Well, what an incredible game. First up credit where it is due, Bradford played like a side at least two divisions higher than their current league status.
However, this should have been an easy win for Arsenal, especially given the strength of the team that Wenger put out, and Arsenal really ought to have had this game wrapped up with many minutes to spare.
Incredibly it took 70 minutes before Arsenal got their first shot on target and it wasn’t until the arrival of late substitutes Oxlade Chamberlain and Rosicky that they looked like a team that really wanted to win.
Were Arsenal really that bad though? Carzola and Wilshere both had solid games but the team lack presence in the middle of the park. Also Arsenal’s front line of Podolski, Gervinho and Ramsey were woeful and for much of the game barely threatened Bradford’s defence at all.
So should sports writers now be penning Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal obituary? Not really. It is inconceivable that Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal before the end of the season, even if Arsenal struggle to finish in the top four.
The clamour for the club to look for an alternative approach and a different manager will only grow stronger though. Already BBC Five Live has been inundated with callers suggesting that Arsene gets his P45. It won’t happen though.
Ultimately Wenger is paying the price for not properly replacing his star striker Robin Van Persie. He is also discovering that Gervinho and Podolski are not the players he hoped. A serious injection of new talent in the window could change everything though. The team are still in the Champions League and not too far off the top four in the Premiership.
Arsenal fans should be careful what you wish for. The last time Arsenal changed its manager half way through a season, back in 1995, it took two years for the club to properly recover. And the man who transformed the club then – his name was Arsene Wenger. Whether he has the energy or the vision to take the club further in the long term remains to be seen, but he is not going anywhere in the forseeable future. Wenger has shepherded the club through one of its most successful eras, he deserves at the very least to be able to leave with dignity and at his own choosing.
Update – Wenger told the BBC ‘we put a great deal of effort into the game, but it didn’t work for us. Upfront we were not really incisive and didn’t hurt Bradford enough. ‘ Asked whether he thought it was humiliating for Arsenal Wenger responded ‘It wasn’t humiliating more frustrating, I have to give credit to Bradford.’
Wenger is now 4-1 to get the sack.
By Ashley | December 11th, 2012