Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Wenger must tell Arsenal fans that he's quitting at end of season

Bayern's Toni Kroos (centre) celebrates his opener
Bayern's Toni Kroos (centre) celebrates his opener

Maybe it would be best to make the announcement sooner rather than later. Ease the pain for all concerned, because it's almost unbearable now.

This really can't go on much longer.

It was once the most magical love affair – full of joy, fun and excitement.

Now every date seems to be full of anger, bitterness and disappointment.

You fear the longer it goes on most of those good times will be forgotten because the relationship has become so bad.

Arsene Wenger is Arsenal's finest ever manager and one of the best English football has ever seen.

You could argue that he, even more so than Sir Alex Ferguson, helped take Premier League football to a new level which inspired English clubs to dominate Europe for a few years.

He's always been in control before, but now the Frenchman labelled Arsene Who? when he arrived in north London all those years ago is beginning to look like a tortured soul, wondering why the fans that adored him appear to have lost faith.

In Arsene they trust?

The numbers are decreasing by the day.

Last night Arsenal were humbled at the Emirates in the first leg of a last 16 Champions League tie by Bayern Munich and all but knocked out of the competition.

Losing 3-1 to what is a classy German outfit, fiercely determined to right the wrongs of last season's tournament, when they lost the final to Chelsea in their own backyard, was in truth not a disgrace.

It wasn't that much of a surprise either and therein lies the problem for Arsenal fans who are starting to turn against the best manager they have ever had.

After the chorus of boos that followed the weekend FA Cup exit at home to Blackburn, there were more at half-time last night with the visitors leading 2-0. At the final whistle there was little of anything really.

Gooners look at their side now and wince when comparing it to the great teams Wenger built in the past like the double winners, the Invincibles and the sides that used to scare the heck out of Fergie.

They are a pale shadow and the issue here is that many supporters believe Wenger let it happen.

His curious pre-match press conference told a tale of increasing pressure and a man on the edge.

It shouldn't be this way. This is Arsene Wenger.

That's why the clever thing is surely for him to call it quits at the end of the campaign and tell everyone he is doing it in the near future, so that the last few months of his reign can be a celebration of what he has achieved rather than resentment tumbling down from the stands making his position virtually untenable anyway.

Perhaps Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes, being shoved out in the summer to make room for Pep Guardiola, could replace the Frenchman at the Emirates Stadium.

Munich were masterful last night, taking control early on with goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller.

Bayern old boy Lukas Podolski may have pulled one back but late on Mario Mandzukic gave the scoreline a more accurate reflection of the match.

Bayern are the best team to have played in England this season.

Nobody, not even Barcelona, will want to meet them in the quarter-finals.

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