Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 02:30 AM


And so, just like that, the Premier League season has concluded.

With the league title already decided, and Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull all heading for the Championship, there was precious little left for most teams to play for; pride aside.

But for Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, there was the small matter of Champions League football to strive for.

All three teams did everything that they could, winning their final game – but for one, it was not enough.

Despite beating Everton 3-1, Arsenal could only finish in fifth place, with Manchester City and Liverpool both winning their final fixtures.

The results confirm something that many of us have been predicting for quite some time – for the first time in 20 years, Arsenal will not be in the Champions League next season.

“A hostile environment”

Arsene Wenger was – unsurprisingly – downbeat as he spoke to the press following his side’s win, and blamed Arsenal’s fifth-place finish on what he called “a hostile environment” in the second half of the season.

One supposes that the Frenchman is referring to many of the club’s fans and ex-players suggesting that it is time for Wenger to move on, and the growing frustration with Arsenal’s underperformance.

And if that is the case, then Wenger really doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

Arsenal fans have been patient. Very patient, in fact – and some might argue that they are right to have been.

After all, the Gunners have enjoyed some serious success under Wenger, the kind of success that breeds loyalty and buys you time at a club.

But does that level of success give you a lifetime pass?

Not if you’re at Manchester United, or Arsenal, or Chelsea, or Man City, or Barcelona, or Real Madrid, or Juventus, or Inter Milan, or AC Milan, or Bayern Munich, or PSG, or Liverpool.

Not at any other big club in Europe would the fans have put up with such blatant underachievement for so long.

Look at United: Fergie left, Moyes came in, failed and got sacked. Van Gaal came in, same story.

Wenger may have earned the fans’ loyalty in the past, but his preordained right to the Arsenal job expired long ago.

It has been so long since Arsenal won the league that one must question whether Wenger still knows how to win it.

True world-class managers win things at least every two years. Wenger has only delivered two FA Cups in the last decade.

That is not enough to save him, nor should it be.

Arsenal should take this opportunity to thank the Frenchman for his services, allow him to retire or move him upstairs, because if he retains his job after such a significant failure, the club becomes a laughing stock.

Plus, the likelihood of him turning this around becomes less and less likely with each year that passes.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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