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Friday, March 15, 2013

Close shave in Germany won't silence Wenger doubters

Arsenal fans are probably feeling a sense of déjà vu at this point in time after another Champions League campaign ended with a stirring second leg fight back which concluded with them being within touching distance of a famous result. Twelve months ago the Gunners went out to AC Milan after failing to overcome a massive first leg deficit. Fast forward to 2013 and just replace Milan with Bayern Munich as the architects of Arsenal's downfall.

The 2-0 win in Germany will restore some of the pride that has been lost in what has arguably been Arsene Wenger's toughest season in charge of the club. Embarrassing exits at the hands of lower league opposition from both domestic cup competitions, coupled with some inconsistent league form that has put their Champions League place in doubt, has seen Wenger's position at the Emirates Stadium seriously questioned for the first time in his 16-year reign.

A content Arsenal fan is hard to find this season but many will have watched the game with Bayern and ended up feeling more positive about the manager. You might argue he should have thrown caution to the wind earlier in the search of the three goals Arsenal needed to go through, but overall he got his team selection and tactics right.

However, the team's performance and win was quickly forgotten. Within 10 minutes of the full time whistle being blown the national media and columns such as former Gunner Lee Dixon in his 
Lee Dixon Tips articles, had begun trotting out the same lines about whether he should stay and why he hasn't dipped into Arsenal's much talked about war chest.

The truth of the matter is until Wenger can win another trophy with Arsenal the voices of those critics questioning his position will always be heard. The little battles the Frenchman wins, like in Germany on Wednesday, will be quickly forgotten for now. It is the big battles Wenger must now get the better of if he is to realise his dream of forging another all-conquering Arsenal team.