FourFourTwo and Forza Football have surveyed 200,000 fans of Premier League clubs to gauge their confidence in their team's manager, players and chairman/owner. Here, Nick Harper picks through the findings to see how Arsenal fans' mood has changed over the season...
As so often seems to happen, Arsenal fans entered the new season in moderately optimistic mood – 87% of them had confidence in both the squad and in Arsene Wenger. This despite Arsene Wenger failing to even identify the need to strengthen his squad, let alone act. Typically, as it dawned on Gunners fans that the team lacked the depth and in key areas the quality to compete with the clubs taking it really seriously, that confidence began to wane.
By September 9th, in the aftermath of the 1-1 draw with new boys Leicester City, confidence for both manager and squad had dipped under 80% for the first time. Since then, the descent has been slow but consistent, with no upturn in sight.
The interesting thing about the Gunners stats is that until September 9th, confidence in the squad and the manager dropped at the exact same rate. After the chastening, shadow-chasing Borussia Dortmund Champions League defeat on September 16th, however, the fans lost faith in Arsene Wenger at a slightly faster rate – he now has a 67% confidence rating, to his squad’s 71%.
However, a crumb of comfort for Arsene is that the bigger problem appears to lie with the chairman Stan Kroenke, who began the season with a 76% confidence rating, which has dropped 17% to a white-handkerchief-waving level of 59%. There will be blood. There has to be.