John Giles on Arsene Wenger's "end of the line" at Arsenal
Ireland and Leeds legend reacts to Arsenal's "worst performance" under the manager19:45 Thursday 16 February 2017, 19:45 16 Feb 2017
John Giles says the Arsenal performance in their 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League was the worst he has ever seen from the club.
A second half collapse saw the Gunners' Champions League hopes virtually crushed for the seventh last 16 in succession and it appears as if long time manager Arsene Wenger's 21 years in charge will now end with the expiry of his contract in June.
"It's the worst performance I've ever seen from Arsenal and coming on top of some of the disappointments they've had in previous seasons," John told Off The Ball, adding that "this was definitely the worst of the lot".
He also picked out the details that were missing from Arsenal in Munich.
"First of all, I didn't think there was any great spirit about it. Second half there was no spirit about them, there was no confidence about them and you have to have a fighting spirit and I think with Arsenal, when you get the likes of Ozil, Walcott, Chamberlain, one or two others, and then a couple of lads with no discipline, like Gabriel who came on and Xhaka... it was just a really, really terrible performance."
On Ozil, John said he'd "be glad to get rid of him" given his lack of fight when the tide turns against Arsenal.
For a few weeks now, there has been a consensus among observers about how Wenger's 21 year relationship with Arsenal will conclude and John concurs that there will be a parting of the ways this summer.
"I think it has to be the end of the line for Wenger, whether it be now or at the end of the season," he said, before touching on the Arsenal boss' rich legacy at the club.
"I think he should go and I'd say that, like most people in football, with a sad heart because of what he's done. But when you get a manager who's been at a club as long as he has, it's very, very seldom that they maintain that success that they had in the early days. [Alex] Ferguson was exceptional, probably the best manager ever to do what he did for such a long period of time.
"But if you take Wenger, if Wenger had left Arsenal after six years, for example, there would be a statue for him outside the ground. He's gone on for a long time and he's had relative success in what he's done."
John cited the move to the Emirates Stadium and helping keep Arsenal financially stable through difficult times.
And he feels Wenger's career can still be described as "exceptional" and emphasised that this season, the Frenchman still has Arsenal above Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the Premier League table so far.