Merci Arsène: Social Data on the Tears, the Joy, and the Hypocrisy Trending

By Tyler Tai Bing Xiang on April 24th 2018

The announcement from Arsenal’s official website that long-serving manager Arsène Wenger had decided to depart from Arsenal at the end of the season became one of the hottest topics on the internet overnight.

There was a huge amount of content being posted with regards to Arsène leaving, the rumours about the candidate that was poised to replace him, the gratitudes being shown for all he has done for the club, and even sentiments from former #WengerOut proponents getting all teary-eyed.

A huge, and very mixed, reaction

Given Arsenal’s huge global fanbase, the announcement sparked conversation globally. The internet imminently blew up following the news.

So how did our global fans feel about Arsène leaving? Using Brandwatch’s emoji cloud, we can get an accurate sense of the general sentiment from the fans.

We see here a mix of reactions from the fans – from the terribly upset and heartbroken, to applauses and thumbs-ups representing appreciations for his past achievements.

We see a huge number of laugh-cry emoji mentions, with the gist of such mentions often teasing the hypocrisy of some Arsenal fans, who have consistently called for Wenger’s resignation over the years but have done a U-turn in sentiment after the actual announcement.

Well this is awkward

Here are a few of our favorite examples of fans who seemed to have differing opinions before and after the announcement:

Wenger’s greatest hits

Using Brandwatch’s sentiment analysis, we are able to view the general sentiment around Arsène Wenger from the start of the EPL season right up til after the announcement.

What we see is a massive shift in sentiment – positivity is up, and negativity is down.

There is much to celebrate about Arsène Wenger. The man has been in management for over two decades in Arsenal, winning plenty of silverware throughout his time.

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In fact, his most fondly-remembered achievement would be his 49-game unbeaten Premier League record. No manager or team has yet to achieve that. 

Also, despite not having won a Europa League before, plenty of fans are hoping Arsène delivers the silverware at the end of the season, ending his stint on a high.

Looking to the future

A huge part of the conversation revolved around the potential replacement.

Brandwatch’s newly improved word cloud allows the data to be segmented using entities such as People and Organizations. In this instance, the ‘People’ categorization comes in helpful when looking at the different people who are involved in online conversations around the managerial vacancy at the end of the season.

A few familiar big names pop up at a glance –  with Brendan Rodgers, Luis Enrique, Carlo Ancelotti, Max Allegri, and even former captain Patrick Vieira all linked to the job.

Interestingly, fans have suggested the unlikely Senol Gunes from Besiktas, due to his surname ‘Gunes’ having an affiliation with the club, just like Arsène’s did. (For non-football fans, Arsenal is often called “the Gunners”).

Whoever replaces Wenger at the end of the season definitely has some big boots to fill – the dedication he has given to Arsenal is unquestionable. As summed up perfect by ex England international Gary Neville, he did change how the game was played and deserves a respectable send off.

Merci Arsène.

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Tyler Tai Bing Xiang

Tyler is a Social Media Data Analyst based in Brandwatch's Singapore office. His Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of cat and dog videos. Will also make a pun whenever he sees fit.