FA Cup: a life line for Wenger?

27 May 2017

On Saturday Arsenal and Chelsea will play the FA Cup and will finish this football season. Whether this match should be taken into account as a life line for Arsène Wenger?

FA Cup: a life line for Wenger?

This season became the worst in Arsène Wenger's career. And we are not even speaking about the fact that Arsenal for the first time of the French expert’s work was left without the Champions League, having taken only the fifth line in the Premier League. Wenger has experienced a great pressure during the last football year. At some point it seemed that nothing will save him. The gunners were destroyed in derby against Crystal Palace, fans cried out: "You aren't worthy to wear Arsenal’s t-shirts, and the campaign WengerOut has been increasing worldwide. But Londoners have given quite decent ending of the championship and all this sensation has ceased.

Will the FA Cup final become decisive for Arsène Wenger? There is a feeling that no. It is unlikely that Arsenal will be criticized severely in case of defeat. After all Antonio Conte's team is really good this season and has not so many weak points, as gunners have. And, of course, the problems in the defensive line are obvious. Last interview that was given by Wenger didn't give a definite answer on a question whether he will stay in club, but at the same time the words of the Frenchman suggest that the bosses of the club will leave him for at least one year. And Alisher Usmonov’s attempts to buy back the majority interest of Arsenal from Stan Kroenke are hinting at the fact that the owners won’t be dealing now with any changes in the coaching staff.

After Sir Alexander Ferguson has left the club Arsène Wenger is now the last coach of the Premier league who is dealing with all football issues in the club. They say that in order to decrease the pressure and responsibility of the Frenchman in Arsenal there can appear the position of the sports director. Nevertheless, Wenger has declared recently that he will control all football issues while he is working in the club.

Arsène Wenger's career

Why can the victory in the FA Cup reduce the pressure upon Wenger? Firstly, Arsenal will win the third national cup for the last four years. For this period any English team didn't win more trophies than Arsenal. Secondly, the victory over Chelsea will emphasize the fact that football players are still susceptible to Arsen's ideas and are ready to stand up for the coach. Thirdly, the end of the unsuccessful season can restore a normal microclimate in team. Perhaps, the victory will resolve the situation with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchеz concerning the renewal of their contracts, and also will influence favorably on the opportunities of Arsenal during the summer transfer market. Potential beginners will understand that Wenger is still capable to lead his team to victories.

Why can’t the victory in the FA Cup reduce the pressure upon Wenger? Firstly, the national cup can't be considered as litmus piece of paper. Arsenal won this trophy in 2014 and 2015 but these successful matches didn't presuppose any progress. Secondly, nothing can overlap the result of last championship. The gunners won only two out of ten matches against opponents from top 6. It is difficult to Arsène Wenger to compete with coaches of the level of Conte and Guardiola. Thirdly, the victory in the FA Cup won't cancel the fact that Arsenal desperately needs the new ideas. As the years go by Londoners are moving away from the Premier League and success at the international level. Defeats from Bayern with the score 2:10 by the sum of two meetings in 1/8 Champions League finals demonstrated today's difference between Arsenal and the best teams of the continent.

In fact, the FA Cup final doesn't define Arsène Wenger's destiny. But, perhaps, the winning of a trophy will become an important argument in the final decision of Arsenal bosses. And therefore the French coach needs to cling to this life line.

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