Sunderland 0 Arsenal 0

Arsene Wenger was left pleased as his Arsenal side overcame relegation-threatened Norwich City on a tough afternoon at the Emirates Stadium. Susbtitute Danny Welbeck scored the only goal minutes after coming on during the second half after Arsenal had been left frustrated for much of the game.

At this stage of the season, a clean sheet and a point away from home at a side who are fighting to stave off relegation would be welcomed. In this extraordinary season which saw Arsenal on top of the Premier League in early January, a sequence of poor results and poor form have contrived to see the Gunners arrive at a familiar juncture and that is not what had been expected in a season in which much expectation was heaped on the famous red and white shirts from N7. Fighting for a 19th consecutive Champions League spot is all that remains for Arsene Wenger’s side, an achievement in itself yes, but growing fan unrest has heaped another kind of pressure on Wenger and his players.

Cries of ‘ Wenger Out,’  are beginning to grow louder and ahead of this Saturday’s evening kick off against strugglers Norwich City, fans are being asked to support a walk out after 12 minutes and at 78 minutes, the significance of 12 being the twelve long years since Arsenal last lifted the Premier League trophy.

 

Of course there have been mitigating circumstances to that, with the move from Highbury to the Emirates stadium in July 2006 and its’ financial constraints hampering Wenger’s transfer activity.

 

The days when Arsenal’s network of scouts could unearth a Patrick Vieira or a Emmanuel Petit have long been emulated and successfully copied and in fact the unearthing of newly crowned PFA 2015-16 PWA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, his Leicester City team mates N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy are testament at how some clubs are striking gold in the most unlikeliest of places.

 

Arsenal however were unable to unearth anything at the Stadium of Light. A game which they dominated could not be decided as the Gunners were unable to find a way past former ‘keeper Vito Manonne. Alex Iwobi continues to shine yet his efforts and those of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil would go unrewarded, with the point suiting the home side more that their visitors. Arsenal are now level on 64 points with Manchester City, who have better goal difference than the Gunners. Their meeting at the Etihad stadium on May 7th could have more than just the three points at stake.

 

Wenger later conceded that he is worried for his side’s chances to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but even if the Gunners do qualify, some sections of fans have decided that the club has to go in another direction. Precisely what direction and what that would look like is unclear, and that is the reason why many other fans are still backing Wenger.

 

If Arsenal decide to ask Wenger if he’d be happy for a move upstairs, then some fans argue that Athletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone would be his ideal replacement.The argument for his move is obvious, but the argument against that move is a strong one, given that Chelsea were unable to get Simeone to come to London to replace the sacked Jose Mourinho.

 

In any case, why would Simeone want to come to the Premier League when he has his players at a side – which was forever in the shadows of their great rivals Real Madrid, and to a league which has no winter break, where the weather is not as comfortable as Spain, and to a country where he doesn’t speak the language. Great coach as he is, Simeone would need to be convinced that a move to the Premier League would benefit him. Apart from Simeone, who else would be on the list of those wanting to see Wenger step aside, given that Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are unavailable?

 

Be careful what you wish for? And that is why, in Arsene we must continue to trust. For now.