Arsenal are a “fading force” and must part ways with iconic manager Arsene Wenger – although they might lack the backbone to make such a decision, the Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter said.
Wenger’s men slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday evening at the Emirates, leaving them 15 points off table-toppers Chelsea.
Winter believes that Arsenal’s struggles against elite opposition are nothing new but the focus has now shifted onto the suitability of their manager.
“The discussion now has moved clearly onto Wenger,” he told Sunday Supplement. “They have a huge decision to make on Wenger but I think it’s a decision that should be made at the end of the season.
“I really think this is his last season, I think the mistakes keep on getting made. Wenger isn’t learning. He isn’t changing that defence, there isn’t a plan B. He’s buying individuals who are technically good but they aren’t necessarily the Patrick Vieira-types, the battlers in midfield, to win them major honours. He can string a set of results together to win the FA Cup, but not in the long haul of the Champions League and Premier League.
“The problem Arsenal has is a lack of leadership throughout the club – from the dressing room to the dugout to the board-room. Are the board-room going to be strong enough to get stuck into Wenger? I don’t think so, because Wenger effectively appointed Ivan Gazidis who is the man to make the decision. So there is a cultural problem right through the heart of Arsenal.
“The only way it’s solved is if Wenger himself thinks ‘enough is enough’ and he walks away.
“Who’s up next? Borussia Dortmund and Jurgen Klopp – so there are alternatives to Wenger out there.
“He cannot stay in the building. Look at Manchester United – Sir Alex Ferguson’s shadow is still there and that was a problem for David Moyes. Wenger has to move on if they bring someone else in.
“They are fading, they’re a fading force.”
The Sunday Mirror’s Andy Dunn believes Wenger is suffering after failing to deal with relatively straightforward problems.
He said: “He’s been well and truly left behind. It’s stubbornness to a certain extent. The problems aren’t so complicated. Look at the goal [against United] – people have known that Wojciech Szczesny is not the world-class goalkeeper that Arsenal need. He’s been responsible for too many goals, made too mistakes, and Wenger has never addressed that – he’s never had serious competition in the goalkeeping department.
“I thought the signing of Danny Welbeck was interesting. To me, he’s not a Wenger-type player, it smacked a little bit of desperation.
“There was a poignant moment when Wayne Rooney inevitably broke away and scored the second, you knew it was coming, and Wenger just stared blankly into the distance and a couple of fans had a go at him. You thought at that moment ‘there’s a guy who’s run out of ideas’.”