On Friday, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho called Arsene Wenger “a specialist in failure.”
Those were some harsh words directed at the Arsenal boss, but Jose does have a point.
Since their FA Cup win in 2005, Arsenal has not won a single piece of silverware. Considering that fact, Arsene Wenger remains the longest tenured manager in the Premier League. Why?
From 1996-2004, Wenger took his club to three Premier League Titles, four FA Cup trophies, as well as four Community Shields. Plus, Wenger was the man behind the team’s invincible run in 2003-2004. Since then, it’s been a whole lot of nothing.
Fans, like me, have questioned whether or not Wenger should still be the guy leading the North London club. He’s been criticized for almost everything and rightly so. Perhaps, it’s time for a some new blood…then again, maybe not…
When this season started back in August, nobody expected the Gunners to be this good.
This will be the year that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal will win something.
The Gunners are in position to win one of three titles: The English FA Cup, The Barclays Premier League, and/or the most coveted title of them all – The UEFA Champions League.
While it may be a long shot, Arsenal could win all three…but I highly doubt that.
Despite a rash of injuries to players like Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, and Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal has prevailed in so many ways this season. After playing horrendously last year, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is one of the best in England. Assisting Szczesny, Arsenal’s back four of Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, and Sagna have, for the most part, slammed the door on some of the Premiership’s most prominent strikers (However, they’re worst performance came against Liverpool in a 5-1 bloodbath at Anfield last week).
Meanwhile, on the attacking side of things, Olivier Giroud has been a headache for opposing defenses. However, the recent news about Giroud’s infidelity could cause a major distraction for the club. It’s imperative that he doesn’t bring his personal life onto the pitch.
And then there’s Mesut Ozil, perhaps Arsenal’s biggest acquisition at the beginning of the season. He has given the North London club more chances to score than ever. Ozil’s play as of late has been lackluster. I’ve come to the conclusion that Ozil is simply worn out. After the clash with Bayern Munich this Wednesday, I hope Wenger rests Ozil for at least a couple of matches. The guy needs to recharge his batteries.
Would I be surprised if Arsenal faltered now? Absolutely. Keep this in mind, though.
For everything the Gunners have gone through this season, they’re still hanging around. Like the Green Bay Packers, Arsenal seems to have the “next man up” philosophy. Players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, and Lukas Podolski (all of which were injured earlier this season) have developed pivotal roles in Arsenal’s latest success. As long as these guys stay healthy, they will be tough to beat.
Exhibit A: Arsenal defeated Liverpool 2-1 in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday. When I saw Wenger’s starting 11, though, I said there was no chance of victory. Arsenal was simply unmatched against a Liverpool squad who was on a hot streak.
Remember, Wenger had to rest several of his starters, so they could be set for Wednesday’s clash against Bayern Munich in the CL Round of 16. Liverpool should have beaten them. Courtesy of the sturdy Arsenal defense, the dynamic duo of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge simply didn’t do enough.
Once again, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski came through with the goals. They really are the next men up. Keep it up, lads.
There’s still a lot that can happen between now and early May.
For Arsenal, it’s theirs to lose.
There’s been a lot of adversity to overcome. So far, Arsenal is getting through it. Up to this point, they’ve beaten most of the teams they were suppose to beat. It's going to be difficult in the Premiership...Arsenal needs to play better against Chelsea and Man City. Bottom line.
In the Champions League, I don't like Arsenal's chances against Bayern Munich. Frankly, they don't stand a chance. Bayern is the best team in the world.
Arsenal's best chance of winning silverware is in the FA Cup. Arsenal plays Everton in the sixth round, another tough draw. However, Everton and Man City are the only two powerhouses left in the Cup. With currently nine clubs remaining, Arsenal is in the driver's seat. I feel very good about this. The match against Liverpool was very telling.
Like I said, the Gunners will win something. THEY MUST WIN SOMETHING.
To close, consider this about Arsene Wenger – He’s a cat with nine lives…It’s been almost nine years since Arsenal have been champions of anything. Depending on how this season ends, this could be Wenger’s last. Most believe his contract will be extended. For fans, we want to go back to the glory days of Arsene Wenger, but we’re also impatient. I’m ready for change, if Wenger can’t get the job done.