Sports / In-Depth
Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 16:43 EATamondigovan@gmail.com
It’s another disappointing year in the Champion’s League for Arsenal, the 17th consecutive year for them to be precise. In the last six years, Arsenal has been eliminated in the last sixteen of the competition, twice by Bayern Munich. With Chelsea in total command of the domestic league, the only realistic chance for silverware for the Arsenal is the FA Cup, the only trophy the under-fire manager, Arsene Wenger, has been able to deliver for the last fourteen seasons. Considering the size of the club, this is an underachievement in every sense of the word.
Some might argue that the tie is not yet lost for the team from North London even though they left themselves with a mountain to climb – a four goal deficit against a team of Bayern’s stature. It’s not impossible to progress after the collapse in Munich, keeping in mind that this will not be the first time Arsene’s team will be seeking to overturn such a tie. In 2003, a team boasting of the likes of Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires overturned a three goal deficit which they suffered against Internationale to win 5-1 at the San Siro in the same competition.
This current crop of players is by no means comparable to the team which came from behind to win 5-4 on aggregate in Italy, and especially with big players such as Ozil disappearing in big matches, it is looking more and more likely that this will be the end of the road for them. Surely, there is a problem with this team because it is not the first time in recent seasons that they are capitulating in big matches.
After the thrashing in Munich, the ‘Wenger out’ brigade are at it again, perhaps they are justified this time after the Bavarians outclassed their team in every department. The Arsenal manager has been knocked out of the competition every time since he arrived in England. He has been able to reach the final only once where Barcelona, then coached by Frank Rijkard, came from behind to clinch the coveted title.
There seems to be no more excuses left for the Arsenal manager. After blaming his young teams in previous seasons, this time round he was only left to lament on the injury to his defender. He said, “If you ask me would I have loved to have kept Laurent Koscielny on the pitch, I’d say ‘yes’. After that, it’s difficult to measure the real impact. We have to cope with the result”.
Fans have been complaining about the manager, with some of them carrying placards demanding for his sacking during matches. Arsenal’s legend Ian Wright recently claimed that Wenger had told him that his time was coming up at the club, many fans will be hoping that this is true.
He surely must leave at the end of the season when his contract expires so as to allow another manager with different ideas to take this team to the next level.
The writer is a trained journalist and lover of football currently working for a management company in Nairobi