It’s always a bad sign when the fans turn on the manager, and with The Gunners currently sitting sixth in the Premier League, losing five out of their last nine games, it is not surprising the amount of heat that Arsenal Wenger is getting.
All over the globe ‘Wenger out’ signs up are popping up in the most unexpected places, Wrestlemania 33, a World Rugby Sevens match in Vancouver and even a World Cup qualifying match between New Zealand and Fiji.
In one of Arsenal’s worst seasons, which could see the London side not finish in the top four, the future of the manager is a strong talking point for football fans everywhere.
With no realistic prospects in the Premier League or Champions League, one of the world’s supposedly biggest teams is stuck in a rut, their only silver lining being the FA Cup wins in 2014 and 2015.
Wenger has been at the club for over 20 years now, and a large population of fans are getting restless about his retirement. They have been waiting for big change for a number of years now, but with a manager who isn’t willing to spend, change will always be on the horizon.
Both fans and players are turning on the club, with the public wanting to see the back of Wenger, but are more likely to see the back of big names Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez instead, whose contracts run out at the end of next season.
Protests have been taking place outside the Emirates Stadium, plus videos have emerged of fans turning on each other on social media. Youtube star Robbie, presenter of Arsenal Fan TV, has been bombarded by supporters, almost getting into a fight with one after their 2-2 draw with Manchester City at the weekend.
Loyalty has always been a key factor of the Arsenal name, as the team has been dragged through the mud on many occasions throughout the years. Selling key players to rivals (i.e. Robin van Persie to Manchester United), unlucky European fixtures (drawing Bayern Munich three times in five years) and the desperate need of a striker have all been issues that The Gunners have faced.
But the team somehow always makes it home and dry, with the fans standing right behind them. This loyalty has almost run out, the supporters screaming for new management in hope of going back to the days of success and silverware.
Not all fans are for the Frenchman to leave though. People often think that the grass is greener on the other side, but as seen in the Premier League many times, this is not the case.
After David Moyes’ shambles of a season replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and Louis Van Gaal being called in, the yellowing grass dried up and withered with The Red Devils’ title prospects that year.
This could easily happen with Arsenal, as fans are calling for new leadership, but there are no realistic options for a suitable manager to take over. Pundit and ex-United defender Gary Neville has criticised supporters calling for Wenger to resign, calling them an “embarrassment” to the club, after Wenger received more abuse following their 3-1 loss to Chelsea back in February.
For a team with historical success, led by a manger with years of trophies under his belt, it would make sense to trust Wenger and his techniques.
The last time The Gunners finished outside the top four was 1996. They finished in the runners-up spot last year, only falling short to Leicester City. This is far from a bad thing, as other big teams like Liverpool and United are becoming more familiar with the Europa League.
Admittedly, Arsenal are not where they want to be or should be, but there is still time for them to save the season and qualify for the Champions League next year.
With Wenger’s future still undecided and a contract extension been offered to him, the supporters are sitting on the edge of their seats. For now, they will just have to look ahead to their next games against West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough, all winnable matches to get them back on track and catch up with Manchester City, who are seven points ahead in fourth place.