Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: Wenger Out crowd grows strong after another 5-1 Arsenal loss to Bayern

Yesterday's Scores
UEFA Champions League
Napoli 1-3 Real Madrid (2-6 on aggregate)
(Mertens 24')-(Ramos 51', 57', Morata 90+1')

Arsenal 1-5 Bayern Munich (2-10 on aggregate)
(Walcott 20')-(Lewandowski PK 55', Robben 68', Costa 78', Vidal 80', 85')

Embarrassing is the one word that comes to mind with this Arsenal performance. Losing 5-1 on the road against Bayern Munich is one thing, but doing it again at home is another. They had an energetic first half, too. They were up 1-0 and controlling play. They didn't look like winning 4-0, but at least they looked like they were trying. Then Laurent Koscielny committed an obvious penalty and was sent off, albeit unjustly. Robert Lewandowski scored the PK and the Gunners just stopped after that. They lost their sense of competitiveness and just laid down for the final 35 minutes before getting thrashed by another 5-1 score.

The cries of the Wenger Out crowd have only grown louder. What was once a small, but vocal, set of Arsenal fans is now a raging mob that swells in numbers every day. Although you won't find me taking to the streets to protest, I am now firmly on their side. Arsene Wenger has lost the team. Nobody, least of all Alexis Sanchez, wants to play for him anymore. If a change does not come over the summer it will only get worse. In fact, if this run of depressing form continues throughout the Premier League, a case can be made for him to be sacked mid season.

I doubt the Arsenal board will do that, however. Wenger has been a faithful and productive manager for two decades. He has won trophies, led them to the Champions League every season he's been there, and overall been a legend at a club with plenty. He deserves a graceful exit, but if things keep going the way they are, he won't get one.

While we are at the Emirates Stadium, let's talk a little bit about Bayern Munich fans protesting Arsenal's high away ticket prices. At the beginning of the game they held a banner that read "Without fans football is not worth a penny" and threw gobs and gobs of toiler paper on the pitch. Aside from the fact that carpeting their end of the field in toilet paper is classless and could result in discipline for their club, isn't their protest a little hollow? I mean, they already shelled out the money to travel to the match and attend in person. Wouldn't it have meant more if the away stands were empty instead of packed to the gills with raucous Germans? Why should Arsenal's (or any other club's) board reduce ticket prices when people still buy them and show up to the stadium in droves?

Munich's protest would have been more effective had they simply not left their homes and allowed the away stands to sit empty for the big match. It's not as if anyone had a figurative gun to their heads forcing them to show up. If your message touts football without fans being the natural result of high ticket prices, make a more emphatic statement and give the clubs just that. Only then will they listen.

Headlines
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted the three game ban for elbowing Tyrone Mings in retaliation for a cleat to the face. He will have to sit and watch the FA Cup quarterfinal against Chelsea and Premier League matches against Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion. Bournemouth, on the other hand, are appealing the charge for Mings, who faces a potentially longer suspension.

Craig Shakespeare, who has won both his matches as Leicester City's interim manager, has been offered the gig full time. Should he accept, it would be his first ever managing job. He had been Raineri's assistant manager before the Italian was dismissed a couple weeks ago.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League
Barcelona v. Paris-Saint Germain- 2:45pm, FS1, ESPN Deportes
Borussia Dortmund v. Benfica- 2:45pm- FS2

Premier League
Manchester City v. Stoke City- 3pm- NBCSN

La Liga
Deportivo La Coruna v. Real Betis- 12:45pm

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