Arsenal's midweek embarrassment in Munich has led to intense speculation regarding the future of manager Arsene Wenger.
Despite being the most successful manager in the club's history, many journalists, fans and ex-Gunners are calling for the Frenchman to leave.
Their 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday has left Arsenal of the verge of exiting the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the seventh consecutive season. It also looks increasingly likely that their thirteen year wait for a Premier League title will continue.
Even the most ardent supporters of Arsene Wenger cannot ignore the damning facts highlighted by his critics. For a club of Arsenal's stature and financial standing to win three league titles in 21 years is a poor return, no European trophy in the Wenger era, a host of transfer market flops, contract disputes with their two biggest stars and poor player development have all been given as reasons for such discontent amongst Gooners.
Wenger vs Ferguson
Although Sir Alex Ferguson was at the helm at Old Trafford for 27 years, compared to a modest 21 years for Wenger, there are many comparison to be drawn between the two. Critics have used the comparison of a way of further condemning Wenger and the legacy he is set to leave behind.
Here we compare the two managers and their legacies at two of the world's most famous football clubs.
This holds the strongest argument amongst Wenger critics. Arsenal's superb record in the FA Cup is completely overshadowed by their failures in the league and on the continent. The 'Invincible' side of 2004 quite rightly, will always be revered in the football world, but Wenger's inability to build on that success will always be regarded as a huge disappointment. Let's profile the trophies won by each manager during their reigns.
Premier League titles - 3
FA / League Cup wins - 6
European / continental trophies - 0
Premier League titles - 13
FA / League Cup wins - 9
European / continental trophies - 6
Both Wenger and Ferguson have coached some of the best players ever seen on these shores. English greats like Tony Adams, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham have been perfectly complemented by great foreign imports like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira of Arsenal and Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel at Manchester United.
The major difference between the two managers was Ferguson's gift of constantly rebuilding and refreshing his squads – getting the most out of his players. Many refer to the mid-90's and that infamous Alan Hansen quote of not "winning anything with kids". Out went Hughes, Ince and Kanchelskis and in came Giggs, Scholes, Beckham and the Neville brothers. Even at centre half, the transition of first Bruce and Pallister, then Jaap Stam and Henning Berg, followed by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic – Ferguson always kept his side on their toes and hungry.
Wenger on the other hand, seemed to enjoy a purple patch in the late 90's and the beginning of the new millennium. Since then, they have brought through several young English talents that have failed to develop in a way Arsenal and England would hope. Recent examples include Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers. Critics have questioned Wenger's coaching techniques, suggesting he has been overtaken by new, younger managers, such as Conte, Klopp and even Pochettino – manager of their local rivals Spurs.
Both managers saw the clubs undergo dramatic changes to their infrastructure, United increased the capacity at Old Trafford from 44,000 to over 75,000 during Ferguson's reign, whilst under Wenger, Arsenal moved from Highbury to the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium.
Although many would say it is unfair to compare Wenger to arguably the greatest football manager of all time. The longevity of both their reigns makes it inevitable. It should also be highlighted that his three Premier League titles has been matched by Jose Mourinho. The current Manchester manager has, in the same time won another five league titles overseas, with Porto (2), Inter Milan (2) and Real Madrid (1), as well as three major European competitions.
There is no doubting Wenger will go down as a club legend at Arsenal, however, there is a strong argument that he has overstayed his welcome and tainted his huge legacy within English football.
With his current contract at the Emirates up next season, there remains increasing speculation over whether he will see out his Arsenal contract or leave in the summer. Bookmakers, William Hill are offering odds of 6/4 on Wenger being in charge at Arsenal next season, he is 1/2 to leave in the summer.
If Wenger is to leave, there will be a clamour amongst many of the world's clubs and national teams alike. Here Bet Free Bets provide odds on Wenger's next club, courtesy of Bet Stars:
France National Team - 5/1
Monaco - 5/1
Barcelona - 6/1
England National Team - 8/1
Lyon - 10/1
Any Chinese Club - 11/1
Nice - 12/1
Real Madrid - 12/1