It is difficult to consider the mauling Arsenal were doled out by AC Milan last night and not fear the worst for a team.
Arsene Wenger admitted the Gunners’ 4-0 humbling at the hands of AC Milan was a “disaster” and claimed it was probably his worst night in European football at the north London club.
Added to this, the media’s great and good have been unanimous in their assessment of Arsenal’s showing – a non-performance that highlighted cavernous cracks in the current squad Wenger has at his disposal.
Despite so much negativity being bandied around, the club’s supporters should not be so pessimistic regarding their side’s future fortunes.
The calls for Wenger to go following the San Siro spanking are as preposterous now as they were when last season’s implosion crept into the beginning of this season.
If Arsenal do fail to qualify for the Champions League and are knocked out of the FA Cup and, although it seems almost inevitable, actually put out of the current competition by AC Milan, then there could be cause to say it is time for Wenger to go.
Maybe once Wenger leaves Arsenal fans will begin to realise quite what they had because so many of them do not seem able to appreciate it at the moment.
Arguments for his departure are reeled out every time there is a bad result from the team; no trophies in six-and-a-half years is probably the go-to crisis stick used to beat the Gunners boss with.
The same people seem to have forgotten what it was like before David Dein convinced an unknown Frenchman to leave the J-League in and put his signature on a contract at the end of September 1996.
‘Boring, boring Arsenal’ was a favourite of opposition fans; ‘one nil to the Arsenal’ was the signature ode to victory put forth by home fans.
Whereas nearly 16 years later Arsenal fans crave slick passing and concerted attacking football to be put in front of them each week, while on the same hand condemning teams like Stoke City for their lack of footballing ambition when they muscle the Gunners out of another win.
If Arsenal do face falling out of the Champions League, it will be for the first time for 15 seasons they would fail to do so, which is not a record to be sniffed at for a club on Arsenal’s relative size.
People talk about it being one of the worst Arsenal sides under Wenger, but what about the side he inherited? They had barely scraped into fifth place and were a squad beset by ruptures and ill discipline.
This is all conjecture as none of the nightmare scenarios imagined from this season have happened, things may change at any point in the future.
Nobody is willing to deny that this season has probably been the worst under Wenger and yet they currently sit fourth in the Premier League, are in the fifth round of the FA Cup and are (just) still in the last 16 of the Champions League.
If Arsenal fans were to be told what was ahead of them in the next 15 or so years just after the sacking of Bruce Rioch in 1996 they would have looked at you as if you were one of those people who shout bible verses in the street.
A 4-0 defeat at the Serie A champions seems almost par for the course in a season where Wenger's side were humiliated 8-2 at Old Trafford and Manchester United were then in turn thumped 6-1 by fierce rivals Manchester City – it has been a season for large scores.
If, by the end of the season, Arsenal football club lies in ruins and the swamp of mid-table mediocrity has sucked them up, causing a serious financial blow and sparking a player exodus, then it may be time to speculate over the current set-up.
This has not happened yet and people would be wise not to write off any Wenger side too early, even though their shortcomings are as starkly visible as they have been for a long time.
Wenger has made the club what it is today and what it was for the years of glory Arsenal fans enjoyed so much – for that alone he should be given time to prove his doubters wrong.
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