News ID: 210923
Published: 0315 GMT March 02, 2018

Arsenal fans make feelings known; time running out for Wenger

Arsenal fans make feelings known; time running out for Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reacts in frustration during the 3-0 Premier League defeat against Manchester City at London’s Emirates Stadium on March 1, 2018.

Arsenal fans opted to stay away as their team slumped to another humbling defeat by Manchester City on Thursday but, despite those in attendance voicing their anger, one man remains defiant in the face of scrutiny — manager Arsene Wenger.

The official attendance at The Emirates Stadium was 58,240, although the rows of empty red plastic seats suggested a far lower number had braved the bitter London cold, Reuters reported.

Those who did turn up were forced to sit through a City masterclass, as the Premier League leader stylishly completed a first league double over Arsenal in 42 years, with the host putting up nothing more than token resistance.

Trailing 3-0 at halftime, and desperately seeking points to stay in touch with the top four, Arsenal could only muster two shots in the second half, having managed eight in the first.

The humiliating defeat left the Gunners 10 points adrift of the Champions League qualifying places, with the fourth and final spot currently occupied by their bitter local rival Tottenham Hotspur.

Boos rang around The Emirates on several occasions.

“I feel sad because this is the club that I love and a man (Wenger) I have a lot of respect for,” former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry told Sky Sports.


‘Wenger Out’


‘Wenger Out’ banners have become commonplace around The Emirates as Arsenal has struggled to challenge for a first Premier League title in 14 years.

FA Cup success has been Wenger’s saving grace, with three triumphs in the previous four years, but the Europa League is Arsenal’s only chance of winning silverware this season.

The London club faces in-form AC Milan in the last 16 of Europe’s second-tier competition this month knowing it must lift the trophy to book a place in next season’s Champions League.

“I think the time has come now for the people above to say: ‘Enough is enough - it’s time for someone else to come in,” Sky Sports’ analyst and former England and Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher added.

Despite fans, pundits and former players all calling for change at the Arsenal helm, Wenger himself is adamant that all is not lost.

“We want to focus on the next game and continue to put in the effort we put in tonight,” Wenger said after Thursday’s defeat.

Wenger, who has a contract with the club until the end of next season, is unlikely to step aside so the board would have to act.

As difficult a decision as it may be given Wenger’s past successes — including three league titles and seven FA Cup triumphs — more poor performances would leave them with little option but to bring the Frenchman’s 22-year tenure to an end.


Pep support


Pep Guardiola spoke of his admiration for Wenger after his City side steamrollered Arsenal for the second time in five days to increase the pressure on the Frenchman.

Guardiola celebrated his 100th game in charge in style as Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Leroy Sane all scored first-half goals for City, which now needs just five more wins to secure the Premier League title.

Guardiola suggested his counterpart would make the right decision over his own future, given his long history at Arsenal.

"He knows my admiration for him," he said of the Frenchman.

"We play, we fight many, many times in Barcelona, a lot of times in Bayern Munich, a lot of times here in Premier League. A lot of times.

"I can understand the situation. I know all the managers can be in that situation. He knows, he handles that situation. He has a lot of experience."

Thursday's game at the Emirates Stadium went ahead despite snow and freezing conditions across Britain – but the host could not cope with City's quality.

"They took advantage of our lack of confidence," said Wenger.

"We're going through a difficult period, they're going through a period where all goes well for them.

"When your confidence is not at the best, the first thing that goes is your fluidity in the movement, the spontaneous side of the game.

"You could see that tonight. I don't deny their quality because they have top quality, but we're going through a difficult patch at the moment. That's part of football as well, unfortunately."

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