Arsene Wenger’s reaction at the press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich was spiky to say the least and he came across as a man under pressure.
Arsenal’s eight-year wait for a piece of silverware is expected to continue following the shock home FA Cup defeat to Blackburn, which came at a time when their Premier League form was improving.
The Gunners have taken 10 points from a possible 12 to keep within four points of a top-four spot.
But this run has been forgotten for the time being and the jury is certainly out over whether Wenger will see out the current season, let alone remain in charge at the Emirates at the start of the 2013/14 campaign.
It is 3/1 for the treble of Arsenal failing to win a trophy this season, not finishing in the top four and Wenger leaving before the start of the next campaign.
As bad as things are, Arsenal are still in the Champions League and should the club lift this trophy for the first time in their history, which can be backed at 40/1, Wenger would be off the hook.
Chelsea were in a largely similar crisis at this point last season, but beat Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League to ensure the campaign finished on a high.
This achievement remains a possibility for Arsenal and it should not be downplayed how big of an opportunity they have.
Arguably, they still have more to play for than Manchester City, which begs the question of whether Roberto Mancini would sacrifice a tilt at the FA Cup and a likely second-place Premier League finish to swap places with Wenger?
Winning the Champions League remains the pinnacle of club football and helps managers cement their legacy. Mancini’s chance has gone for this season and unless he somehow claws back the gap on Manchester United, he is unlikely to have such a big opportunity for a while.
Life is all about risk and reward and although it will never happen, Mancini would have a lot to potentially gain and not a great deal to lose by accepting a swap.
Arsenal are still well in the hunt for the top four and finishing fourth instead of second in the Premier League wouldn’t have any implications heading into next season.
So things may be at a crossroads for Wenger, but he remains in a position that Mancini and probably Rafa Benitez would gladly swap for.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.