Football 1 year ago

Wenger out? Arsenal defeat means something has to change

  • Wenger out? Arsenal defeat means something has to change

    (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

We've been here before.

Arsenal's seismic collapse at the hands of Bayern Munich this past Thursday (AEDT) likely signalled the end of their UEFA Champions League ambitions this season.

The seemingly insurmountable 5-1 deficit marked the first time the Gunners conceded five goals since November 2015, the last time these two sides met.

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Indeed, when it's all said and done, Arsene Wenger will go down as the greatest manager in Arsenal history. But, to his dismay, perhaps the sole memory fans retain will be the stagnant, stuttering Arsenal side that failed to perform when it mattered most.

This is the Arsenal that fans around the world have grown accustomed to. The three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and four Community Shields that christened his first decade in north-London, have since been accompanied by just two FA Cups, two Community Shields and a bemusing collection of third and fourth-placed finishes.

In recent years Wenger has prioritised Champions League qualification as the main objective. But with the club on the verge of their seventh successive European exit at the Round of 16, the patience has finally worn out.

"It is difficult to explain," Wenger said following his side's second-half capitulation in Munich. "I felt we had two good chances to score just before half-time.

"Then we concede the second goal, and then the most important (thing) was that lost Koscielny. We collapsed."

Laurent Koscielny's injury early in the second half opened a window in which Bayern took full advantage. Carlo Ancelotti's men ran roughshod over their disorganised opponents, scoring three goals in the space of 10 minutes, effectively killing the tie long before even a thought was spared for next month's second leg.

Arsenal's assumed elimination, coupled with their faltering league campaign, leaves the FA Cup - yet again - as the club's only realistic hope for silverware.

But despite the ever-growing discontent amongst the club's supporters, there will be no official announcement regarding Wenger's future at least until the end of the season.

With Bournemouth's Eddie Howe and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone leading the race as potential candidates to succeed the 67 year-old at the Emirates next season, a managerial shake-up could spark the kind of change this proud club has been crying out for.

Nevertheless, for all this uncertainty, one thing remains the same: something has to change.

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