There is no arguing the fact that the English Premier League trophy is beyond the reach of Arsenal for this season. This will be the 13th year in a row that they haven’t managed to win it since they did in style during the 2003/2004 season. They have earlier been knocked out of the EFL competition and now face certain elimination in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. The only realistic trophy left is the Emirates FA Cup.
Arsene Wenger has won this trophy six times in the past. There is a consensus that he is a ‘master’ in the art of winning the oldest football trophy in the world. If his records are anything to go by; then one could conclude that he will be more motivated to win the trophy for the seventh time and achieve some silverware for his beloved club at the end of a season that held so much promise but had been turned into the stuffs of legendary nightmares.
Certainly, it is no longer tenable that Wenger will remain at the helms of affairs beyond this season except by a turn of luck and monumental disaster; Chelsea or Manchester City fail to win the league and the Gunners conjure an unprecedented run to overhaul the leaders and claim the trophy possibly at the death! That sounds like fiction and its possibility is better left to the world of imaginations.
However, the question remains what other excuse will Le Professor have to offer if hands are empty of any rewards at the end of the season? It is usually rare in football for players to be sold (fired) at the end of a season for poor performance. If the poor performance is that evident, no other club will be interested in buying such player and the club will be stuck with a ‘dead weight’ who is on contract!
But the reverse is always the case with the managers. Once your team is not doing well; you get the boot!
Think about some of the best gaffers that were fired even when they had better pedigree than the man at the helm of affairs at the Emirates. Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Massimiliano Allegri (AC Milan) and Rafael Benitez (Real Madrid) readily come to mind. The common denominator – You are either meeting expectations or you are out.
It is important to point out that expectations varies from one club to another. At Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, PSG, AC Milan, Juventus, Borrusia Dortmund etc – expectations are trophies and major ones at that.
Having observed closely what has been happening at Arsenal for the past 12 years; it will be safe to say that Champions League qualification, healthy cash flow and positive net income are the expectations. Sir Allan Sugar will absolutely agree with me on this!
There is therefore a variance between investors at Arsenal and the millions of hurting, disappointed and disillusioned fans across the world. For the former; Arsene Wenger is doing a great job while for the latter; he should have been sacked 10 years ago!
Who wins the battle for a change and turnaround at the Emirates – the Board or the fans? It is just a few months to the end of the season and we will see the next line of actions at one of the most popular European clubs in history.