘Wenger Years.’ Even die hard Spurs fans would see it as a sad conclusion to an illustrious career. Particularly if he were to be exiled any sooner than the end of the season.
?? thank you for your support at the Amex this afternoon!#BHAFC ?⚪️ pic.twitter.com/9JuJqe7XLX
— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) March 4, 2018