We’ve seen it so many times for a number of years: Arsenal lose a big match, Arsene Wenger offers (or doesn’t) a weak explanation and excuse after the match and doubts about his future at the club are raised. Losers or not, it was one humiliating afternoon for the gunners, although they didn’t get much help from a terrible decision by Andre Marriner, putting another nail in any kind of respect or hope someone still has in referees and their decision making.
It’s the third huge defeat for Arsenal against a championship rival this season. They’ve lost 6-3 to Manchester City, 5-0 to Liverpool and now 6-0 to Chelsea. Wenger admitted it was his toughest moment as an Arsenal manager. Yes, worse than that 8-2 afternoon walloping at the Old Trafford just under three years ago. Playing with 10 men for most of the match wasn’t an excuse, but it wasn’t something that helped digest the humiliation either.
Nothing Marriner and his assistants can say will erase that embarrassing moment in which they sent off the wrong player. Some have tried to make it seem like a racist incident in some way or another, but it’s simple mistaken identity. It doesn’t make it alright, and we’d love this to be yet another moment which pushes FIFA and others to change the way referees resolve complicated situations. Instead of mumbling about and waiting for some divine intervention to give them the right answer, simply have someone watching a screen, with a replay to help them out.
With Arsenal now out of the championship race, it’s fair to say we’ve once again seen no change from Wenger. Yes, he spent money on Mesut Ozil, but the momentum from that expenditure died out after a few months. It’ll probably be another Champions League berth and an early exit from the Champions League. Maybe the FA Cup to give the cabinet trophy, finally, a new member, but it won’t shake the feeling of disappointment from this season.
It might give Wenger a new breath of life to his long list of excuses and twisted explanations about how all this time hasn’t been a failure, or disappointment. He’s been hanging on to straws for years – all the early UCL exits, all those 3rd-4th place finishes without really putting a dent in the title race in the final weeks of the season. A trophy will be almost like pressing the refresh button, hiding everything that’s gone wrong and he hasn’t been able to fix.
Not for the first time, Jose Mourinho had a moment of elation against Arsene Wenger. He has humiliate him in the public retorts and now can move on to bully other managers who dare speak against him. Arsenal have proven in most of their big matches this season, and even against a bad team like Manchester United, that they aren’t a great team. Does it really make a difference anymore? Arsene Wenger has been coasting on the genius label for years, without anything to prove for it. It’s interesting to see if another low moment in his career will mean it’ll actually be time for him to go.