“If we do not deliver in one or two years I will be responsible.” – Arsene Wenger 2009
Arsenal fans could be forgiven for assuming the above quotation was Arsène Wenger’s response to a chastening week where the team followed-up a 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea in the manager’s 1000th game with a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Swansea.
In fact, it was delivered in a question and answer session in May 2009 with Arsenal shareholders, worried about the club’s then four-year trophy drought. That was five years ago, and the Gunners face the prospect of a ninth barren season if they fail to overcome Wigan Athletic in next month’s FA Cup semi-final.
Arsenal now find themselves six points behind leaders Chelsea with eight games left to play. When asked how he saw the title race unfolding in the wake of Tuesday’s draw with Swansea, the crestfallen coach admitted: “That is not the biggest worry we have at the moment. We have to look behind us. Of course, as well in front of us, but also behind us.”
Wenger’s response is indicative of their recent form which has brought only three wins in their last nine league games. They are suddenly in danger of surrendering their proud record of 16 consecutive seasons in the Champions League.