Let me be clear: This is not a reactionary article based on one positive result against Reading. Arsenal fans will have been relieved to see a performance with all the attacking flair you associate with an Arsene Wenger side, but the scoreline owes as much to a dreadful defensive display from The Royals.
Arsenal remain a club and a team beset with problems.
There is uncertainty about the commitment of the majority shareholder and a worrying disparity between the stated ambition of the club and their tentative transfer policy.
Arsenal have spurned the opportunity of progression in the Capital One Cup and are currently out of the race for the Premier League, leaving the FA Cup and what would have to be a miraculous Champions League campaign as their only remaining hopes of ending the long wait for a trophy.
The atmosphere at the Emirates is edgier than ever, and the players look like the pressure is beginning to get to them. It is not a happy place to be at the moment.
However, what won’t help at this stage is a witch hunt for the manager’s head, and there is one simple reason for that: He is not going anywhere. Although the newspapers may speculate on the boss’ future, in the immediate term, it really is a non-issue. Wenger has a deal until 2014, and as he is so fond of stating, he has never broken contract in his entire career.
He won’t do that as long he believes he is the right man to take Arsenal forward, and for all his faults, you can’t doubt his conviction about that. After such a long tenure at the wheel of this football club, I can’t envisage Wenger walking away on a low. He’ll be determined to return Arsenal to something like their former glories before retirement, and I don’t think he considers quitting to be an option. He is determined to chase redemption.
It’s worth nothing as well that Wenger will never be sacked. The current board has neither the will nor the footballing expertise to even consider replacing him.
The fans won’t change that. Monday night at Reading, the supporters held up a banner calling for Wenger to step down. I’m not sure how that helps the team. To me, that’s not "support." We have to respect the individuals in place and get behind them, for now at least.
Wenger is more deserving of our respect than most. I don’t need to list his achievements, but suffice to say he is one of the game’s great figures, and although his star may have diminished a little in recent seasons, I am convinced history will redeem him. In the here and now, however, he can still make a convincing case for being the best man to lead Arsenal into the top four. He did just that last season after an inauspicious start and looks to be in the process of doing so again: Win at Wigan on Saturday, and Arsenal will be (albeit temporarily) in third.
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