Arsenal need Arsene Wenger to go if they are to compete at the top again

Arsenal need Arsene Wenger to go if they are to compete at the top again
From ESPN - April 16, 2018

As the seal was set on Manchester City's record-breaking Premier League title success on Sunday, it would have been fascinating to know what was going through Arsene Wenger's mind as the Arsenal manager reflected on just how far his team has fallen behind.

Pep Guardiola was on the golf course when Manchester United's 1-0 home defeat against West Bromwich Albion sealed City's title. Wenger, meanwhile, was on the journey back from Newcastle after watching Arsenal suffer a fifth consecutive away league defeat -- a result which left them 33 points behind champions City, 13 off Tottenham in fourth, and just two points ahead of seventh-placed Burnley.

Back in Wenger's pomp, it was Arsenal who rewrote the record books and redefined football style, just as Guardiola's City are doing now.

But the only records that Arsenal are currently setting are the embarrassing ones: such as being the only club in all four English divisions still to win a point away from home in 2018. Even Bury, the first English club to relegated this season, have managed to do better than Arsenal on the road in league during this calendar year, claiming four points away from home since Jan. 1.

Arsenal, mighty Arsenal, are still on zero away points in 2018 and their next game away from the Emirates is against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Still, anything West Brom can do...

To many, the comparison with City under Guardiola will be regarded as baseless on the grounds that Arsenal are simply no longer a club capable of being the best.

Yet City's rise -- undeniably fuelled by the petrodollars of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan as well as a long-term vision -- has coincided with Arsenal's decline over the past decade and the Manchester club are now the team that is setting the benchmark.

That used to be Arsenal and Wenger was once the visionary who changed the course of the game, just as Guardiola has become at City.

But the drift at the Emirates has gone on for so long, become so deep and entrenched, that Wenger resembles a tired old man out of ideas in contrast to Guardiola.

At any other club, Wenger would not have lasted so long.

Just imagine City winning nothing but the odd FA Cup over the next 10 years, failing to challenge for the Champions League at the same time, yet Guardiola remaining in charge because the football in 2017-18 was so good?

In many ways, Wenger is still managing Arsenal because he built the "Invincibles" -- the team which won the title unbeaten in 2003-04 -- and there are some within the Emirates who continue to live in the forlorn hope that the Frenchman can turn the clock back to those glory days.

But those people, Wenger included, are living in fantasy land if they believe that the future can be like the past.


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