Wenger's delusion makes it clear the end is near
Wenger now sounds like a deluded despot
The club are in a great shape. That's what Arsene Wenger said.
The words might as well be carved on his professional tombstone.
One sentence confirmed the death of a once great leader and the rise of a deluded despot.
Arsenal were humiliated 5-1 by Bayern Munich yesterday morning (Singapore time), the same scoreline in three consecutive fixtures against the German giants.
Without playing particularly well, Bayern silenced the Gunners 10-2 on aggregate, a rugby scoreline with no cauliflower ears, just a cabbage in the dugout.
Any comment that was mildly critical of his players, his tactics or even, heaven forbid, himself, might have earned Wenger a modicum of sympathy.
But there was none. Instead, he insisted that Arsenal are in great shape, when they are anything but.
They are European minnows masquerading as a big club, relics living off former glories and unwilling to evolve.
Wenger sounded like a rich, isolated and archaic French aristocrat telling his starving peasants that if there's no bread left, just enjoy some cake.
What needs to change at this club? What do you mean? This club is in great shape. At the moment, it’s going through a very difficult situation. So what needs to change is the result in the next game. Arsene Wenger
If there's no Champions League left, just enjoy an FA Cup tie against Lincoln City, which has surely got to be worth Wenger's £8 million (S$13.8m) annual salary.
Frankly, his delusional analysis of Arsenal's malaise not only damages his legacy; it also reveals a man out of touch with reality.
Wenger comes across as the once revered inventor of the compact disc, still trumpeting the CD's qualities as his rivals play with Spotify. The pioneer once defined an age, but he's a dinosaur in the current one.
He deserves a statue on his retirement, but deserves no sympathy now.
Arsenal bombed out of the last-16 stage for the seventh consecutive season and the Wenger acolytes who continue to play that sad song about how other clubs would give everything for the Gunners' top-four consistency need to read a balance sheet.
Arsenal's seats are the most expensive in English football.
The boardroom conjures the kind of profits that would be the envy of many a company on Shenton Way.
More pertinently, they remain the most popular club in London - the capital magnet that pulled in Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Oezil and almost captured Luis Suarez until Arsenal tightened the purse strings.
Despite Chelsea's trophy haul and Tottenham's flair, the Gunners have retained the biggest fanbase in the city, both domestically and globally.
They are also situated in one of London's most gentrified parts, close to those green, gated communities that the greatest footballers typically favour.
So Arsenal have historical, geographical and financial advantages over almost all of their English and even European rivals, and yet continue to accept annual Champions League humiliation.
And sitting pretty at the top of Arsenal's fat pile of cash is a manager doing a decent impression of a stubborn dictator, seeing only what he chooses to see.
Wenger has always suffered from selective myopia when it comes to officials, but his scathing assessment of the Bayern debacle was beyond the pale.
He called the referee's decisions "scandalous", insisting they determined the outcome of a game that Arsenal lost by four goals. But Arsenal's defending after Bayern's second goal was scandalous, in the sense that there wasn't any.
Then there was Wenger's bewildering substitutions, sending on slight, attacking players to chase a lost cause.
Rather than shut up shop and preserve a shred of dignity, the Gunners were exposed on the counter-attack.
Bayern essentially stopped playing at 2-1, but they're too accomplished to pass up that many gifts.
Wenger has spent years essentially signing the same nimble midfielder, the kind that gets blown away in the Champions League breeze.
But he's never come close to attracting a striker in the mould of Robert Lewandowski.
He hasn't fixed his back four or coaxed any consistency from Oezil or strengthened central midfield or convinced Sanchez to stay.
Now that's scandalous.
In fact, Wenger is a contemporary leader in only one aspect.
He lives in a self-inflated bubble and promotes "alternative facts".
He still sees a club in great shape. Everyone else sees a club in great decline.