After 21 years at the club and with his contract up at the end of the season, it is finally time for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal.
Arsenal play Chelsea on Saturday in a match that should they lose, will leave the Gunners a whopping 12 points behind Antonio Conte’s men with just 14 games left.
With 42 points available, that kind of lead is not insurmountable, but given Chelsea’s recent form and Arsenal’s perennial habit of falling away in the second half of Premier League seasons few would bet on Arsene Wenger’s team actually pulling it off.
That would leave Arsenal without a title since the days of the Invincibles back in 2004 when Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry went unbeaten for 49 games in a run that stretched over three seasons.
Those days seem a long way off for success starved Arsenal fans, who have had just three FA Cup wins to celebrate in the 13 years since.
Many things have changed in that time, but one thing that has remained is Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman recently celebrated 20 years at Arsenal, but with his contract up at the end of the season it’s finally time for Wenger to leave Arsenal.
Nobody, bar Alex Ferguson and arguably Jose Mourinho, has made a bigger impact than Wenger on football in the Premier League era. He was responsible for revolutionising the British game with continental methods, and bought incredible success to North London in his first few years – with doubles in 1997/98 and 2001/02, and then that unforgettable unbeaten run.
But in recent years Arsenal have seen diminishing returns, repeated failure to progress in the Champions League coupled with an annual collapse of their title challenge has seen pressure from both fans and the Arsenal board mount on Wenger.
Title race over in January. The players change but the constant in these title failures is Wenger. Every year.
— Sam (@samuelJayC) January 31, 2017
Wenger obviously has to go at the end of this season, nobody can defend him after another failure of a season.
— Cygan (@Cygaann) February 2, 2017
And when it comes to the crunch, the buck stops with the manager. Arsenal’s continued failure to turn strong starts in the league into trophies is the fault of Wenger and no one else.
Fergie was able to stay Old Trafford because he still delivered the title at regular intervals. Unfortunately Wenger has been unable to do so.
Sure it would hurt for him to leave at the end of the season if Arsenal once again fail to win the Premier League title, but at 67-years of age and more than two decades service at the club Wenger is in danger of stagnating.
Besides, he can walk out of the Emirates with his head held high thanks to two decades packed with some of the best memories in the club’s history. His only regret being that his love for the club meant that maybe he stayed a few years too long.
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