Arsenal’s defeat to AS Monaco in Wednesday’s Champion’s League round-of-16 first-leg clash was a huge disappointment for everyone involved with the club.
The Gunners’ went into the game as favourites to get a positive result against what was perceived as a weakened Monaco team, however, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line, leaving them a mountain to climb to progress through to the next round of the competition.
Despite having the majority of possession, the north London club managed less attempts on goal than their opponents, forcing the opposition goalkeeper into making just three saves during the whole 90 minutes.
French striker Olivier Giroud and German centre-back Per Mertersacker have been seen by many as the main under performers, but who exactly is to blame for Arsenal’s so called ‘naivety’ which lead to last night’s disastrous result?
The real problems
Over recent years, the Gunners’ have become a team who simply struggle to perform on the big stage. The club’s record against the big teams is nothing short of dismal; they have won just 43 times from 135 attempts against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United combined in the Premier League, with the latter seeing their worst record of just 11 wins from a possible 45.
In addition to this, Wenger has delivered just one trophy in the past nine years; the 2014 FA Cup, and has failed to lead the team to a top two finish in the Premier League since the 2004/2005 season.
They have also been unable to go further than the semi-finals of the Champions League following their defeat to Barcelona in the final of the competition in 2006.
Specialist in failure
Many believe that Wenger is the man to put the blame on, with current Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho perhaps summing up the Frenchman perfectly when he infamously called him a ‘specialist in failure’ in February 2014.
Though perhaps this at the time seeming harsh to aim such words towards a man who will inevitably be remembered as one of the Premier League’s greatest managers, it is difficult to prove Mourinho wrong.
The Portuguese boss went on to suggest that if he had failed to win a single trophy in eight years in charge of Chelsea, he would leave and never come back, suggesting that Wenger wouldn’t have been given as much time at a club such as Chelsea, or either of the two Manchester sides, to bring success.
Time for a change
It may seem hard to doubt a man who has won three Premier League titles, five FA Cups, as well as being named the Premier League manager of the season on three separate occasions, however, all but one of these achievements are outdated successes.
Only time will tell how much more of a chance the Arsenal board are willing to give their current boss, but a change in management could be exactly what the club needs to once again become a dominant force in both English and European football.