It has been a couple of weeks to forget for Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger. After losing to Chelsea and Bayern in what were really poor team performances, the Liverpool game last weekend was a must win for their top 4 hopes. However, Wenger again got his player selection wrong and left his best player, Alexis on the bench and selected Coquelin and Xhaka to play in the middle of the park. As a result, his side was completely overrun in a first half that saw Liverpool score 2 goals while Arsenal created 0 chances. Wenger tried to do damage control and Arsenal were much better after Sanchez came on in the second half, however it was a case of too little, too late.
With the last title win now 13 years ago, it seems the time for Wenger to leave Arsenal has finally come. Here are 3 managers who could replace him.
The Portuguese manager whose high-flying Monaco are currently the highest scoring team in Europe’s top 5 leagues would be the perfect candidate to replace Wenger. The way he has crafted a team, with a great balance of youth and experience is exactly how Arsenal were under the initial years of Wenger’s reign. While his tactics have been more direct than Arsenal are used to playing, he has shown that he can adapt his style in the pursuit of success. In his first 2 seasons at Monaco, both of which he finished in 3rd place in the league, he built a team to play 4-5-1 and give the opponents a hard time. They were boring to watch but they got the results. As time progressed and his ideas fell in place, his team has matured into the 4-4-2 side that we see today. He has shown a good eye to blood young talent which will please the board. Given time at Arsenal, he could lead a rebuilding project without losing out on Champions’ League.
The favorite for the job, reports suggest that he is keen and already has a verbal agreement in place to take up the position, should Wenger step down next season. He is an excellent man manager and task master, akin to his Italian compatriot Antonio Conte, he would bring a ruthlessness to Arsenal that they have lost under Wenger. His public bust-ups with Dybala and Bonucci in recent months show that he will not take any nonsense from his players and is not afraid to drop those who are underperforming. He is also a good tactician. When his Juventus stagnated in their preferred 3-5-2 earlier this season he shifted to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 which saw an upturn in form. He also had good European pedigree, leading Juventus to the final in his first season in charge and only losing out in extra time to eventual semifinalists Bayern Munich in the round of 16. He is also capable of attracting big players to the club which will be needed in case Ozil and Sanchez were to leave.
He replaced Klopp at Signal Iduna Park and has carried on his predecessors work with his team committing bodies forward and pressing their opponents aggressively. These tactics could rub off well on Arsenal who have looked increasingly stagnant in recent times. He also has a knack for stepping up his game against top teams, as suggested by the double header against Real Madrid in the Champions’ League this season. Arsenal, on the other hand, have a dismal record against elite teams and have dropped out of UCL in the round of 16 for 5 consecutive years. They are also last in the top 6 mini table this season. Tuchel’s stock in Germany has dropped recently, his team struggling for consistency and 12 points off the leaders Bayern. There are reports of a behind the scenes fallout and Arsenal would do well to capitalize on this and bring a young, tactically innovative coach with a good record in developing young players to the Emirates next season.