Easter short read: One reason Arsenal are rubbish at the moment

Timing is everything.

That’s a cliche that is actually quite true.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, the timing is all over the place, just like everything else at the club at the moment, when it comes to the question of whether Arsene Wenger will stay or go.

The anti-Wenger bandwagon are right that their club lacks direction and badly needs a shakeup of the kind only a new manager can provide.

A massive problem for the angry Arsenal fans though is that they jumped the gun. When you had smug morning TV presenters baying for Wenger’s head last season – a campaign they finished second in, it was laughable.

As pathetic as Arsenal were against Bayern Munich in the Champions League – a humiliation against Bayern Munich isn’t something the average football fan is going to feel too much empathy for.

Humiliating results now and again are a fact of life for fans of most teams – like getting stuck in traffic on the way back from the stadium or being overcharged for watered-down lager.

I support Reading, for instance, and we just got thrashed 7-1 by Norwich – Norwich! – and it’s still been a really good season.

Arsenal’s problems have spiralled even further in recent weeks. It’s always been clear that Wenger doesn’t spend enough time guiding the players on what to do off-the-ball, or setting up tactics to adapt to opponents’ games.

When their defence is getting torn open time and again by high balls from West Brom and the speed of Crystal Palace’s attack, it’s clear Arsenal need a change.

Before any of this happened though, the Wenger Out ‘movement’ had already become such a sideshow it had lost much of its power to make its point.

Rants, grumbles, banners and anti-Wenger light aircraft have become so expected, an almost permanent backdrop to the club, that they aren’t being linked to the questions that recent shambolic performances are raising.

Then on the other side of the equation, Wenger appears to be waiting for a good time to announce a contract extension.

With the way Arsenal are playing at the moment, he’s in a similar situation to a husband waiting for a good time to announce to his wife that he’s got the babysitter pregnant.

It’s tough to see the Gunners taking more than a couple of unspectacular home wins against lesser teams between now and the end of the season.

Whether a disappointing end to the season – and a finish outside the top four – will be enough for Wenger to take the hint that he’d be doing everyone a favour by taking his coat and leaving, remains to be seen.

It would be a sad way for a legend in football management to go out.

Then again, when it comes to the tricky task of ending managerial spells on a high, timing is everything.

Image courtesy of Ronnie Macdonald via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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