So far, 2016 has been a difficult year for both Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger. They have only managed 5 wins in 16 games, with two of those coming in the FA Cup against Burnley and Hull – both Championship sides. Arsenal have dropped 11 points behind league leaders Leicester City and were recently knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, making it their sixth consecutive exit out of the competition at the last 16 stages. So, with all of this in mind, do the EPL betting odds and fans now favor a change of manager at Arsenal?
FA Cup Exit – The final straw?
For the past 2 years, Wenger has had somewhat of a safety net in winning the FA Cup, having had victories in the final against both Hull City and Aston Villa. However, now that Arsenal have been knocked out of the competition by Watford, suffering an embarrassing defeat of 2-1 at the Emirates, he can’t rely on the competition anymore as some form of success. With the Gunners looking very likely to go another season without a trophy, Wenger’s position at the club that he has managed from 1996 until now is being heavily questioned, with some fans of the club suggesting that some former players turned coaches should replace him.
Are they out of the Premiership Race?
With Arsenal stumbling after draws with Crystal Palace and Sunderland, the chances of them mounting any kind of reasonable challenge for the league title have vanished. Another problem will be that even if Leicester win the league, Arsenal are still five points behind fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur. This is likely to be further embarrassment for Wenger, and won’t endear him to the fans, although – of course – the final decision rests with the board.
A big problem at Arsenal over the ‘barren’ seasons has been a lack of spending by Wenger and selling of their star players. Arsenal have been without a strong midfielder and a world class striker for years, having had to rely on Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud, yet Wenger has failed to address this problem. The only positive has been spending big on Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid and Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona over the past couple of seasons, but still there are still some big holes that need to be filled.
Wenger is an influential man at the Emirates, having brought success to the club in the past, but there comes a time when a manager has to be analysed using a recent record and not focusing on the past. If Arsenal fail to win the league this season – which seems very likely to happen, a managerial change will likely be necessary as this would surely have been their perfect opportunity to win the league – especially since their top rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all struggled. Despite the number of banners and shouts demanding a managerial replacement at the Emirates, Wenger still has a number of fans behind him (about 43%) but the majority of the fans are looking for a change (about 57%).
Since the last league title won by Wenger, a season in which they were 38 games unbeaten, Arsenal have finished second on the table just once – they have finished fourth on six occasions, and third four times. Going without a trophy this season should bring an end to the old banners reading ‘In Arsene we trust’ and ‘Arsene knows’, and Arsenal fans are much more likely to see the prophecy of the banners reading ‘Arsene – thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye’– come true.
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