London- Sometimes, there's nobody who has a better perspective about a manager than one of that manager's former players.
London- Sometimes, there’s nobody who has a better perspective about a manager than one of that manager’s former players.
And if that’s the case, then the football world may have just learned some very interesting information about longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Having started with the club in 1996, Wenger has become about as much of a fixture as there is at any one team, not just in the Premier League but in club football anywhere in the world. Yet with the coach now in his mid-60s and Arsenal seemingly mired in a position just below serious title contention, some have begun to question when his tenure may come to an end. And former French star Robert Pires, who scored 84 goals playing under Wenger from 2000 to 2006, has now thrown his own voice into that speculation.
Unlike some impatient Arsenal supporters around the world who are ready to move on to a new era, Pires has suggested that Wenger’s reign will end in triumph. Speaking to French newspapers, he stated that he could see Wenger leaving when he next wins the league. Pires referred to Arsenal’s sensational undefeated title run in 2004, saying that it was the only time he’d ever seen Wenger truly emotional or “touched.” The former player believes Wenger will chase down that feeling of triumph one more time before calling it quits with the Gunners.
This is merely Pires’s opinion, and it wouldn’t necessarily be newsworthy were it not for some of the recent trends we’ve seen in the Premier League. It’s still quite early in the 2016-17 campaign, but looking in on the latest action it’s difficult not to notice that Wenger’s Gunners are on a meaningful hot streak. Tipsters previewing matches for the seventh week of Premier League contests put it best in stating that Arsenal is brimming with confidence after four straight wins, and has scored 13 goals in four outings. That’s all heading into a match with Burnley, a squad that appears likely to be relegated, meaning that the Gunners’ recent run of success should continue.
This hot streak hasn’t put Arsenal at the top of the Premier League tables just yet—that spot belongs to Manchester City—but there is something that, to EPL observers, feels a little bit different this time. Perhaps it’s that Arsenal handily defeated London rival Chelsea, the club against which it struggles more than any other league opponent. Perhaps it’s simply the confidence you can see when you watch the Gunners play. Or maybe it’s the sense that in Wenger’s 20th season in London, the club might be up to something special.
Whatever the case, Arsenal contention for the Premier League title is beginning to look like a very real possibility as this season progresses. And with the words of Robert Pires in mind, that means that we could suddenly be witnessing the final season for Wenger at the Emirates. We’ll just have to see if his team can keep up the good work and if in fact another chance to hoist the title feels like a fitting farewell to the manager.