Is Arsenal’s next manager under their noses tonight?

David Moyes

Tonight’s match between Everton and Arsenal is about more than just three points. Or at least, it should be.

Because if the Emirates hierarchy are paying attention, the answer to their problems will be standing in the home team dug-out, barking out orders while their own manager sits hunched and grumpy in his oversized puffer jacket.

For years, David Moyes has been championed as the greatest manager never to have been given a chance at a big club. There is talk of him ultimately replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.

There are ponderings over what he could do with an actual transfer budget. And there is constant praise for the signings and the progress he has made at Goodison Park.

Win tonight and Everton will be four points clear of Arsenal, and the way things are going, I wouldn’t bet against them being further ahead come May.

If the Gunners win, you could argue this piece becomes redundant – just another false prediction from a self-proclaimed expert turned fool. But isn’t that the description of every football fan from one week to the next? And in truth my point doesn’t rest on the result of a single game.

Arsene Wenger’s time is up. It was up long ago. In 2004, Arsenal were crowned league champions. The following year they finished second. Since then, they haven’t finished higher than third, with fourth their preferred resting place.

Wenger, for all his preaching of football played the right way, hasn’t won a trophy of any kind since the FA Cup in 2005. Forget a single Champions League final appearance; the fact is Wenger has forgotten how to win trophies.

Or perhaps they are just not important to him. Perhaps it is all about an ethos. But if that is the case, it is an ethos with only vague similarities to its former self.

The man praised for his tactical nous, the man who oversaw The Invincibles – he is looking a little tired these days.

Moyes on the other hand is full of life. And why shouldn’t he be? His Everton team consistently over-achieve, to such an extent that we can’t call it “over-achieving” anymore. They are just very good.

Many fans worried when Tim Cahill left in the summer, but his departure has actually helped the team. The repositioning of Marouane Fellaini has been a revelation. He scores the goals Cahill used to and contributes so much more besides.

While the astute triple signing of Nikica Jelavic, Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas also begs the question what would Moyes, so used to working with pennies, do with pounds?

Another last-16 appearance in the Champions League means Wenger will remain for now. And his achievements in always securing a top four finish are successes in themselves, if only in a financial sense. But it is time for a change. And Moyes, whether he passes or fails tonight’s audition, is one of the few worthy and attainable candidates.

Wenger has been in charge of Arsenal for 16 years while Moyes has been in charge of Everton for 10. Both have made history, as every manager does. But Wenger stopped making the right kind of history long ago.

It is time for someone new. So why not a manager who instils loyalty in his players, even when trophies are all but impossible? Why not a manager who scouts the world and not just France? Why not a man who sees it?

Unless, of course, Everton become the bigger club.

Would you like to see Moyes at Arsenal? Or should he stay and carry on the job at Everton?

image: © illarterate

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