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Arsene Wenger himself is responsible for his own downfall

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone” – Robin Williams.

Robin Williams certainly didn’t have Arsene Wenger in his mind while making this quote. But inadvertently, the man who became a luminary after his role as John Keating in “Dead Poets Society”, may just have highlighted the quandary that engulfs the Arsenal boss now. The quandary that threatens to tarnish his managerial career at a club where he was appointed 21 years ago. This doesn’t feel good. This isn’t the ending of the movie which the audience desired. But look back at it, and you will slowly comprehend the fact that the man in question is the reason behind his own downfall. Nobody else but the man himself.                                             

Should Wenger have decided against the contract renewal after the FA Cup win?

Glorious opportunities are as scarce as hen’s teeth, and when they are available, they should be taken. On the 27th of May this year, such an opportunity arose for the 67-year-old from Strasbourg in France. Arsenal had just decimated Chelsea in the FA Cup final. The scoreline of 2-1 was a travesty, the gulf between the teams is so colossal that you’d hardly believe that the champions hadn’t qualified for the Champions League and the runner-up was the reigning champion of the English Premier League. The script was perfect, the setting was alluring. All it needed was the actor’s nod. All it needed was for Arsene Wenger to say the final goodbye to the Emirates, hang up his boots, and be revered as a living legend at Arsenal. The second half of his reign wasn’t certainly as illustrious as the first half, but that certainly would not come in his way of permanently embedding his name into Arsenal’s legacy.

London was witness to many Anti-Wenger posters earlier this year

But as has been symptomatic in the last few years, Wenger messed it up. He signed a new two-year contract that would keep him at the club till 2019. Instead of leaving at the crest, the veteran chose to remain at the trough.

Wenger is now leading the club into the abyss of mediocrity. The days of the “Invincibles” have gone into oblivion. Arsenal and Wenger now seem to be on a mission of self-destruction, hurtling towards crisis. Players reject the new deals being offered to them, many of them are currently into the last year of their contracts. And when your two best players are determined to leave, it is an epitome that something deep down the line is wrong. And the sole victim of this ceaseless ordeal are the fans, who travel all the way from North London to Liverpool to see their favorite team being thrashed 4-0. Or travel to Manchester to experience being drubbed 8-2 by a team comprising Welbeck, Evans, Smalling, Anderson, Cleverley, and Young.

Gone are the Invincibles and the present is very bleak

Alexis Sanchez could have been shipped out long ago, and the summer could then have been spent searching for a viable alternative. Instead, Wenger chose to sit back, allowing the situation to drift slowly away from him. Eventually, a deadline day bid of £60million was accepted from Manchester City, only to abandon the deal after the replacement, Thomas Lemar, repudiated a £92million offer.

Why did Wenger start with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain against Liverpool despite the midfielder making it clear that he wished to leave? Why was the £52million striker Alexander Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac, the best left back in the Bundesliga last season, left on the bench? Why was it not Wenger but the goalkeeper Petr Cech who took it upon himself to blast the players for their horrendous performance? Why didn’t Wenger address his problems in the middle of the pitch in the summer despite knowing that Xhaka, Ramsey, Coquelin, and Elneny were hardly EPL class? Why was Gabriel sold to Valencia and Mustafi on the verge of being sold to Inter Milan despite no replacements being secured? No one knows why.

Right in front of Wenger’s eyes was the prime example of Sir. Alex Ferguson, the man who chose to walk away from the scene immediately after delivering the 20th title with Manchester United. Wenger could have trodden the same path. Although winning the FA Cup certainly does not possess the same pedigree as winning the League, it still constitutes one-third of the treble, the same fraction as that of the League. Instead, the Gunner’s boss let the situation slowly drift away from him doing nothing, as he so regularly does these days when his team is on the end of a hiding. You can’t help but feel that the “Wenger Out” banners will re-emerge once again at the Emirates this Saturday.

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain

Everything in life isn’t always meant to end perfectly. Otherwise, Usain Bolt would have capped off his farewell race with another nonchalant victory in the World Championship finals, Leonardo Di Caprio would be alive in the “Titanic” and Sachin Tendulkar would have reached a final hundred in his last test innings for India. But all these persons exited their domains with their heads held high, their heydays being firmly engraved in the public minds. Leaving Arsenal after 21 years might prove to be cumbersome, but it is certainly the right choice. The right choice for Wenger himself, for the club, for the fans, for all parties concerned.  Otherwise, the abhorrence towards Wenger, who was once worshipped as a deity, will continue to augment exponentially. Eventually, Wenger would end up with people who would make him feel alone. Robin William’s worst fears would come true for Arsene Wenger.

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