He went on to say that his team “has produced a huge effort tonight and played well.”
I’d like some 5-alive, the time is 10 to 2: we’ve gone into meme overload after Arsenal’s 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last-16. No surprises that Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger put the blame on the referee.
He said he was “absolutely revolted” and that the officiating “killed” the game. Herein lies the problem: a stubborn refusal to accept the shortcomings of his players. He went on to say that his team “has produced a huge effort tonight and played well.”
This beggars belief – a team that conceded four goals in 17 minutes, lost by a 10-2 aggregate, setting a record on the way of the worst ever aggregate defeat ever suffered by an English club in the Champions League and another of being the first side to lose five consecutive home knockout ties in the Champions League played well?
The other problem might just be that some fresh blood is needed at Arsenal. Twenty years ago, he brought in ground-breaking techniques that invigorated the Arsenal team. He nurtured leaders like Martin Keown and Tony Adams.
He entrenched a winning culture that made superstars of the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira to name just three. And of course, there’s the glory of the “Invincibles.” Unfortunately, that was then and this is now.
Post-Invincibles, Wenger watched several Arsenal captains leave and many of his players without replacing them. They were building a stadium and had to cut costs, you see. Other managers weren’t football purists – football isn’t about buying expensive players, you see. How ironic it is then that some of their worst results and performances are coming on the back of spending £40m on Xhaka, £42.5m on Ozil and £32m.
These factors have contributed to the slow decline of Arsenal, masked by the fact that they have continued to qualify for Europe season after season. That they have exited at the last 16 stage for the seventh time is simply not good enough for a team with their history. Domestically, they lie fifth in the table after predictable losses to the top six teams.
Even their perennial fourth position lies under threat. There is a new order at the top of the premier league and it’s not business as usual. There are whispers about some disenchantment among the players that caused an alleged exchange during training, leading to Alexis Sanchez being left out of the starting line up in the premier league game against Liverpool.
Back to the champions League match that might finally be the nail in the coffin for Wenger’s Arsenal reign: Most Arsenal fans wouldn’t have expected a variety of the Miracle of Istanbul but would have surely not expected the implosion of the second half.
They were unable to stop a Bayern side who are not without their weaknesses but it wasn’t these Gunners that were going to expose them on the night. Fans walked out en masse while others held up protest banners. Messrs. Kroenke and Usmanov might have to take note. Their impressive patience is facing its biggest threat yet.
Predictably, the rumours have started flying around about replacements for Wenger. Massimiliano Allegri, Joachim Loew and Diego Simeone have been mentioned. Arsenal would do well to start thinking about rebuilding and restrategising if they are to go back to winning ways.
Written by Lande Abudu.