It has been a season full of ups and downs for Arsenal, but the end result is the same as it has been for the last 12 seasons -- they show promise at the beginning of the season up until the Christmas period and then they start to panic and capitulate. Arsenal were favourites to win the Premier League at the beginning of the new year after they beat Manchester City at home 2-1.
This showed that they could also compete against the bigger teams, which has been one of their downfalls in past campaigns. Arsenal did start to slip up in February and March, due to the fact they were still participating in the Champions League and the FA Cup, in addition to the Barclays Premier League. Then they were humiliated 5-1 on aggregate by Barcelona and were knocked out of the FA cup by Watford at home, which really tested the patience of the fans.
They also lost matches against Manchester United and Swansea back to back, which also spelt the end of their title chances. A lot of this has been linked to the managerial philosophy of Arsene Wenger.
The fans knew that this was the best chance Arsenal would have to end their title drought, with bigger teams such as Chelsea and Manchester United slipping up. What a lot of people seem to forget is that, when Arsenal built their new stadium, “The Emirates,” they had to pay off a lot of debt and had very little money to work with, and Wenger still found a way to guarantee Champions League football for Arsenal every year, which made Arsenal on average an extra 32 million pounds each season, key to paying off their debt.
Also, during this shaky period, Wenger was offered jobs by multiple European giants, such as Real Madrid, and he rejected them all because he believed in Arsenal, and I think the fans should return this favour, because Wenger provides stability, and has the experience to guide Arsenal to where they need to be.
Whereas if Arsenal were to higher a new manager, they might face some of the problems that Manchester United faced in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and it is unlikely the fans will be patient with the change.
Then again, Wenger has been given money recently and has still seemed reluctant to spend. He needs to realise and accept the side’s weaknesses if he wants Arsenal to be a title contender in the future and to gain the backing of the fans. Should Arsenal give him yet another chance? I believe so.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)