Alas, we've once again returned to Arsenal's habitual mid-season crisis. This is the period that Arsenal fans have come to know all too well: Arsene Wenger being criticised and dissected from every angle, the fate of next year's Champions League qualification hanging in the balance and a widespread air of panic throughout the club and its supporters.
With the wounds of their FA Cup loss still raw, the Gunners head into Tuesday's clash versus European giants Bayern Munich desperate to prove a point and regain some lost pride.
Tensions throughout the club are running high, with Wenger leading a 45 minute meeting (although it seemed more of an ultimatum) with his players in an attempt to salvage the season. It is clear that he is feeling the pressure of the task ahead with his lashing out at reporters during a press conference ahead of the Bayern game. Can anyone blame him?
My personal opinion is that for this campaign to not be considered a failure by fans, players and management alike, at least two of three things have to happen:
1. Arsenal must finish in the top four of the Premier League, securing a place in next year's Champions League and not tarnishing Wenger's impressive record.
2. They must find a way to win their last two Premier League fixtures against top-four clubs Manchester United and Spurs. For too long Arsenal have struggled to obtain results against the top teams.
3. Reaching the semi-finals of the Champions league (or even better, the final). To do this, they need beat Bayern Munich, a task that will require determination, stellar performances from their top players (yes Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere, I'm talking to you) and consistency, all of which has been lacking this year.
It is clear that Wenger and his squad have quite the mountain to climb, but the fact of the matter is that these are the things that need to be done to solidify his place as manager for the next season.
Nothing is impossible in the world of football and hopefully Arsenal will be able to find some of the magic that has escaped them these last seven years and prove to the world that they belong as a top team.
These next few months will undoubtedly be interesting, informative and most of all, great entertainment so get comfortable and enjoy the drama that football has to offer.
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