As an Arsenal fan it’s hard to criticise Arsene Wenger. A man who has done so much for the club, from the way we play, to the new stadium and Invincibles season. Arsene Wenger used to embody what everyone loved about Arsenal; fans and neutral supporters alike. The beautiful possession football, and intricate passes, creating attractive football rivalled only by other great teams such as Barcelona and more recently Bayern Munich, helmed by Pep Guardiola.
But Arsenal have fallen into a state of mediocrity, with fourth place being deemed as having a successful season for too long. Even now, after having paid off the stadium, in the January transfer window everyone, from fans to pundits, could see that Arsenal needed another striker to lighten the burden on Olivier Giroud, who by his own admission, is not a top class striker. Everybody except Arsene Wenger. While us fans called for Draxler or Morata, we instead got Kallstrom, who still has not featured in a single match (due to an injury he had before we even signed him).
This 2013/2014 season has been our best chance to win the league in years, with Chelsea and Manchester United going through managerial changes. As poor as United have been, we’ve still been unable to beat them, with an especially frustrating match at The Emirates. Too many times our players have not turned up to big matches, which would’ve made all the difference to our season. With scorelines against rival sides looking more like tennis scores (6-3, 5-1, 6-0 etc), it is simply unacceptable for any Champions League team, and what makes it worse, is that Wenger frequently has no idea what’s gone wrong. How we performed against Bayern Munich and even last night against Manchester City, is how we should always be performing against top sides.
Admittedly, it has been a difficult season, with injuries to key first team players: Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Ozil, Koscielny. Ozil, who joined for a record transfer fee of 42 million, has been desperately disappointing, after having started the season so promisingly. Yes, we are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, and really and truly we should go on to win it. But we’ve seen that before in previous seasons where we’ve fallen at the last hurdle: vs Barcelona – Champions League Final 2006, vs Chelsea – Carling Cup final 2007, vs Birmingham – Carling Cup Final 2010. and even embarrassing defeats to the likes of Bradford last season.
While I’ve always supported Wenger, I feel as though he’s lost his touch. Even looking at the bench, we’re seeing Sanogo and other players who are desperately unproven and unlikely to cause many problems in the minds of the opposition. We miss the power and leadership of the Viera and Adams days, and yet again, everyone can see it except Wenger. Instead of prolific strikers like Henry and Bergkamp, we have Giroud and Sanogo: I know which pair I’d rather have. Winning the FA Cup would only cover up the cracks of what has ultimately been a disappointing season, as next season, you would think that Chelsea and United will only become stronger.
If we win the FA Cup, maybe it would be better for everybody if Wenger goes out on a high, rather than lead us further down a road of despair, cup final heartache, and battles for fourth place.