There are four possible outcomes for the Gunners with the remaining schedule. They are as follows:
-Win the FA Cup
-Finish in the Top Four of the Premier League
-Complete both tasks
-Fall short of both accomplishments
With the season winding down in an unfortunate fashion for Arsenal supporters, many are calling for the removal of Wenger as the clubs manager. At first I was I vehemently against this idea. The longevity of the manager was one of the key reasons I became a U.S. Arsenal Supporter. Likening it to the college dynasties with coaches who stay for decades to the few remaining pro coaches/managers in the pro sports arena, there is something to appreciate about long standing successes under one man. To go through thick and thin with the understanding there will be ups and downs, but the downs never quite hit rock bottom. That being said, there must always be proven improvement or change to move forward over time to prevent stagnation.
As I sat on my couch and watched the last few fixtures to root on my Gunners I watched a team unraveling at a rapid pace. Never have I seen us fall out of so many matches so quickly. With the exception of the Man City and Swansea matches where we came out with a draw, we have been beaten within the first 20 minutes of a match with no desire or fight to strike back. Chelsea and Everton have beaten us like a toddler beats on a toy drum set…painfully and with no regard for those around them.
The defense has been uninspired and the attack has lacked quality. This cannot fall on the shoulders of Giroud and Podolski nor can all of the blame be left to our defenders…although Mertesacker is in my doghouse. The blame must ultimately fall on the managerial leadership of Wenger. I do not know what gets said in at the half, but I rarely see a second half fire that I am used to nor do I see any change in strategy. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If that is true, we must have Wenger committed.
We must ask for either a fresh approach on the pitch whether it be a new formation or strategy or we must begin to ask the question when should Wenger be on his way. I look at the remaining schedule and have decided we must come away with both the FA Cup victory as well as a Top 4 Finish in the table to salvage this season. West Ham, Hull City, Newcastle, West Brom, and Norwich are in the awaiting fixtures. There is no reason we should not expect at minimum wins in four of the remaining five matches. I could even allow for three wins with two draws, but surely no losses. This gives us the fighting chance to finish in the top four without considering the Everton schedule as they nip at the heels of the Gunners.
As far as the FA Cup goes, we face Wigan Athletic this weekend, a team 5th in the second tier. That being said, this squad handed Man City a loss on March 9th. Wenger has publicly come out and shown his favor of this tournament and desire to win so let’s see if he gets out team ready to play a spirited 90+ minutes of football. The other semi final features Hull City and Sheffied both of whom I see as beatable opponents. We will face Hull City prior to the final assuming both teams make it to the FA Cup final which should give us some indication of how we can anticipate playing in the final (again this assumes we advance).
I believe these are not long shot expectations nor are they going to be a cake walk, but with a little effort and strong showings, Wenger and the Gunners should get them done. And if not, then the bell will toll for our longtime manager and rightly so. To fall out of the top four and lose the FA Cup would be a sour ending to a tumultuous final stretch that no fan enjoys. We are not to be the Chicago Cubs of English Premier League Soccer.
Authored by Daniel Bright, who can be reached at @Stlville84 on Twitter. I look forward to following this article with that of excitement and relief to cap off the season with cheers instead of jeers. Go Gunners! LET US RISE!