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Pressure for success at Arsenal

Monday 20th February 2017
Arsenal approach their FA cup 5th round tie with nothing to win and everything to lose, even a comprehensive victory over Non-League giant-killing Sutton United will not change the mood of the gunners faithful.

However, an unthinkable loss will not only draw painful memories of Wrexham but increase the demand to put Wenger's head in the guillotine. Yes, the chances are Wenger can send out any team including a host of U23's and beat Sutton. But the FA cup doesn't always work like that. The old adage, football isn't won on paper it's won on grass takes a new twist , it's actually won on synthetic 3G on Monday night.

20 years in charge and still going, not strong but still going, is a fantastic achievement. Football fans who've watched from the start of the Premier League era will not need a reminder of what he's done for Arsenal and English football. The first half of Wenger's 20 years at theĀ helm have been much successful than the last 10. The invincible's are now a distant memory. SinceĀ moving to the Emirates stadium in the 06/'07 season, Arsenal have won two FA cups.

Yes Arsenal play some delightful football, the majority of fans, neutral or otherwise (excluding Spurs) will sit back and enjoy as Arsenal purr. Fantastic on the eye, the possession football is a cross of Barcelona style tika-taka and Liverpool pass and move at times. "He's too stubborn" is the criticism that's constantly thrown at him. The problem is that Arsenal don't know how to win a game of football when the stakes and pressure is high. The philosophy is an admirable one, go out and play, express yourself, move the ball and play an open game of football. It's just not a successful one. Over the past fiveĀ years, Arsenal have mixed it with the elite of Europe, for periods in those big Champions League games they can match and even have the upper hand over Bayern and Barca. What they can't do is produce it for 90 mins. That's not a criticism because it's very difficult for any side to do. But they can't manage the game and change style and tactics within a game.

Never was this more evident than in the cauldron of noise at the Allianz Arena last week. There aren't many stiffer tests in world football than what is faced in Munich. Arsenal was still Ā in the tie at half-time but the moment it went 2-1 that's when they should have changed mindset. Abandon the free flowing football for the next 15 mins or so, halt the momentum. Bring players behind the ball, break the game up, kick, foul and run the clock down. Head back to the Emirates 2-1 down andĀ it's still very much game on. Arsenal couldn't do that, there was no grit or fight, no sleeves were rolled up. Bayern put their foot to the Londoner's throat and Arsenal predictably crumbled. 5-1 game over. There's always next year.

Is it the manager, is it the players? Well, it starts with the manager, he sets the players mentality. Although the players don't seem up to doing it for themselves but that stems back to the manager bringing in players who aren't good enough to compete at that level.

Are Arsenal happy to finish in the top-four and make it to the last 16 of the Champions League, year in, year out.? If so continue with Wenger at the helm. If they have the desire to try to move out of their comfort zone and take a risk to go to the next level then a change is required. Either in mentality, it's questionable if Arsene Wenger can do that or a change in manager.

That might lead to some ups and downs, just ask Manchester United fans, post-Sir Alex.

With a favourable passage to the semi-final, Ā can the FA cup take the pressure off Wenger again?
Carl Bozeate
Football fanatic, aspiring writer, open for a debate

Total articles: 2

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