Many have been quick to assign Arsenal’s latest capitulation the ‘predictability tag’. But such sentiments are misplaced.
Even by their own lofty standards of ineptitude, their capitulation at home on Tuesday night was extraordinary. Even with the tie irrevocably lost after the first leg, many felt Arsenal could be relied upon for a sterling performance in London. A performance which, while it wouldn’t send them through to the last eight, would at least restore some measure of pride. Such a performance wasn’t forthcoming.
A 5-1 nil dismantling at home was instead in store, and this felt like a watershed moment. In the opinion of seemingly everyone, the entire night from the pre-game protests to the limp display pointed towards the imminent departure of Arsene Wenger. To everyone that is, except those that matter most.
As reported in the Guardian, the Arsenal hierarchy remain full blooded supporters of Wenger. They have already offered him a new contract and even in the aftermath of their latest ransacking, see no reason to revoke such an offer.
Instead, their priority appears to lie in replacing less senior figures at the club. A new academy manager for example, is an urgent requirement given Andries Jonker left last week and much of Arsenal’s players are considering their future and thus require urgent attention also. None more so than Alexis Sanchez whose time at the club appears to be in its twilight given the raft of recent reports of his unhappiness at the club, his passion incompatibility with the staid culture that appears to thrive at the club.
Even bearing all this in mind however, to insist that Wenger is the man to guide the club through the latest series of events that appear to signal an apogee in his tenure is baffling. It appears to be a decision made solely in the boardroom, devoid of any consideration for on-field performances let along the sentiments of fans.
When Stan Kroenke increased his stake in the club in 2009, shares were valued at $8,500. Last year they were valued at £15,670. It’s obvious to Kroenke what the reward for impeccable consistency over the last two decades is.
Should he stick with Wenger beyond this season however, he may come to appreciate its costs as well.