Can an F.A Cup win against Chelsea save a season of frustration for Arsenal, and possibly Arsene Wenger’s job? There have been calls for him to step down as club manager all season, culminating with many fans boycotting the game against Sunderland. Fans are frustrated with the clubs stagnation over the last number of years. The club haven’t been major title contenders for the best part of 10 years and have the added frustration of finishing this season outside the top 4 for the first time under his reign.
A lot has changed since Wenger first took charge. He arrived at Arsenal in October 1996. He earned his stripes in France winning the French League with Monaco in 1988. It didn’t take the Frenchman too long to make an impression on the English game, winning the double in 1997/98 and repeating this feat again in 2001/2002. Wenger’s teams were known for their exciting attacking style of play. Thierry Henry was the talisman for Arsenal during this period. Wenger’s most memorable achievement would come in 2003/04. His ‘invincible’ side won the league without losing a single game. Wenger’s teams consistently qualified for the Champions League every year since he took charge, until this season. He has also proved himself as a master of the F.A. Cup, winning the competition on 6 occasions.
However the ‘invincibles’ of 2004 are now a distant memory for many Arsenal fans. Although the club have finished in the top 4 consistently, they have fallen behind other teams. They lack the killer instinct to wage a credible title challenge. They have finished 4th in the league on 6 occasions since their last title triumph in 2004.
So could a cup win represent a lifeline for Arsene Wenger or is it the perfect opportunity to bow out in style.
Arsene Wenger has stated that he wants to manage next season whether at Arsenal or elsewhere. So if he doesn’t stay on at the Emirates where will the veteran go next? Arsenal legend Paul Merson has suggested he will return to France and manage PSG should the position come available. Tabloids have also speculated he may move to Italy. European giants Inter and AC Milan have both failed to qualify for the Champions League in 2016/17. So they may benefit from Wenger’s experience in qualifying for Europe’s premier competition (1997-2017).
Time will tell. Arsenal play Chelsea in the F.A. Cup final on Saturday 27th May.