And who was that irascible character who bit off journalists’ heads this week? What happened to charming Wenger?
Losses this season to Bradford in the League Cup quarterfinals and Blackburn in the FA Cup fifth round were embarrassing because Arsenal should, on paper at least, beat such lower league opponents every time. But unexpected one-time defeats are among the vagaries of cup football and can happen to any team.
More damning for Arsenal is that it has fallen so far behind not only the Bayerns of Europe, but behind England’s best teams, too. With Manchester United now 21 points ahead of the Gunners in the English league, their match at the Emirates on April 28 isn’t the must-watch game it used to be when Vieira and Roy Keane were at each other like hammer and tongs.
On March 13, Bayern will finish off the job it started in London and put the Gunners out of the Champions League. Wenger and Arsenal will go back to what they now do best: licking their wounds.
John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester