As we yo-yo our way through this, the craziest of football seasons, the stock of Arsene Wenger seems to rise and fall much like the financial markets in recent years. He hit rock-bottom during the early horror weeks, only to make a dramatic recovery as Arsenal went on an extended unbeaten run.
But a couple of disappointing results in the new year against Fulham and Swansea have made the doubters rear their ugly heads again. And with Arsenal doing no further business thus far in the transfer window (Thierry Henry’s dramatic return aside), even more questions are being asked.
And of course, there’s that business of not winning a major trophy since 1991. Oh wait, that would be Spurs…
I am definitely one of those who believes it is too early to be writing Wenger’s footballing obituary. I am convinced that he has not reached his breaking point with Arsenal. There are still plenty of signs to show that he continues to learn and evolve.
This season itself, he has gone against his norm and invested in veterans. There is no doubt that Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker, in particular, have made Arsenal better. And at the same time, he has unearthed undoubted talent in the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson (and maybe Joel Campbell and Ryo Miyaichi too).
It is easy to disregard the impact of unlimited funds at clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona. And convenient to ignore the precarious financial state of those clubs that live beyond their means. And stupid to keep paying for new signings when not one transfer of consequence has been made in this transfer window.
So while the rest of football continues to revel in Arsenal’s relative down turn, and Wenger’s in particular, let us take a trip into the archives and enjoy 10 of Arsenal’s best moments under the French maestro.