Has Arsene Wenger lost the dressing room?
What’s happened? Has Arsene Wenger lost the confidence in his squad? Are the manager's players really with him all the way?
In this current situation with the club the answer is yes to both those questions.The Gunners’ finest hour by winning the FA Cup from Premier League champions Chelsea feels a lot longer than three months ago before a dreadful start to the new campaign.
The FA Cup victory, however, can be seen as a cover up to how they really performed throughout last season.
For the first time in Wenger’s reign, they finished outside of the Champions League spots by coming 5th in the table which results them in competing in the Europa League. And last season saw Bayern Munich humiliate the Gunners 10-2 on aggregate in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Throughout that season we saw never ending messages and hashtags from Arsenal supporters saying ‘Wenger out’. It kept cropping up every time the London club suffered a game loss, it got out of hand even a plane flew over the Bet365 Stadium with a 'Wenger Out' banner.
One thing is for sure, the Arsenal manager has lost many fans over the last 12 months. The famous YouTube channel Arsenal Fan TV has plenty of Wenger rant videos on offer.
What are the reasoning’s for Wenger’s darkest days in a managerial position?
Contracts not being renewed
A recurring problem at the club has seen too many key players slip out of Wenger’s hands.
Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, Robin Van Persie to Manchester United, Samir Nasri to Manchester City. Three perfect examples where Arsenal let them go without even a fight to keep them at the Emirates Stadium.
Van Persie was sold to Sir Alex Ferguson for £24 million, less than 12 months before the end of his contract. Months before the Dutchman’s departure, the media speculated a world class striker was at risk of going on a free with no sign of renewing his contract with Arsenal. The club looked to have no choice but to grant their rival’s wish. Van Persie would go on to win the Premier League title with Man United months later.
There is a similar situation taking place at this moment with Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean’s current contract at Arsenal comes to an end on June 30 in 2018 and he looks to not be signing an extension.
Sanchez has proved to be a vital player to Arsenal since joining in the 2014 summer transfer window. 53 goals scored in 103 appearances, lifting the FA Cup twice and has only missed a handful games for the club.
The 28-year-old featured at Anfield on Sunday but with heavy rumours of the Chilean being linked to Manchester City, could that have been his last match for Arsenal?
The 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on the weekend is a new example on a long list of embarrassing results Wenger has had to face.
They also lost by 4 goals at Anfield three years ago ending in a 5-1 defeat after trailing 4-0 in the interval.
When Arsenal achieved the status of being the ‘invincibles’ by winning the 2003/04 Premier League title without conceding a defeat in all 38 games, their club rivals were happy just to pick up a draw but now the terrifying status of a Thierry Henry up front, an organised Patrick Vieira in midfield, a strong defence featuring Sol Campbell and Martin Keown and an award winning goalkeeper Jens Lehmann between the sticks has not seen a stronger squad since.
The big score line defeats of 2-8 to the Red Devils, 3-6 at Man City and 0-6 to arch rivals Chelsea has completely stamped down their mighty status.
In his two decades at Arsenal, Wenger made some impressive signings to go on and win trophies but other additions have been rather disappointing.
Many fans pleaded at the club to spend more money in the transfer market to be able to compete with other European teams for the big names.
Instead the Champions League status until this season did not seem enough to bring in game changing players. It is argued the Frenchman did not take the advantage.
The faces of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil came in after Arsenal went out and spent big money. Both players have proved their worth when they have so much limits in the squad. Arsenal’s latest addition Alexandre Lacazette broke the club’s transfer fee record by agreeing to join at £52 million and already has scored a few in pre-season and a Premier League goal in the opening game against Leicester City.
Once upon a time Wenger had the opportunity to buy Xabi Alonso from Liverpool for £18 million in 2008 but the Gunners balked at the fee and the Spaniard stayed with the Reds.
Instead Wenger brought in the likes of Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh and Andrei Arshavin who were below the line of dreadful despite some were on a cheap or a free transfer.
Next few days
So Wenger is in another crisis period just days before the end of the transfer window. This similar scenario happened in 2011 after losing 8-2 at Old Trafford. Wenger made ‘panic buys’ including Yossi Benayoun, Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker in which neither really made a big influence.
With Sanchez’s future in doubt and time running out for Wenger to improve his side, can the manager be trusted to turn things around?