#360debate: Time for Wenger to leave Arsenal?

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Troubled times: Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United has once again called into question the future of Arsene Wenger.

November isn't over and Arsenal are well off the pace in the title race, heaping pressure on Arsene Wenger. 

Our #360debate today is: Time for Arsene Wenger to go?

Martyn Thomas, Reporter, thinks YES

It was telling that the boos that greeted Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United on Saturday night were no longer a surprise.

Jeers could be heard at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium prior to the international break, and were also audible as Anderlecht came back from 3-0 down at the Emirates in the Champions League.

Large sections of the Gunners faithful have become exacerbated by a team that has equal potential to self-destruct as it does to dazzle.

Ultimately Arsene Wenger must carry the can for his side’s deficiencies, and although this is said with something of a heavy heart, the time has come for him to walk away from the club.

That is not to say he should be imm-ediately removed. What he has done for Arsenal, and English football, deserves respect and he should be able to pick his own exit date. But what has become patently obvious is that his view of the game has become increasingly inflexible, and his philosophy is simply no longer successful.

Jose Mourinho infamously referred to Wenger as a “specialist in failure” last season, and while that is grossly unfair it is his own stubbornness that has contributed to Arsenal’s mal-aise. The Frenchman has steadfastly refused to buy an out-and-out defensive midfielder while the back four has also been woefully under sourced.

It is an overused expression in the British game but the Gunners lack leaders, and in key positions their team is often found wanting. The window dressing remains impressive, but Arsenal’s ability to challenge for the Premier League title has diminished every year since they won it unbeaten in 2004.

From the glory days of Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, the Gunners now have a spine of Wojciech Szczesny, Per Metersacker, Mikel Arteta and Danny Welbeck.

It does not take an expert to tell you the latter does not win league championships. Were Wenger to be given another season in charge could he be relied upon to rectify the problems facing his squad? The last decade would suggest not.

Alam Khan, Reporter, thinks NO

It may not be easy for Arsenal fans to accept they are a distant third behind Chelsea and Manchester City in the domestic rankings, but it is unfair to blame Arsene Wenger entirely for that.

Since they last won the Premier League title a decade ago, those two teams have spent significant sums on improving their squads to turn them into champions.

Arsenal have, in turn, lost so many of their key players, not only inspired matchwinners like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp or Robin van Persie, but the industrious ones such as Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas and even Gilberto Silva.

They have not had the resources to replace them and compete against Chelsea, City and even Manchester United.

The expensive purchases of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have seen a shift in mindset, but the gap has not been easy to close and it could be another couple of years before Arsenal benefit as Financial Fair Play begins to have a greater effect and restricts the big spenders.

And that is why the Gunners fans need to support Wenger rather than turn against arguably their finest-ever manager. Their expectations should be more realistic and the target should be the top four and a cup, not the title.

With the break-up of his great 2004 side, Wenger has had to regroup and reshape and revive Arsenal. He has done that with a limited budget, and turned to youth.

There is hope that the current contingent, English players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Callum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, will develop and thrive together. Of course there is room for improvement and areas, notably defensive, which Wenger needs to address in January.

Managerial change is rarely the answer to a club’s problems and 17 successive seasons in the Champions League – essential to surviving among the elite – in his 18 years should serve as a testament to Wenger’s qualities. Wenger has proved he is a fighter and he will relish another scrap and the challenge of proving the doubters wrong. He has to stay.

What is your opinion? Leave your comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #360debate.

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