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Is it finally time for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger to go their separate ways?

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Arsenal suffered a disastrous defeat at the Emirates stadium against Swansea City in the Premier League, which looks like the nail in the coffin for Arsenal’s title hopes. Possibly the most frustrating part about this defeat is that it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

For the past twelve years, Arsenal have struggled to mount a decent title challenge, and with Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all struggling, this was Arsenal’s best opportunity to win the league. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, the inevitable happened. Their team has begun to fall at the final hurdle, and are once again living up to their label as ‘bottlers’.

Of course the players have to take some of the blame. It is the players who are underperforming, and shockingly look so demotivated, which is almost impossible to understand with how close they were to winning the title this season. However, Arsene Wenger surely has to take the bulk of the blame. It is his job to motivate the players, and mentally prepare them for the title fight. Bearing in mind he has won three league titles, you would expect he would be able to do this effectively. Sadly, this isn’t the case. The players simply lack self belief, and do not give the impression that they have the fight and desire to be the best, but are there any excuses left for this anymore?

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When the Emirates stadium was built, Arsenal fans were promised it would allow them to compete with the best. Of course it would take time to pay off the debt, but the majority of Arsenal fans accepted patience would be required. In the summer of 2013 the benefits of the Emirates stadium were beginning to show, as Arsenal splashed £42.5 million on Mesut Ozil. Many Arsenal fans thought this was the start, the start of a new era…a winning era. Albeit they ended the nine year trophy draught with an FA Cup win, but fans wanted more. The Mesut Ozil signing was then followed up by Alexis Sanchez, which many thought had the potential to be the signing to help carry them to the title. These two signings are evidence of the money Arsenal have available. Yes Arsenal made a fantastic signing in Petr Cech this season, but it was so blatantly obvious that they needed at least two more signings. Typically, Wenger didn’t spend, and that decision may have cost them the league title this season. It is all well and good saying there was no one available, but surely there were players available with more quality than the likes of Mathieu Flamini?

Added to the lack of activity in the transfer market, there also seems to be a lack of creativity when it comes to the tactics. It is Wenger’s stubbornness that seems to be his downfall. It is quite clear that players such as Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud need time out of the side, yet he still insists on playing them, and that seems to be a reoccurring theme, he has too much blind faith in players that are simply not good enough.

There have been many moments in recent years that have suggested a managerial change is needed at the Emirates. However, I don’t recall things being this bad at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. This year was the year for Arsenal. They will not get another season where the trio of United, City and Chelsea underperform, and Wenger knows it. He knew this was his best chance, but once again his side have dropped off and crumbled under the pressure.

There are no excuses for the underperformance of his team this season. Arsenal have a better squad than both Leicester and Tottenham, and on top of this they have more money available to spend. So is it finally time for Arsene Wenger to accept his best years are behind him? Even if Arsenal somehow managed to win the title this season, I fear he would struggle to compete with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City next season.

We cannot forget everything Arsene Wenger has done for Arsenal football club. He brought us the incredible invincible side, but most impressively, he helped the club through their most difficult period with the new stadium being built. Nonetheless, things have simply not been good enough this season and a change is needed.

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