By 90Min
January 18, 2018

The past five seasons in North London for Arsenal fans have been seemingly punctuated by a fog around the Emirates Stadium more commonly thought of by the Gunners' fans as 'Groundhog Day'.

But Bill Murray himself would have to go some to repeat the vitriolic flavour of this particular campaign. Whilst the Alexis Sanchez saga appears to be almost at an end after a torturous nine month tug-of-war for the Chilean's services, the forward now appears destined to bring to an end three-and-a-half years under the Arsenal umbrella, but with his final destination still unknown.  

As the club who in recent years had been the bedrock for footballing revolution in the new millennium under Arsene Wenger, the Gunners struggle to adapt to new situations, with innovation in N5 at an absolute premium - if at all.

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Amongst it all perhaps remarkably Wenger still has undeniable clout in recruiting players, but slowly and finally the facade is beginning to fade like a cheap oil painting.


The battle this season however is not just to maintain top-four status, but now the almost apocalyptic scenario of a less than atop-six is a very real prospect. Even with the rather brutal falling out with Sanchez now close to being resolved, Arsenal are in a far worse state than any panic Phil Connors might have suffered in the same movie in question.

With the inevitable departure of Sanchez must now come some other tougher questions not least for the future of Wenger, as supposedly the man to guide the Gunners forward. 

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The one particular elephant in the room of the progress of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain under new guidance makes the subject the more difficult for the three-time league-winning French steward to explain, such has been the perceived failure under his six-year tutelage.

Having overcome a difficult spell of adaptation in a new city and new brand of football, Oxlade-Chamberlain now looks to be forging a path into the Reds starting XI - a feat many thought improbable after his £40m switch.

Playing in central midfield as he had stipulated on arriving on Merseyside, the 24-year-old has been afforded less defensive responsibility in a three-man system through the middle of the park, and whilst Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane continue to thrive in an attacking department, Chamberlain is able to slot in behind and tie the central corridor of movement up nicely.

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Such is the fear in the eyes of many an Arsenal fans these days, the loss of a player with talent not yet harnessed by Wenger is now becoming a more occurrent theme as the seasons pass on the Holloway Road.

Klopp is twice the man manager Wenger proclaims to be - at least in the modern age - and as a result, his methods are being greatly exposed as not just a manager but a coach with Oxlade Chamberlain.

The midfielder's tour-de-force against unbeaten Manchester City last weekend, was of course, a potential one-off result but there now seems real credence in the player's decision to switch to Klopp's free-scoring side who could yet challenge for silverware this term.

Back home, Wenger's insistence that he is the best man for the job are increasingly falling on deaf ears at Arsenal, with the Frenchman running out of allies at the club and most importantly within the fan base. 

Unfortunately for Wenger now, the case of Oxlade-Chamberlain could become another notch on the bedpost of misdeeds at Arsenal Football Club in the past few campaigns; a statistic which are threatening to chip away at the ebbing hourglass of his time at the Emirates.

Let's remind ourselves that in the face of a wave of support of Wenger to walk away from the club with some form of silverware - for the second season running no less - the decision was taken last summer to again on almost out of sheer bloody-mindedness, and almost to spite the growing dissent from the stands.

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Sadly for the club and its' fans, Arsenal's immediate future is unlikely to be decided outside of Wenger's hands, but the questions raised by the lack of progress of personnel made under him should drive home the view that his beliefs and measures are now dated in 2017.

It is becoming somewhat a greek tragedy for the club as the weeks and months roll of distaste and indeed distrust at board level within Arsenal's roots, but from a sheer fan perspective, the rising stock of Oxlade-Chamberlain - if there were any doubt - should hammer the final nail in Wenger's now rather cracked managerial coffin which has lost its' gloss.    

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