Arsenal ended a five-game winless run on Tuesday night by beating Hull City 4-0 in an FA Cup replay at the KC Stadium.
That result – against a team confident of being in the Premier League next season – provided the Gunners with a much-needed confidence boost, but it merely papered over the cracks, which are wide and deep.
A #WengerOut banner was unveiled in the away end at Hull and, although most Gooners still back their long-serving manager, there are a huge number of fans who feel that it is time for the club part with their manager of 19 years.
The reasons for the wide-spread frustration among the Arsenal-supporting community are clear. The club have well over £100m in the bank, yet Wenger remains reluctant to invest in his squad with the same aggression as Liverpool, Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.
To make matters worse, Arsenal, who have not won the Premier League since 2004, find themselves trailing Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in this season’s title race, while all the usual big-hitters have underperformed.
In simple terms, Gooners feel that they are somewhat entitled to be crowned champions of England this season. With all of their usual rivals nowhere to be seen, it sickens them to think that they could lose out on what should be theirs to Spurs or Leicester – two supposedly ‘smaller clubs’ with significantly inferior financial resources.
It’s easy to sympathise with disgruntled Arsenal fans. Sacking Wenger now makes sense to many neutrals who used to laugh at the seemingly fickle Gooners.
The Gunners need an injection of ambition. They need to install a winning mentality to replace the ‘fourth place keeps us in profit’ mindset.
Arsenal’s problem is that Wenger is more than just a manager. He overseas everything at the club. For years while the club were restricted by their need to pay for their new stadium, Le Professeur worked wonders in balancing the books and maintaining his side’s place in the Champions League year in, year out.
The current formula works for the major shareholders. Wenger is making them money, which is not the norm for investors in football clubs.
Wenger’s outstanding financial control is not the only reason, Arsenal bigwigs are terrified of getting rid.
Arsenal’s board members are hardly ever seen or heard. That’s because Wenger is pretty much the club’s sole spokesperson.
Over 19 years in the Gunners hot-seat, Wenger has taken it upon himself to learn how everything at the club functions. In fact, most of the methods have been put in place by the Frenchman himself.
Wenger’s job is so all-encompassing that it would be impossible for his replacement to tick all the boxes on his job description.
Right now, Wenger runs the club from top to bottom. Arsenal are comfortable on the pitch in that they consistently compete – to an extent – with English football’s elite, while they outperform their rivals in the money stakes.
To get rid of Wenger would be to gamble Arsenal’s safe position. And, as we know, those with wealth are often the least willing to roll the dice.