Litmus test for Wenger
Arsenal would do well to remember the shock FA Cup defeat by lowly Wrexham in 1992
If Arsenal fans are of the opinion that their season can't possibly get any worse, they better think again.
Following their 10-2 humbling by Germans giants Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek, the fans would be well advised to avoid watching replays of a certain FA Cup trip to Wales a quarter of a century ago as the Gunners brace themselves for a quarter-final tie with lowly Lincoln tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
Flashback to Jan 4, 1992. Reigning league champions Arsenal were at the Racecourse Ground for a FA Cup third-round tie against a Wrexham side who had finished rock bottom of the old Fourth Division the previous season.
Predictably, the Gunners battered the plucky Welsh side in the opening 45 minutes, but only a solitary Alan Smith goal separated the sides at the break.
Wrexham continued to hang on grimly in the second half, and then, with 10 minutes remaining, referee Kevin Breen awarded the minnows a free-kick 25 metres out.
Veteran skipper Mickey Thomas, with his long hair flowing in the breeze, stepped up and fired a left-footed thunderbolt past the despairing dive of England goalkeeper David Seaman. 1-1. Game on.
A few minutes later, Steve Watkin took advantage of a Tony Adams slip to steer home an improbable winner that sent shockwaves through the footballing world.
George Graham's league champions were out of the FA Cup; it was a truly staggering outcome. Despite Watkin grabbing the winning goal, it was the 37-year old former Manchester United winger Thomas who hogged the headlines after Wrexham's triumph.
The Welsh international had begun his career at the club in 1972 before being sold to United for £300,000 (S$518,000) six years later.
It's one of those situations where they want the manager out so there might be a lot of Arsenal fans wishing we can get something out of that game... We've got to use it to our advantage.Lincoln City skipper Luke Waterfall
Thomas was an FA Cup final loser against Arsenal in 1979, and, after spells with Everton, Stoke, Chelsea and Leeds, he returned to the Racecourse Ground to see out his playing days.
However, just a week after making headlines the world over for his on-field exploits, Thomas was in the newspapers for very different reasons, having been charged with producing counterfeit cash and distributing it to the club's youth-team players.
The tale would then take an even more lurid turn...
SUMMER OF 1992
In the summer of 1992, while out on bail, Thomas began an affair with a lady called Erica Dean, who happened to be married to his ex-wife's brother.
The evening before the opening day of the 1992-93 season, Mickey picked Erica up in his Volkswagen and stopped down a dark, secluded lane outside St Asaph in northern Wales.
The couple were in the throngs of passion when suddenly the side window was smashed, and Thomas was savagely attacked by two men wielding hammers and screwdrivers.
He was stabbed in his legs, arms, stomach, but somehow managed to stagger out of his car and flag down a passing car to send him to hospital.
Mickey was due to play for Wrexham the next day, but had to call assistant manager and close friend Joey Jones from his hospital bed to break the news that he would be unavailable for selection. His attackers were jailed for two years but, by this time, Mickey was facing an 18-month prison term of his own after being found guilty of forging dodgy £10 notes.
"I wanted to go out with a bang, but I didn't expect it to be the bang of a cell door!" he said, with typical humour.
Humour is something that is in very short supply at the Emirates Stadium these days.
Should Arsenal contrive to lose or draw at home to non-league Lincoln City tomorrow morning, then the "Wenger Out Brigade" will be ready to convict their long-serving manager of crimes against football.
Despite being a long-time Wenger apologist, should the Gunners fail to see off the Imps at the first time of asking, then I'd have to conclude that the Frenchman is guilty of said charges, and should walk the footballing plank.
Richard Lenton is the lead presenter at Eleven Sports Network. Join Richard and his studio guests for Eleven's live coverage of the Premier League, which includes tonight's clash between Everton and WBA (10.30pm), tomorrow's FA Cup ties between Arsenal and Lincoln (1.15am), and Spurs and Millwall (9.30pm), and the EPL showdown between Liverpool and Burnley (11.30pm). For more details, visit www.elevensports.sg