There is a sense of division among Arsenal fans regarding the direction of the team. Some are comfortable with that direction, others are not and one big name feeling that wrath is longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. That was shown this past weekend against Norwich where there were protests against Wenger, protests supporting Wenger and protests about the protests. After three EPL titles, a run of third and fourth place finishes over the past 11 years and counting along with round of 16 exits in the UEFA Champions League have worn patience thin among many fans who are tired of seeing their team being stuck in neutral for the past decade. But is that really worth blowing everything up and starting over?
I mean, think about it. Sure, it’s frustrating to see a team get that close to Premier League glory and not only fall short every year but feel like you don’t have a chance at the start of the season but at least Arsenal is competitive. A look at recent teams who have won the Premier League show teams who may have won the league in their best years, but were horrendous in their worst. Like this year, Manchester City is barely clinging onto the top four, Manchester United is scratching to get to the top four and possibly win the FA Cup. Chelsea was deep in the bottom half of the table at Christmas and is now clawed up to 9th. Even Liverpool in their one season that they threatened to win the EPL has to rely on the Europa League to get back to the Champions League. Arsenal is the definition of a low risk, low reward stock. And in many instances, that’s a smart strategy to guarantee decades of success.
One issue that could have Arsenal fans especially vocal is that Leicester City and bitter North London rival Tottenham went past them to go for the title this year. Some fans looked at Leicester simply bewildered and thought to themselves why is Arsenal getting outsmarted by a team who should’ve been relegated last year. Someone even made a sign about that.
— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) April 30, 2016
Now I have seen many Arsenal fans who have disagreed with comparing the two situations so this isn’t to say that all Arsenal fans agree with that sigh. But it does have fans of bigger teams, especially Arsenal, asking themselves some tough questions about their team after seeing Leicester City win the Premier League title.
This leads into my next point. With more and more money coming in and the presence of new teams getting into the title picture, the English Premier League is getting more and more unstable. It’s not just Leicester City getting in on the success. Teams need to worry about West Ham because they not only have had a great season this year that could result in Champions League, they’re moving into the Olympic Stadium and with their sweet deal, they are going to be a force. Liverpool seems to now be coming back with Jurgen Klopp and will be consistently fighting for titles. Arsenal may frustrate fans by getting a “fourth place trophy” but that says something about the team being that consistent over a long period of time. It may not be a “sexy” proposition, but Arsenal is the least likely to suffer a drop like Chelsea has done this season, and that’s thanks to Arsene Wenger.
Finally, I have this dilemma every time I decide if a team is better off sacking their current manager. If Arsenal is going to sack Arsene Wenger, they need to find someone better and I don’t believe they can get someone better right now. I felt Liverpool needed to sack Brendan Rodgers because Jurgen Klopp was available and wanted to manage Liverpool. I was okay with Manchester City getting Pep Guardiola to replace Manuel Pellegrini because that’s a sizable upgrade. I think Manchester United should sack Louis van Gaal if Jose Mourinho wants to be Man United manager. I’m actually confused why that hasn’t happened yet but I digress.
Who is Arsenal going to go after that would be an upgrade over Arsene Wenger? Most of the top managers have already been spoken for and/or are staying put at their current team for this upcoming season. Even if sacking Arsene Wenger is the answer, actually sacking him only answers half the problem. The other half needs to be solved as well for Arsenal to succeed and that just doesn’t look to be the case this year. Maybe someone comes available at the end of next season who would be an upgrade over Wenger and then I could see benefit of sacking Wenger. But until that happens, stick with what you have for the time being and don’t make changes just for the fun of it.
It also sounds like this debate is all for naught because from the way it sounds, owner Stan Kroenke loves Arsene Wenger and there’s no risk of him getting sacked. So unless Wenger retires or resigns, he’s staying on as Arsenal manager. And Arsenal fans like Piers Morgan will be getting upset for years to come. Really, if anyone is on the fence about whether or not Arsene Wenger deserves the sack, just know that Piers has been wanting Wenger out for years. When has Piers Morgan been this right about anything? The situation isn’t ideal and surely things can be better but Arsenal is better off keeping Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager.