By Karl Matchett.

It's mid-March and Arsenal are still in the UEFA Champions League, but by name only. In truth, the Gunners are just winding down the hours until their inevitable execution, already two goals down to Barcelona and facing a second leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night, a ground where the Catalan club's league record this season reads played 15, won 14.

In Europe, for what it's worth, it reads played three, won three.

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Manager Arsene Wenger will speak of hope and optimism, of luck and of you-never-knows, but of course everybody knows the reality: barring one of the most improbable comebacks imaginable this season, his team are out, again.

There's more chance of his team making up ground in the Premier League and lifting that title than there is of Arsenal beating Barcelona on their own turf by three goals-and Arsenal have an 11-point gap to make up on Leicester City for that to happen. In nine games.

And perhaps that's the real heart of the matter. In a weakened league, with a key rival in Chelsea falling away to the unexpected extent they did, Arsenal should have been one of perhaps two or three teams who put in the biggest title challenge in years. Instead they trail to their biggest rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, and league leaders the Foxes, who came from nowhere.

It has proven a crazy Premier League season, but the craziest of all is that Wenger and one or two of his counterparts continue to make excuses as to why silverware isn't forthcoming-and Wenger is getting away with it.

The French boss this week branded continued questioning over his future as farcical.

Well, guess what? Many fans, analysts and even players in opposition teams view it farcical that a manager has been in place for as long as he has and yet has delivered nothing of note other than back-to-back FA Cups.

Stability is often dished out as a keyword in footballing terms, allowing managers to build, players to become acclimatised, new owners to put plans into place. Leicester's success this season, whether they win the league or not, essentially blows much of that away. As, in truth, does Wenger's continual failure to lead his team to trophies.

In January, Arsenal had the chance to go and add two key figures to their starting XI and ensure they had both the depth and the offensive armoury to ensure they could win games, games which in previous campaigns they had fallen short in. Mohamed Elneny was not the one to fill those gaps in the squad. With Santi Cazorla, one of Arsenal's few genuine top talents, missing through extended injury and Alexis Sanchez not hitting top gear, it was always inevitable that they'd miss out on the title again once Wenger passed up the opportunity to sign new faces.

Jose Mourinho once referred to Wenger as a specialist in failure. Needless to say, Wenger didn't take kindly to it, but it's not a million miles from the truth.

In a poor season, with the top two being sides who have never won the Premier League title, most managers of teams expected to challenge for the title would be summarily dismissed.

Guess what? Mourinho was from Chelsea. Manuel Pellegrini has been from Manchester City, with his successor already named. There's every chance that Louis van Gaal will be sacked in the summer from Manchester United for similarly immense underachievements, and Brendan Rodgers didn't last until Christmas at Liverpool.

Only at Arsenal is this season's continued ineptitude at the top end excepted, expected and accepted.

Forget even winning the league, it's a mammoth 11 years since Arsenal even finished in the Premier League's top two. Has stability and gradual improvement helped in that regard? Has breaking the transfer record? Has Wenger?

It's six years since Arsenal passed the round of 16 in the Champions League. Yes, Barcelona are the best team on the planet, but after two decades of team building, should Wenger not have his team somewhere close to that level? Or at least able to beat Monaco? Bayern Munich? AC Milan? How far down the list of great European names should we have to travel before reaching the level Wenger has been able to push Arsenal up to?

If stability and consistently is the club's big aim, consider it mission accomplished. Hand Wenger a contract for life, because what he has produced over the last half-dozen years to a decade is exactly what he'll continue to offer in future.

If Arsenal want progression and silverware, standing in the game and a path toward the top, they need change. Any other club would have done so already, and three English rivals already have done so in anticipation of next season.