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  • By Charlie Stong

Nottingham Forest 4 Arsenal 2: Time to say goodbye, Arsene.

Photo by Charlie Stong

Let’s get straight to the point. How many of the starting 11 from today do you really want to keep? Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the only one, really, that I would. Ospina maybe - as back up for a goalkeeper we are yet to bring in to replace Petr Cech.

The rest? Holding was made to look a fool by an 18-year-old academy lad at a Championship club - as was Mertesacker.

Danny Welbeck is going backwards fast, Elneny just passes the ball sideways, Iwobi isn’t anywhere near good enough, and as for Theo Walcott, why is he still at the club? He is a complete embarrassment.

But we knew this before today. We knew these players were not good enough, so why did Wenger pick them? And the fact he didn't have any first-teamers on the bench ready to come on if things went pear shaped - as they did - just sums up the arrogance of the man that once again he thought his way would be right.

If we did have some first-teamers on the bench and were fighting for the title, then maybe the team selection could have just about been justified.

But we did not have any stars on the bench and we’re not fighting for the title. In fact we’re struggling to even fight for the top four now.

Arsene Wenger has created a culture of comfort at Arsenal and it’s poisoning the players from top to bottom.

Between 1931, the year of our first league title, and 1996, the year Arsene Wenger took charge, we won 10 league titles. That's an average of one every six-and-a-half years. Since Wenger came there have been three more in 22 years. That's one every 7.3 years.

So why should we give him so much respect? We were the richest club in the world when Herbert Chapman was in charge so it’s unfair to compare his record to Arsene’s, but George Graham won two league titles in his nine years - one every four-and-a-half years, and with far less resources at his disposal, yet Wenger is lauded as a better manager by many.

The club ownership is of course also a massive problem, but that was not to blame tonight. Even those saying Arsene has worked miracles by competing with teams with greater financial might cannot fall back on that excuse this evening. We lost this game because of team selection. He has better players at the club who were available today but chose not to play them.

The players Wenger picked are not good enough. They should be good enough, of course, but for whatever reason they are not. Whether it’s the aforementioned feeling of being comfortable at the club without being under threat of losing their place, or whether it’s because they simply don’t want to play for him anymore - the bottom line is they are not good enough, and the most depressing thing is that this result is not really all that surprising - even against a Championship side without a manager and who had not won a game for two months before today.

Forest were brilliant and totally deserved the win. But there was no reason to play that team.

And you know what, he’ll no doubt do the same in the Europa League, even though that is now our only realistic chance of making the Champions League and, in all probability by the time the next round comes, our only chance of silverware.

Arsene, you gave us some of the best times football fans can ever imagine. It was so much fun being in Islington in the late 1990s and early 2000s watching your teams. It was one big party for five or six years - and for that we will be forever grateful.

But no longer. With every passing year you are further damaging your legacy.

Gary Lineker tweeted Piers Morgan this evening to say he should stop moaning because we’re in the semi final of the league cup, still in the Europa League and are sixth in the league.

Arsenal are a bigger club than that. And they were before Arsene Wenger - not just since him. Enough is enough, Arsene. It’s time to say goodbye.

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