The end of the 2017/18 Premier League ceremoniously brings an end to Arsene Wenger’s sparkling career at Arsenal. During his 707th win on Sunday, the entire Huddersfield stadium erupted in applause during the 22nd minute in tribute of 22 magnificent years. Over the last few seasons, many Arsenal fans have called for Arsene’s head, while others clutched to the promise of stability the Frenchman’s steady hands provided.
But he shouldn’t be leaving! After all, look what happened to Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson left, right?
It has been half a decade since the Scot left his Old Trafford perch, and the club still finds itself in a state of transition. What does the future look like for Arsenal football club in the following month and years? Will the climb back to success be drawn out like Manchester United’s, or is this a completely different scenario altogether?
I suspect, that although Wenger and Ferguson spent over two decades at their clubs, the conditions of their leaving will produce different results. Let’s analyze the scenarios:
Let’s face it, they are the best team in Premier League history. During Ferguson’s 21 years managing Manchester United in the Premier League he won the league 13 times, came second five times and finished third only three times, never finishing outside of the top three. Success and Sir Alex went hand in hand. The standard had been set after his retirement.
It didn’t matter who came in after Ferguson, it was never going to be the same. Not right off the bat at least. Although filled with some of the league’s most decorated players, the squad David Moyes inherited was collapsing. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Dimitar Berbatov, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. These warriors wore the United badge with pride but weren’t the same players they weren’t only a few seasons before.
This transition was the same as a titan handing a shattered sword to a young inexperienced soldier. With the bar set sky high, and limited resources at his disposal, it was unrealistic to think Moyes would win the league during his first season at United’s helm.
Let me preface this by saying Arsenal have been one of the best teams in the Premier League as well. Nobody is doubting that. But the last time Arsenal lifted the cup was 15 years ago and have only finished in the top three seven times since then. The fear Arsenal evoked in opponents during the early 2000s hasn’t been seen for a while. The standard has dropped. Whoever takes charge of Wenger’s throne will not be expected to win the league in his first season. He will be given time.
Additionally, the squad Arsene Wenger is leaving looks decent compared to that of a 2013 Manchester United. It’s true, this side is quite some ways away from winning the title, but while there are some obviously glaring areas for improvement, the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan coming to the club will certainly make a big difference. With players like Ozil and Koscielny still lurking around Emirates Stadium, the club is not quite in need of a complete rebuild.
Whoever the new manager is will have a challenge, sure, but his job will be nowhere near as tough as Moyes’ back in 2013/14. With low expectations and a handful of fresh recruits, this team is much more prepared for the transition.
So, at the end of the day, Arsenal fans should be excited, as most of them probably are. The Gunners won’t win the title next year, but luckily for the new manager, nobody expects them to. Whoever it comes in will have the luxury of adequacy. He will walk into the Arsenal Training Ground with the freedom to take risks. Regardless of who Ivan Gazidis chooses, Arsenal will be a team to watch next season.