Are you sitting comfortably?

Posted by Sam Limbert

After Arsenal's second embarrassing cup exit to a lower-league team this season, Bayern Munich are coming to Emirates Stadium. If Gunners fans were concerned about this Champions League tie before being dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackburn, the pathetic performance on Saturday has understandably meant that some supporters are dreading what the Germans are going to do to Arsenal on Tuesday night.

- Schaaf: Heynckes expects 'different' Arsenal
- Delaney: The battle to contain a rampant Bayern


Arsene Wenger's team are capable of producing a backlash performance; however, it will need to be the mother of all backlashes to go from such a dismal showing to one that could beat the team that are running away with the Bundesliga.

Much of the analysis of the defeat to Blackburn has focused on either the players or the manager, but the whole club structure needs to be looked at in light of Arsenal's best trophy chance disappearing. At the playing, management and boardroom levels, questions need to be asked as to whether everyone is sitting too comfortably while the fans are getting increasingly restless.

It's been well-documented that a lot of the players, who are viewed as mediocre compared to Arsenal squads in recent years, are on wages that are probably too high for what they contribute to the team. It makes you wonder if the squad players are motivated enough to give their all when needed in games such as against Blackburn. The first-choice players could also be too comfortable in their roles because they aren't having pressure applied to them for their place in the team. The Blackburn match was an opportunity for some of those fringe players to really push for a regular starting spot. The majority didn't do that.

Wenger has come in for a lot of criticism following the result and, considering how Arsenal have exited both domestic cup competitions, that is not unreasonable. Most regular readers will know that I'm not someone who will call for the manager to be sacked, but it would be wrong if he were too comfortable in his position. When football is such a results-driven business (on-field results and not financial results), no-one should have a job for life. There should at least be some pressure on Wenger to leave him in no doubt that such poor showings in cup games will mean that his job isn't safe.

This leads on to the board. Surely the hierarchy couldn't have enjoyed watching the defeat to Blackburn. If they've lost sight of the fact that the club needs to achieve on the pitch to ultimately be a successful business, something must change.

After Saturday, the players, the manager and the board shouldn't be sitting comfortably about the situation at Arsenal. All of it leads to the daunting task of Bayern Munich on Tuesday night and the only slim hope for a trophy that remains. Had Arsenal beaten Blackburn, the pressure surrounding the Bayern match would have been reduced. The team could have played with a freedom that might have helped them. However, the FA Cup has gone and the fans will expect a real performance.

The pessimism among some supporters means that a defeat is almost expected. But the very least the fans expect is for the team to give absolutely everything. After doing that at Sunderland in the last league match, it felt like the team had turned a corner. On seeing the meagre display against Blackburn, though, I'm dubious as to how the team will perform.

The lure and the glamour of the tie should mean that the squad won't have a problem psyching themselves up for it. While I doubt that Arsenal will win, I would not be surprised if they delivered a good result, due to being consistently inconsistent. I won't be hiding behind the sofa, but the match might not make comfortable viewing at all levels at the club.

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