No one wants to live in the past these days and it makes total sense. Whether it is the Manchester United fans, who have gotten over the Sir Alex Ferguson era or the Chelsea ones, who have now accepted that Jose Mourinho has betrayed their trust and has finally settled at Old Trafford, with their recent League Cup win.
However, one club which fails to move on is Arsenal FC, which is still stuck with Arsene Wenger and hopes that he is still that miraculous man, who had guided them to the most perfect season ever, eventually seeing them crowned as “The Invincibles”.
People who believe in Wenger are slowly losing patience with him and as a writer who wanted to see him leave the Emirates about four to five years ago, I am more than happy now.
Forget the reasons from the past and let’s just focus on the past eight to ten days or so that have gone by. It was back to the drawing board for Wenger and his team, as they came out losing 3-1 against Jurgen Klopp’s energetic Liverpool side at Anfield.
The French main-man’s decision to leave Alexis Sanchez on the bench back-fired as Arsenal conceded two goals and it was a little too late for the Gunners to get back in the game in the second half.
Liverpool looked bright and lively since the start of the whistle as they opened the scoring just nine minutes into the game after Roberto Firmino smashed the ball into the roof of the net after collecting Mane’s low cross. It was a perfect response to the humiliation they suffered at the hands of Leicester in their last Premier League game.
Arsenal barely looked to threaten as Liverpool continue to press forward and Arsenal keeper Petr Cech was needed to produce a good save from Coutinho’s left footed shot. Arsenal missed Ozil through to ill-ness and were lacking any sort of creativity at the attacking half of the pitch as Giroud was left frustrated at the top of the Arsenal attack due to lack of any quality service. And it was not too long before Arsenal were on 2-0 down after a ray of errors.
From the left hand side Wijnaldum and Firmino linked up well and the latter set up Sadio Mane, who was in acres of space in the penalty area. With one touch and a bullet of a shot Mane beat Cech five minutes before the break and Liverpool were cruising till half-time with Coutinho almost adding a third after some extravagant ball-control. Alexis Sanchez was subbed on at half time and the Chilean made Arsenal look like a different side altogether.
Olivier Giroud almost got Arsenal a goal with a header but Mignolet was up to the task in sublime fashion as he clawed out a save. However, Welbeck did manage to get one goal back for the visitors after collecting a through ball from Sanchez and clipping the ball past the on-rushing Mignolet. Wenger then brought on Theo Walcott and Lucas Perez to force an equalizer and Klopp introduced Divock Origi to add a presence as a target man.
And the latter’s substitution paid dividends as Origi almost made an instant impact hitting the post with his header. However Arsenal’s fate was finally sealed when Lallana found Origi with a wonderful through pass with the outside of his right foot and the Belgian squared the ball to Wijnaldum to score past Cech.
If this was a major set-back in the race to win the top flight of English football, the Gunners were further humiliated 1-5 in the Champions League at the Emirates at the hands of Bayern Munich, in the second leg of their tie.
A super first half, after which they led 1-0, was turned into an embarrassment eventually, as the north London outfit lost 10-2 on aggregate. This was one of the worse defeats in Champions League history, if not the worst itself.
Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the second half of the second leg, yet, the task in hand was never going to be easy. It was the first leg which messed up things once again and Wenger as always, had no answer.
How can Wenger recover from such a sad showing by his side and lack of consistency and discipline, is one question he can only answer.
Ignore the 5-0 win over Lincoln City in the FA Cup quarter finals, as that was one game, which was as good as a training session of attacking football, with a school-boy defence.
Had we lost that match somehow, the fans would have rioted. Despite that, everyone (including the management and Wenger himself) should by now know that his time at the club is all but over. Hopefully, he makes the right choice!!