Everything that could have gone wrong for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal a Valley Parade on Tuesday night did go wrong as the Frenchman watched a woeful performance as his side crashed out at the quarter final stage at the hands of Bradford City on penalties.
In reality, the nature of the exit, a 3-2 defeat on the lottery of a shoot-out, is irrelevant in the debate over where Arsenal go next. A full strength side, albeit it without the injured Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, were frankly gobbled up by a Bradford side on the rise again under Phil Parkinson.
Such is the alarming nature of Arsenal's fall you wonder if and when they land what sort of shape they'll be in. But what of Wenger? A manager who has seen his transfer policy criticised, his tactics questioned and his priorities lambasted; is it time to go? IBTimes UK looks at the reasons for and against.
Why he should be sacked:
Lost his touch in the transfer market
If the sale of several of his key players, including Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, was somewhat out of his hands, then at least Wenger has been handed funds to rebuild his squad. The problem is, the way he has used that money is far removed from a shrewdness in the market which defined his early years in English football. The cash used on the likes of Gervinho (£10.8m) and Andrey Arshavin (£16m) appears wasted, with clubs elsewhere in the Premier League able to yield value from lower risk purchases; a trait Wenger was well known for.
Arsenal Fans Becoming Disillusioned
While the Arsenal support have hardly turned their back on Wenger, it would be fair to say the tide is turning against the Frenchman and the club's board. While protests during the club's AGM were directly towards chief executive Ivan Gazidis, during games chants regarding Wenger's remit to manage the club, even on the road, have been deafening. If supporters begin to stay away from the Emirates Stadium, and hurt the pockets of those they accuse to be so greedy, then surely the board will be forced to act.
Why he should stay:
Football is littered with clubs who took the decision to rid themselves of a manager before properly assessing whether the grass is truly greener on the other side, and without a genuine replacement waiting in the wings. If Arsenal are in such dire straits, then how much could a new man do mid-way through the season? Surely a change in the summer would make more sense. Having qualified for the Champions League on 16 successive occasions and won three league titles Wenger remains among a select few in world football who can rejuvenate and rebuild a squad at the very highest level.
Season Shouldn't be Judged on League Cup Exit
Deeper issues at Arsenal there may be, but a League Cup quarter final exit is not the be all and end all of their season. Granted, should the club not qualify for the Champions League, or slip further behind the Manchester pair in the Premier League reckoning then perhaps a change would be justifiable in the summer, but to sack Wenger with much of the season still to complete (and three trophies still to challenge for) would be foolish.