Today’s 3-1 win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge effectively means that Arsenal’s title challenge is over for another year. The Gunners are now 12 points adrift of Chelsea, and given the difference in form of the two sides, that is a gap that they are highly unlikely to overhaul. Instead, Arsene Wenger will be looking over his shoulder as the two Manchester sides will now threaten Arsenal’s position in the top four.
It’s a familiar story for Gunners fans. Kind of like an annual Groundhog day. Early in the season there is always some optimism, but that soon disappears. Either they make a terrible start and then pick up after the New Year. Or, like this season, they start well and then fall away with some disastrous defeats – such as Watford at home.
Fan unrest is inevitable. #WengerOut is already trending on social media. Here’s a couple of examples that are typical of what’s being shared at the moment.
— Asad Balal (@AsadBalal) February 1, 2017
— Arsenal Till I Die! (@Bellerined) February 4, 2017
The usual counter argument is to be careful what you wish for. The grass isn’t always greener, and if Wenger left and Arsenal made the wrong appointment to replace him, they might end up yearning for the days when they always qualified for the Champions League.
In the past I’ve always backed that argument. But maybe this has now gone on too long. Do what you always did and you get what you always got. Arsenal’s heirarchy need to decide whether they are genuinely happy with just top 4 every season, or whether they actually want to win something.
What has now become clear is that they will never win another league title with Arsene Wenger in charge. To have a chance, they need a change. Whether that change makes things better or worse remains to be seen. But if enough of the fan base start to demand it, the pressure may just get too much for Wenger. At least they do seem to be grateful for the memories, and rightly so.