Arsenal enter tomorrow’s FA Cup final in a bit of a mess, as it’s not clear what Gunners side we’re set to witness at the start of next season.
Whilst it’s more than likely Arsene Wenger will extend his contract, the general consensus from the fans is that it’s not what they want and the wealth of uncertainty hovers above North London this summer- with Wenger, key players and the board potentially set for exits.
The Gunners endured a sub-par Premier League campaign, finishing outside of the top-four for the first time in over two decades, and were on the receiving end of a drubbing from Bayern Munich in the Champions League- losing 10-2 on aggregate.
Tomorrow’s FA Cup final won’t heal those wounds but winning the trophy is a crucial step for Arsenal’s rejuvenation, whereas defeat could make their difficult task this summer all the more daunting.
Should Arsenal win tomorrow, they can consider the campaign as partly successful and the fact they’re winning honours will help them keep the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at the club, as well as helping lure big-names in from elsewhere.
If they were to lose, as many expect, then it could be the final straw for players like Alexis and Ozil, as well as giving the Gunners a battle in their quest to lure potential targets to the Emirates Stadium. Crucially though, it would set-up a poisonous atmosphere around North London.
Failure to win tomorrow would be the latest frustration for Arsenal fans with Arsene Wenger and it would be difficult to spin any sort of positive out of the campaign to justify handing the long-serving Frenchman a fresh deal- so Arsenal are drawing a huge target on their back.
Lift the FA Cup and Wenger maybe, just maybe, be able to save some grace and have some support from the fanbase or, equally, it may allow him to walk away with his head held high after securing yet more success to cap off his fantastic tenure in charge of the Gunners.
Without FA Cup victory and a top-four finish, it would be extremely difficult for Arsenal to justify handing Arsene Wenger a contract extension and the club would be a time bomb, which would be set off at any stage next season when the Gunners endure a blip in form.
Arsenal’s backs are against the walls as they face a huge test to compete with the financial might of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City and, in truth, it’s going to take the Gunners a long time to ever be considered the favourites for Premier League glory once again.
The glory years of Arsenal are a long way gone and any chance of salvaging a decent future in the coming years hangs in the balance ahead of tomorrow’s clash, as the Gunners will find it extremely difficult to keep key players and attract big names without being able to boast a trophy in their locker.