I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here.
Firstly – let me acknowledge the benefits of winning the Europa League (otherwise known as Europe’s Tallest Dwarf Competition).
- Winning a trophy
- Winning a European Competition (albeit a bit of a joke competition)
- Returning to Champions League football
- Reaping rewards of CL football
- Being more attractive to new signings
- Giving Wenger an opportunity to leave on a ‘high’
It’s that last point that bugs me though… You see – if Arsenal does, somehow win the Europa League – I think that Wenger would use that success as leverage to see out the rest of his contract.
I don’t see the owners or the board having the balls to fire him immediately after his first European success. And I certainly don’t see Arsene stepping down of his own accord – as is hinted at in his recent BeIn interview.
So: what we then have to do is weigh up the pros of winning the tournament (as outlined above) against the cons of Wenger staying:
- We have another season of Wenger trying to compete in the Premier League, when the results of this season clearly prove that he is unable to do so on any meaningful level.
- Next season, we would then have to worry about Champions League football – and would not have the luxury of using a second string squad in Europe as we did this year, since the competition is that more intense. Arguably, our task at achieving Top 4 and re-qualifying for CL the year after next would be even tougher.
- We have a number of players who seem reluctant to sign new contracts with the Club should the situation not change.
- The friction between the fans and the manager, the manager and the management/board will be heightened.
- A team that slides to mid-table because of coaching inefficiencies, while ‘competing’ – I use that word loosely: Bayern 10-2 Arsenal is not ‘competing’ – once again in the Champions League would cause even more haemorrhaging of match-day fans, and permanent long-term damage to the club would be inescapable.
Arsenal may have fortified its back-room staff, and there are people ini place to help ensure Arsenal’s future as a business – however there have been NO meaningful improvements in the place where it matters most: on the pitch.
We have changed personnel slightly, sure – but we have key players who are likely to move to greener pastures, we have no tactical stability, our best players are deteriorating rapidly, and more than anything else – Wenger and his coaching staff’s methods are at best, outdated and ineffectual – and at worst, stale and possibly detrimental to the talent that we have in our squad.
If we win the Europa League, we are just subscribing to a year of more suffering. Wenger’s hubris is his blindspot, and our downfall.
Lifting that trophy will just feed his arrogance, and unfortunately I don’t see the Club stepping in to fire him and put us out of his misery.
Paul Hepker (aka invinciblog/batmandela) recently returned to South Africa after a 16-year stint in Hollywood, where he plied his trade as a film and TV composer. He adopted Arsenal in the mid-80′s, and if it doesn’t start behaving soon he’s going to send it to boarding school.
As an ardent Gunner propagandist – he has contributed a number of tongue-in-cheeky images to the Goonerverse – one of which is bound to get him into trouble at some point.