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[OPINION] Wenger’s career is living long enough to become a villain

Arsene Wenger is arguably one of the greatest managers to ever grace the sidelines of a football pitch, and being the manager of Arsenal for more than 20 years, the Frenchman has proved his worth.

Who would have thought that the manager who was the mastermind behind ‘The Invincibles’ would be the same man that would be jeered off on a cold Thursday night - in his backyard nonetheless?

The chances of The Emirates being filled to capacity was the same as video assistant referee system not making any errors.

The last time Wenger received the ‘manager of the month’ award was in October of 2015 - before Donald Trump was in the White House.

The only way this season can have any sort of success is if he can, somehow, lead his team to Europa League victory and the subsequent Champions League qualification rounds for next season.

The #WengerOut brigade was on and off over the last few seasons, mainly due to early-season, Champions League exits, FA Cup success and consistent top four finishes. Things seem to be changing with Tottenham Hotspur becoming the powerhouses in north London.

All of this, in my opinion, does not compare to the performance and attendance at The Emirates on Thursday evening.

The official attendance that was released by Arsenal was 58,420 attendees. I don’t doubt for a second that there were no more than 30,000 fans in the stadium. Logistical issues couldn’t have been an issue as the Manchester City fans’ section was packed to the rafters.

The lack of faith in Wenger, by the fans, speaks volumes. On the touchline, Wenger often seems inanimate and subdued; and with the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte on the touchline, Wenger seems impassionate to the performance of his team.

Wenger is keeping the financials for the club in the black, which is admirable from a business perspective. However, football is about passion, fight and winning trophies. Something which seems to have escaped Arsenal - and their manager - a good few years ago.

Pressure on Wenger increased exponentially when the club finished fifth in the 2016/17 season. Winning the FA Cup seems to have saved the season, but perhaps that was the best time for the Frenchman to bow out and let somebody else take the reins.

Unfortunately, it seems that Wenger’s legacy as Arsenal manager is moving away from being a legend on the touchline who took his team to the team. It is now going in a direction where if he was to leave the club tomorrow, the sentiment may be one of relief – and perhaps celebration.

By not choosing to leave in 2017 – as it was so aptly put in The Dark Knight - his career has not died a legend, but perhaps it is living long enough to see itself becoming a villain.

Ahmed Kajee is an intern at Eyewitness News.

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