Another year, another trophy-less season. Welcome back to six months of desperate optimism, Arsenal fans, as we patiently await the next chance until silverware can once again appear in our distant vision.
Welcome back to sitting by the wayside while crosstown rivals habitually enjoy the delights of English excellence to spite us. Welcome back to the agonizing pain we have endured for over a half-decade.
I can’t say I am surprised at our continual dissatisfaction since last August. After all, the soccer gods were clearly trying to make a statement by saddling half the squad with detrimental injuries throughout the year. Shame on us for thinking that our run of bad luck was bound to end with such fierce competition in our way.
With the FA and Carling Cup both distant memories, the Champions League campaign in need of a North London miracle and the Premier League title evidently out of reach, all Gooners have left to fall back on is a consolation UCL qualification bid and the small content that comes out of aimlessly criticizing our own beloved club.
Of course, the most common critique given by Gooner fans around the world is regarding the job of legendary manager Arsene Wenger.
While the “Wenger Out” screamers were hoping to be proven wrong this season, the opportunity has once again come for them to rewrite the signs and tweets calling for a major change in management. And after seven years without a trophy, those Gunner fans have every right to be questioning their skipper’s job security.
However, while Wenger's effectiveness has been deficient recently (as shown by the dusty trophy case), I am here to prove to you that sacking him is the absolute wrong decision.
First off, one has to look back at the current squad with perspective when questioning Wenger’s job.
When you compare Arsenal’s current starting lineup with the premier teams in the league, there is no reason why Arsenal should finish top four. With all the injuries suffered this season on the backline and Arteta and Walcott’s drastic lack of consistency, it is a miracle that Arsenal are even in a Champions League spot as it is.
Other than Van Persie, no other field player has been at the level we desperately expect from the club that has given us so much joy in the past. The struggles should be blamed on the injuries and players’ inconsistency before Wenger’s name even comes into question.
Secondly, let us not forget that Wenger is one of the best, if not the best, in the world at bringing in raw talent and developing superstars.
Let’s be honest: Did any Gooners legitimately expect Ox to be playing significant first team minutes and contributing as much as he has this early in his Arsenal career? Wenger’s incredible eye for young talent is the reason why Arsenal have been so successful the last couple of years and can still compete in the league without signing blank checks like Chelsea and City.
Removing Wenger means removing the one concept—developing stars instead of buying them—that keeps us different from all the other top teams in England that we despise so much.
Possibly the most important reason why Wenger must remain as Arsenal manager, however, is the fact that there are no legitimate candidates who could (or would want to) remotely fill his place. No other jobless manager in the current market has Wenger's prestige and persona to convince top players to join the club.
You may say that Arsenal could try and steal a respected manager, but who could possibly want to risk their reputation and join a club with so much pressure and instability around it?
So, if Wenger were sacked, someone with less football presence would be hired, and top talents like Eden Hazard and Lukas Podolski may look elsewhere for work. The change in management may also cause already unsettled players such as Van Persie and Walcott to exit before their contracts are up.
Arsenal would be left with a squad that not only couldn't compete for an EPL title, but would also finished far below the fans' high expectations.
The truth is that firing Wenger would cause Arsenal to go through even more of a rebuilding process. Failing to win trophies wouldn't be the only problem; attracting top talents would be difficult as well.
As an Arsenal fan, why would you want to increase the club's problems simply to ditch the coach that has brought you so much success? Are you willing to go through a rebuilding process and wait even longer until our next shot at silverware? I know I'm not.
Relax, fellow Arsenal fans, and simply open your mind. The source of our problems this year was not our manager's incompetence, but the unluckiness that has plagued us the last half-decade.
Did Wenger make multiple questionable decisions over the course of the year? Of course.
Substituting Arshavin in against Manchester United, panic buying Park Chu-Young on deadline day last August, and benching Walcott for the FA Cup defeat against Sunderland were all decisions I bet he wishes he could have back. We all have 20-20 hindsight, but that does not mean you have to be blind to the fact that he is the best manager to run this club in the future.
Don’t worry, fellow Gooners—the end of this disastrous season is thankfully fast approaching. I hope to see you all on the other side.