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Groundhog Day For The Gunners: Is Wenger’s Time Up?

March 21, 2016

- Grant Whittington

As Arsenal played with pace and verve in dispatching a disjointed Everton side last weekend, Gunners’ fans could be forgiven for thinking that they were starring in a modern remake of Groundhog Day. After another season of immense promise disintegrated during a traditional mid-season slump, the club appear to have once again found a second wind that will enable them to secure a Champions’ League place.

The Issue with Arsenal

This is a narrative that has defined Arsenal in recent seasons, as the club has shown mental fragility and familiar failings in the heat of battle time and time again. Such issues manifested themselves throughout January and February, with the club winning just three of their 11 league games during this time to surrender the best chance to win the title in more than a decade. This run also sandwiched a familiar Champions League in the second round, while the club surrendered a three-year-run without defeat in the FA Cup until a quarter-final defeat at home to Watford.

This has left Arsenal fans deflated once more, without even the consolation of lifting the FA Cup this time around. It is a different matter for the players and manager Arsene Wenger, however, who appear to have simply accepted their fate without any sign of anger or frustration.

This is perhaps the greatest indictment of Arsene Wenger’s reign. With huge financial resources and some world class players in Alexis Sanchez and the mercurial Mesut Ozil, the club should be challenging for major honours every season. Instead they seem content to finish in the top four and claim the occasional cup win (two in the last 11 years in total), while ignoring underlying mental frailties and failing to correct core squad deficiencies in attack and defence.

Is Wenger the Solution or the Cause?

These problems were laid bare during Arsene Wenger’s interview after a 3-2 defeat against an under-strength Manchester United. While some fans had saw this game as an opportunity to avenge the 8-2 thrashing incurred by the Gunners in 2011, Arsenal instead rolled over to hand the Reds a deserved win. Instead of showcasing anger afterwards, Wenger praised his side and lauded a sense of character that simply did not present itself on the field.

This betrays Wenger’s stubbornness and lack of perspective, and there is no doubt that you may soon be able to place bets on his imminent departure with us. In truth, the time may finally have come to accept that Wenger is the cause of Arsenal’s on-field problems rather than the solution.

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