14 Mar ‘Barca win would only paper over the cracks’
A leading Arsenal fans’ group believes even a Champions League comeback victory over Barcelona would only be papering over the cracks of a season which appears set to end in bitter disappointment.
Arsene Wenger, who has been in charge since October 1996, labelled continued questions over his future and Arsenal’s unravelling campaign as “a farce” after the quest for a third successive FA Cup ended on Sunday with defeat by Watford.
The Gunners, eight points behind Premier League leaders Leicester with nine games to play, play Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday bidding to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals.
But even a win over the reigning champions in Spain would only temporarily lift the mood of those Arsenal supporters calling for fundamental change this summer.
Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association chair Lois Langton told Press Association Sport: “(Victory over Barcelona) would be papering over the cracks. There are some fundamental issues which need to be addressed within the set-up of the team and the management.
“We can’t keep pretending that everything is okay. Arsene has given us some wonderful memories and he has changed the way Arsenal Football Club plays football, and English football, for the better.
“It was a golden opportunity for us this season to have a real go at the league and in the cup, to get three consecutive cup wins. Somehow we seem to have let one of those opportunities – and quite likely both of those opportunities – slip away.
“We’re having a difficult spell and we need to try to salvage some pride before the end of the season.
“If we have too much baying for blood at this stage of the season, that’s not going to help us. When we get to the end of the season, the club as a whole does need to ask itself some serious questions, because something clearly isn’t working out.”
Arsenal have missed out on two possible successors to Wenger after Jurgen Klopp joined Liverpool and Pep Guardiola signed for Manchester City, but now supporters say the Frenchman, who has been in charge for 19 years, must ensure his succession is well-planned.
“All Arsenal supporters would like to think that Arsene Wenger would know the moment to pass the baton on gracefully, so he can leave on a positive note without being asked to leave,” Langton added.
“Having that transition, with him passing the club on to the right person, and knowing when the right person is available, that’s what he should be looking to achieve (now).”