Arsenal suffered their latest blow to both their confidence and their chances of ending their long trophy drought as they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup quarterfinal by lowly Bradford City.
The League Two side emerged victorious courtesy of a penalty shoot-out, which they won 3-2 following a 1-1 draw after extra time. An early goal from Garry Thompson set the home side in front and it took the Gunners until the 87th minute to find an equaliser, Thomas Vermaelen heading home at the far post.
Extra time brought no further goals and after Santi Cazorla and Marouane Chamakh both failed to convert their spot kicks at the beginning of the shootout, Vermaelen struck the post with the all-important fifth. Arsenal went out, while Bradford move on to the semifinals for the first time in their history.
Arsenal's failure to beat the side from the fourth tier of English football has provoked ire and embarrassment from their supporters, with plenty calling for the heads of the manager and various under-performing players.
I'm not drunk and I'm not anti-arsenal. Wenger should go.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_SM) December 11, 2012
Wenger must resign tonight. This humiliation cannot continue - for him, the Club and the fans.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2012
Wenger: "we gave everything for 120 minutes". If our strongest selection can't beat Bradford when giving everything, time for Plan B.— Arsenal Report (@ArsenalReport) December 12, 2012
What a disgrace. Wenger should resign— Arsenal Action (@arsenalaction) December 11, 2012
Arsene Wenger insists his players shouldn't feel embarrassed losing a Bradford team that cost a total of £7,500 in transfer fees.— Ian Abrahams (@BroadcastMoose) December 12, 2012
Of course, not all fans feel the same way and some are still backing the coach.
How can wenger resign ! He surely can't want to leave AFC in the state it's in! Wish the 2 powerhouse's with the money would start talking !— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) December 11, 2012
I know this is unpopular, but I'm still 100% behind Wenger. Understand those who want him to go but for me, he's still the man for the job— Joe Tilley (@Tilley_96) December 11, 2012
Please stay Wenger, you're doing such a great job.— Spurs Stat Man (@SpursStatMan) December 11, 2012
The Gunners' exit was all the more worrisome as Wenger had picked a full strength side in an attempt to pass through easily. Cazorla, Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Lukas Podolski, Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna all started the game while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the returning Tomas Rosicky also featured from the bench.
Wenger tried to dampen the disappointment with his post-match quotes, as per the BBC:
You feel embarrassed when you don't give everything, I think they'll be more disappointed and frustrated. We did absolutely everything for 120 minutes and you have to give credit to Bradford.
Chief football writer for the same site, Phil McNulty, gave his take on Wenger's position by saying the serious questions would always land at the manager's doorstep, and that he had suffered his most embarrassing defeat of all.
The question for Arsenal fans is now rearing its head more often as the weeks go past, with Arsenal having won just three times in their past 11 matches in all competitions.
Has Wenger's time at the club come to an end?