Arsenal under Wenger defeated West ham United 4-1 on Sunday, but it wasn’t comfortable at all for the gunners and they left it late to bag all the 3 points.
But it looked like the manager was left with mixed feelings during his post match conference as he had to face questions about his decision to step down as Arsenal manager. He applauded the way Arsenal played in the game and said to the press:
“I liked the game because we needed to be patient. I told the players at half-time if we keep discipline we will find space. That’s what we did in the second half.”
But when asked about his decision, the pain was visible. Wenger told the reporters:
“Look, I’m not resentful and I do not want to make stupid headlines. I’m not resentful with the fans. That’s what I want to say. It’s nothing to do with the fans. The fans were not happy, I can understand that and I have to live with that, I have to accept that.”
He chose not to reply on questions dealing with the major factor in his decision and why exactly this happened all of a sudden, when he had always respected his contracts in the past. It is visible that he is hurt by the negativity that surrounded him in the past few months. We have seen banners, flying planes, empty stadiums while the season progressed and it looked like the manager was affected by all these, and how damaging it was for a club he has cared for so much.
Arsenal currently sit sixth in the Premier League table which is not well digested by the Gooners fans and rightly so. Arsenal have been poor this season and their disastrous away record is one of the factors, be it the poor run of results, fans losing faith in the team, protests all around. All of these took a toll on Wenger and he decided to step down.
The Frenchman has done a lot for the club in the last 20 odd years and deserves to be respected worldwide, but even he knew that the more he stays, the damaging it will be for him and the club. We can understand fan’s frustration towards him but you cannot simply hate the guy for nothing. Arsenal, what it is today, is only because of him. He started the development, connected all the dots and made sure that the club flourished.
Today, the club is respected worldwide as a whole. But all good stories must have an ending and this story is just about to reach its conclusion.
I personally believe this was the right moment for him to call it a day, considering all the scenarios. This gives a perfect platform to the person who will take over as the boss at the end of season, which itself is a headache for the Arsenal officials. There are plenty of candidates around who can fill the hot seat, but after 22 long years, it requires the perfect appointment, taking care that the Manchester United case is not repeated.
Time will tell, but as long as Wenger is here, the team needs to deliver for him and deliver big time. Winning the Europa league would be the perfect send off for him, and it will also put Arsenal right up there with the Big Boys again so that in the near future, when Wenger sees it all from the stands on a Saturday, sporting an Arsenal Jersey, he can wear a smile of contentment and joy.