Arsenal fans lose patience with Wenger after FA Cup disaster

Feb 18, 2013
Bill Mann

Why did Wenger not spend more in the transfer window? Why is the board so complacent?

ARSENAL are in crisis and Arsene Wenger is in denial. Saturday's 0-1 defeat at home to Blackburn in the FA Cup was another kick in the face for the Arsenal faithful who are now facing an eighth consecutive season without silverware.

Back in December, Arsenal were humiliated by League Two minnows Bradford, and the signs were there for all to see that the squad wasn't good enough.

There have been a few good wins in the Premier League – against the likes of Newcastle and Reading – but up against the big boys, Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal have yet to win this season.

Wenger had the chance to strengthen his squad in last month's transfer window, but the only dabble he had was to bring in Malaga defender Nacho Monreal, when in reality this Arsenal squad is crying out for half a dozen new faces.

Every Arsenal fan knows it - just not their manager who continues to insist he's pleased with his players. "I think we have a great team but this shows that we still have to show more maturity on the mental front," said Wenger on Saturday night.

More 'maturity'! How much time does a club need to allow the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Gervinho to show more maturity? These are all seasoned professionals who, along with their team-mates, have been underperforming for too long. As has Wenger.

When Arsenal played Brighton in the last round of the Cup there was a punch-up on the terraces between Gooners, sparked by a difference in opinion as to whether their manager should remain at the helm.

Today there are fewer fans standing by Wenger, trotting out that meaningless platitude 'In Arsene We Trust'. Trust to do what, exactly? Drag the club further into mid-table mediocrity?

Writing in the Daily Mail, Kevin Whitcher, editor of Arsenal fanzine The Gooner, says "Arsenal are a club where complacency is king and change is desperately needed". But Whitcher doesn't hold out too much hope that Wenger will be sacked; the board is too conservative, and too in awe of Wenger, the 'Professor', who was once such a revolutionary until age, and the competition, caught up with him.

Indeed, The Sun is reporting today that the board is preparing to offer Wenger a two-year extension when his contract comes up for renewal in June 2014, giving the Frenchman the chance to see out a full 20 years as manager.

Reports say Wenger held a 45-minute inquest with his squad after Saturday's defeat to Blackburn and he has called on them to show their true mettle in tomorrow's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. But if Arsenal can't even beat Bradford or Blackburn, then what hope have they got against Bayern, a team boasting Franck Ribery and Javi Martinez among others?

The Daily Mail says that Wenger will field all his big guns against Bayern, which means Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker. Given the way those two have been playing this season, it's hardly cause for optimism.

The Daily Telegraph claims that "£70 million will be available for squad strengthening" in the summer, but such claims are trotted out every year. In 2011 it was £50m and last year Wenger reportedly had £55m to spend.

Arsenal fans no longer believe what the board tells them about war chests, and increasingly the feeling among Gooners is not so much 'Show us the money', but show Wenger the door.

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