In defence of Wenger

The cacophony of voices calling for the removal of Arsène Wenger, after 20 seasons at the helm of Arsenal, is louder now than ever before. The manner of the Champions League defeat to Bayern last week was embarrassing, but the European complaints of Claude & co. on ArsenalFanTV are unfounded – what else can they expect against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich? Fourth in the league and a last-16 exit from Europe have become synonymous with the complaints of the ‘WengerOut’ campaign, but Arsenal fans should expect nothing more. In modern football success is ultimately dictated by money. It is a frustrating argument given Arsenal fans pay the most in the League for their season tickets. Many will retort: ‘but if Leicester can win the League…’! Unfortunately, though, it is reality. For the Arsenal board, what Wenger brings is consistency in return for their investment – Arsenal have not finished outside the top four in his time as manager, a feat no other club has achieved. Arsenal fans are entitled to want more. But sacking Wenger by no means guarantees this. Look at Manchester United. The post-Ferguson era has been remarkably unsuccessful for them. 3 seasons, 3 managers and £350 million later and they lie 6th in the League. Wenger certainly has questions to answer – the post-Christmas capitulation is becoming far too regular an occurrence. Sacking him, though, would be the Brexit of the footballing world: a shift from stability to uncertainty, a leap of faith with only the dreaded Europa League as a safety net.

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