Wenger running out of excuses
Arsenal's latest humiliation reinforces theory that The Professor is living on borrowed time at the Emirates
Henrikh Mkhitaryan claims he left Manchester United in order to play "offensive football".
Arsenal's 3-1 defeat by Swansea City yesterday morning (Singapore time) confirmed that the Armenian at least got his wish: it was a genuine assault on both the eyes and ears.
Inadequate on-field performance went hand-in-hand with incompatible explanations.
Not for the first time, Arsene Wenger was at a loss to explain his side's latest capitulation.
But the answer has continued to stare him in the face; everything wrong with life at the Emirates Stadium stems directly from Wenger's unrelenting stubbornness as the Gunners lost yet further ground in the battle for the English Premier League's fourth place.
Tactical indiscipline was not the sole elephant in the room at the Liberty Stadium.
The Frenchman refuses to move in-step with the demands of the modern game in the transfer market as much as his team does on the pitch, evidenced by a policy that sees them recruit too few genuinely world-class signings, like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Oezil.
It is why a January window where they have offloaded deadwood and malcontents in favour of notable upgrades is seen as a cause for widespread celebration rather than an annual occurrence.
That in itself highlights just how far Wenger's methods of madness have lowered expectations.
Trading Sanchez for Mkhitaryan, and replacing Olivier Giroud with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not remedy Arsenal's long-standing problems any more than Sanchez's original 2014 arrival ultimately achieved.
Little, if anything, has changed since that 2014 transfer.
Petr Cech's presence was once supposedly worth an additional 10 to 15 points per season to his current employers, yet a costly mis-kick that allowed Jordan Ayew to put Swansea ahead yesterday rendered that claim a complete misnomer.
Before that blunder, statistics had condemned the Czech goalkeeper even further, with no EPL player committing more errors leading to opposition goals this season than him.
Aubameyang's £56-million (S$103.8m) switch will not even scratch the surface of such ongoing ills after Arsenal's sixth away league defeat of the season to a side that started the game bottom of the league.
That's why this season should finally prove to be their manager's last ride.
Eight points now separate the Gunners from the fourth-placed Liverpool, and yet Wenger still insists that external factors are to blame.
Giroud at least had the excuse of becoming Chelsea's new square peg in a round hole as the fallen EPL champions seek an unusual battering-ram option in attack.
Expecting the outgoing France international to sign off his final substitute outing in Arsenal colours with a late goal was yet another desperate throw of the dice from Wenger.
Even if Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan do somehow manage to again forge the impressive understanding which made them a force to be reckoned with at Borussia Dortmund, it still cannot compensate for threadbare options in midfield when Jack Wilshere is invariably injured.
Nor can it absolve a defensive ensemble whose lack of mental fortitude has coincided with just three league victories on their travels this season.
Like the Emperor Nero, Arsenal's manager is preoccupying himself with less pressing matters to their overall detriment.
Believing that Wenger, now 68, will eventually see the error of his ways and return the Gunners to the top of English football remains wishful thinking, to say the least.