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    Champions League Record Doesn't Reflect Well on Arsene Wenger

    Yet another round of 16 Champions League exit once again prompts the question from an increasing section of Arsenal supporters, should long serving manager Arsene Wenger leave at the end of the season?

    This question has become increasingly prominent in recent seasons, with every predictable passing seasons the chorus of fans wanting him to leave increases. The fans however are divided by this question, with a significant portion also wanting the Frenchman to continue his 21 year reign at the club. With the club currently at a crossroads this summer will be a big one for the North London club.

    Many pundits and fans have been commenting on the on-going saga at Arsenal in recent weeks, with everyone from Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville to ArsenalfanTV giving their thoughts through various means. Whilst a lot of people have been giving their opinions on the situation, surely the facts will tell us the clear picture.

    Arsene Wenger looking forlorn in 2012. This picture
    could equally apply to any season from this decade.
    Photo copyright Paul Chesterson/Focus Images.


    Arsenal have always marketed themselves as a European power in football and a club that regularly expects to be competing for Premier League and Champions League titles. One of the reasons behind the move to the 60 000 all seater Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2006 was to compete with the European heavyweight clubs.

    Based purely on the statisitics the club however have simply not been doing this over the past decade. They have not won the Premier League since 2004, and they have failed to consistently compete in the Champions League. Since moving to the stadium the sum tally of the clubs silverware are two F.A Cup titles and two Community Shields.

    Now for a team that markets itself as a contender and up there with the level of European clubs, this seems strangely sparse. It isn't just the lack of silverware that frustrates fans, it's the manner of their key performances. On the whole the squad have struggled mightily to produce good results when it's required in key games.

    There are of course exceptions, such as recent back to back wins against heavyweights Manchester City in recent seasons, but a look at their record in key games is a painful read for fans. Since 2009 the club have been knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 every season. Now people supporting Wenger can argue that this is simply because the club have been unlucky with the draw etc, but whatever happened to the saying you make your own luck in life.

    In those seven years of early exits the team has only topped the group twice. Now this is important as the club which tops the group is more likely to get a favourable draw for the round of 16, along with a crucial home tie in the all important second leg. The one thing that has been consistent with these exits have been very poor performances in the first leg.

    Their record in the opening leg is very poor, always putting them on the back foot. Their first leg record in the round of 16 since 2010 has made for ugly reading. A 2-1 home win against Barcelona in 2010 was a bright start, however since then it reads: 4-0 defeat to A.C Milan in Milan, 3-1 home loss to Bayern Munich, 2-0 home loss to Bayern Munich, 3-1 home loss to Monaco,2-0 home defeat against Barcelona and this years awful 5-1 away loss to Bayern Munich.

    Wenger blamed the referee for making bad deicisons
    such as this red card for Laurent Koscielny.
    A 10-2 aggregate defeats shows there are bigger
    problems for Arsenal. Photo: Goal.com


    Fans were rightly angry with the performances across the two legs this season. The team faltered terribly and suffered 5-1 defeats to Bayern in both the away and home second leg. This embarrassing 10-2 aggregate defeat to the German champions has seemed to be the straw that has broken the back of some fans, with some even suggesting Wenger should leave right now.

    It's clear from the records that in the major games in Europe the squad assembled always manages to find a way to buckle under the pressure. Whilst the players can take a portion of the blame for this, ultimately the manager also has to take responsibility for this. The squad has evolved and changed significantly in those seven years, yet no matter who is on the pitch the result is always the same.

    The atmosphere surrounding the club is becoming ever more poisonous with each mediocre season, as fans feel increasingly frustrated with what's being produced on the field. The typical Arsenal season with a top four finish far from the league summit and round of 16 Champions League exit has become almost a running joke in football, and provides a perfect indication of where the club are currently at.

    They appear to have become stale, complacent and unambitious. This is endemic of the current situation of the club and something that needs to be rectified in the next few years. Whether this is through the removal of Wenger as manager or the ousting of several of the prominent board members remains to be seen, but what is clear is that if the club want to progress and keep pace with their rivals.

    For a long time I remained a Wenger supportive, however based on the stagnation in recent seasons I think it's time for the great man to admirably step down and allow the club to progress in a new direction. Many pundits have questioned Arsenal fans, advising them to be careful what they wish for if Wenger leaves. That to me seems a one sided argument, as nobody can predict the future. Who knows, change could be the best thing to happen to Arsenal football club in years.

    What are your thoughts on Wenger and Arsenal, should he stay or go? Feel free to give your opinion either way in the comments section below. I also want to say a huge thank you for reading and find me on Twitter @brfcjordan95.


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    Item Reviewed: Champions League Record Doesn't Reflect Well on Arsene Wenger Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jordan Wilkins
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