Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Are fans who back Wenger excusing failure? Time for him to go?


Arsenal 2- Swansea 2
· Match Report    · Wenger's reaction     · Wenger gives injury update on quartet

Morning Gooners.

It feels like if it can go wrong for Arsenal, it surely will at the moment. A blunder in the final 15 seconds of normal time cost us two points last night and appears to have robbed us of a place in the title race. We're now six points behind Chelsea, having played the same number of games.

And there is no respite ahead. Manchester City who stormed to a 3-0 win at Old Trafford last night are next to visit the Emirates on Saturday and then we face a crunch clash with Everton the following Sunday at Goodison Park.

Losing three big games this season away from home has taken it's toll on this squad of players. After each of those games drawn the next league fixture. The defeat at Middle Eastlands was followed up with a dull 0-0 against Chelsea at the Emirates. After Our hammering by Liverpool we played out a 0-0 with Manchester United at home and then there was last night's 2-2 with Swansea which need I remind you followed our capitulation at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Nine points lost followed up with six points dropped. And we should have won all three home games against Chelsea, Manchester United and especially last night against Swansea.

But we don't appear to be able to get ourselves going. The Welsh side scored with their first attempt on target last night inside 11 minutes. No one bothered to cut out Neil Taylor's cross, Mikel Arteta was closest and flung out a leg from at least ten yards away, Wilfried Bony rose in the box and beat Thomas Vermaelen to the ball and targeted his header inside Wojciech Szczesny's post.

The Ivory Coast forward appeared to have a little more desire to win the header than the Arsenal captain and made us pay for it with a thumping header. The Gunners had been the better side and had come out of the blocks faster than in recent matches.

But for all our possession we created few clear cut chances. Swansea were playing with ten men behind the ball when we were in possession and we didn't have the runners to get in behind them. Even when we managed to break down their defence, we didn't have the players in the box to get on the end of any of the crosses.

It wasn't until the second half we managed to work our way back into the game with a goal from substitute Lucas Podolski, on for Oxlade-Chamberlain. Kieran Gibbs got away from the Swansea defence on the left, got to the byline and cut the ball back for the German international who fired into the net from close range.

It was a fantastic finish given the little room the German had to work in.

And inside a minute we had taken the lead. We robbed the ball back in the centre of the pitch, Podolski was set free down the left and he crossed low for Olivier Giroud to record his 13th goal of the season.

The atmosphere inside the stadium lifted and the noise came back. But there was to be a sucker punch before the game was over. With less than a minute to go Mathieu Flamini let Leon Britton get the wrong side of  him inside the box. As he charged in on goal, Per Mertesacker came in with a challenge. The ball hit Szczesny's legs and ricochetted into Flamini who could do nothing to prevent it going in.

It finished 2-2 and felt like a defeat.

Clearly dropping two points is a blow to our title ambitions, even if you don't believe we were in the title race after our defeat at Stoke. Now if we're to win the championship, we've got to hope the sides above us drop points. Never a position you want to be in.

Post match it appears the tide is turning against Arsene Wenger continuing next season as manager. Emotions certainly run high after games, but it does seem there is a land shift in public opinion on the Frenchman.

Personally I'd like to see him continue, no matter the outcome of this season. The money from the new commercial deals comes on stream at the end of the season and if he's still here we'll see if he has what it takes to build a third great side capable of winning the league.

I think after all he's had to deal with over the last nine years in keeping us competitive, despite not having the budget to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, he should be given the funds to show what he can do.

The best time to judge a season is at the end of it. No one knows what's going to happen between now and then. There's still plenty of football to play. We just need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.

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