Arsene Wenger Comments on Questions of His Record at Arsenal

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2016

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Swansea City at the Emirates stadium in London, Wednesday, March 2, 2016.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has grown tired with the constant line of questioning regarding his coaching credentials and described the media's scrutiny as "boring" on Monday.

The Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson quoted Wenger's comments in reference to the idea of consistently having to prove himself to the media:   

I worked for 35 years at the top level. What I find just boring is always sitting here after 19 years to face, 'Do you think you are good enough?’ I don’t know. I am humble enough every day to question myself, to accept my mistakes – and believe me, I do that.

After that, as well, there is no coincidence that the people who own the club tell me to be here for 19 years. Do you think they are more stupid than you or me?

I always have to convince you that I am good enough. I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring.

The pressure is on Arsenal to turn form around after failing to win any of their last five games, most recently failing to beat second-placed Tottenham Hotspur following a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.  

Prior to that result, the Gunners suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City that saw them slip eight points adrift of leaders Leicester City. Sections of the Emirates Stadium were heard jeering following that loss, and when asked if the fans would influence his decision to sign a contract extension, Wenger said:

You are the guy who speaks to the fans – it’s not me. I am not on Twitter. I don’t invite anybody to go out to dinner and be nice with them. I work and work and work and work. If it’s not good enough someone will tell me one day. That’s all I can do.

I do not worry what you or fans say about me. I try to do my job in a proper way and with full commitment. After that everybody has the right to have an opinion. You do not make a decision if I continue my job or not.

The Arsenal hierarchy have kept their faith in Wenger up until now, with the Frenchman frequently emerging from bouts of major pressure such as this only to continue leading the club through times of adversity.

This isn't the first time Arsenal's form has begun to tail off toward the end of a campaign, and Wenger also highlighted the fact this wasn't his first time encountering such challenges:

I have always the same pressure, the pressure I apply to myself is always the same. After that, more people talk than 20 years ago, there are more opinions but the pressure comes from your desire to win games. That’s the only one that matters really. Opinions are opinions. I do my job – some day someone will replace me – and someone will replace you. That’s part of life. I always try to do my best so, when I leave the club, the guy coming in after me will have a good potential to work.

Some might suggest dealing with that same pressure would mean Wenger has learned from his mistakes, but having failed to win the Premier League in the last 11 seasons, some mistakes are evidently difficult to learn from.

Wenger's current deal is poised to expire at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, but at 66 years of age, the question of his longevity has to be posed. Per ESPN's John Brewin, Wenger has noted some of Arsenal's highlights this season, but Brewin added that highlights count for little without something to show at the end:

If Arsenal finish in the Premier League's top four this season, it means Wenger will have led the Gunners to top-four finishes in 20 consecutive top-flight seasons.

The size of that feat isn't lost on Hull City manager Steve Bruce, who the Press Association quoted on Monday after he rushed to the defence of Wenger:

Another who's well-aware of those achievements is Wenger himself, and the Frenchman clearly doesn't feel he has anything to prove to the media or the fans as long as the club remains faithful in his talents.

Nevertheless, it's inevitable Wenger's position at the club's helm will be questioned as long as major silverware remains out of reach and Arsenal approach another end-of-season run-in falling flat on multiple fronts.