IN THE space of one half of football, Arsenal’s dilemma over whether to stick with Arsene Wenger or look for a replacement next season became a lot more simple.
As long as the Gunners remained in the FA Cup, it would always have been somewhat difficult to justify moving the Frenchman on – after all, you can hardly sack a manager who’s just won the competition three times in succession.
But the 2-1 defeat to Watford has, in the view of many, ended Arsenal’s season as far as silverware goes.
With a 2-0 deficit to overcome in Barcelona in the Champions League and the Gunners losing their way in the title race over recent weeks, the FA Cup was fast becoming Arsenal’s only hope of salvaging something from a season that just weeks ago had looked so promising.
However, Wenger remains defiant and insists continued speculation over his future and Arsenal’s season unravelling is “a farce”.
Wenger said: “What is going on at the moment is very, very difficult to take for the players but judge us at the end of the season.
“We have come to the end of a very, very long run in the FA Cup, so it is very sad, but we want now to focus on the next game.
“The next game is always a big challenge and you are always in the middle of a drama. It is becoming a farce.
“Arsenal has lost games before in history and we will lose again in the future. We will stick together and cope with it and prepare for the next one with complete belief.”
But Wenger appears to be fighting a losing battle with more and more fans losing faith in him and even former club greats questioning his future.
This week is looming as a pivotal one, not just in Arsenal’s season, but in the future of Wenger at the club.
If the Gunners were to be dumped out of the Champions League then drop points at Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, Wenger’s position may just about be untenable.
Can Arsenal still win the title?
A mid-week trip to Barcelona is next for Arsenal which is then followed by an early Saturday meeting at Goodison Park with Everton.
Bookies can’t split the 2 teams:
Everton 8/5 (2.60)
Draw 12/5 (3.40)
Arsenal 8/5 (2.60)
Prices from Bet365