Despite Gunners win Arsene can’t escape questions on his future
Arsene Wenger wanted to focus during his post-match press conference on the positives of the Gunners narrow 1-0 win at the Hawthorns, but again had to respond to questions about his own future at the club.
Some of Arsenal’s travelling support unfurled a banner saying that it is time for the Arsenal manager to say goodbye.
It is not the first time that there have been banners unfurled by Arsenal fans with similar sentiments.
The protests are not on the same scale as those Alan Pardew has faced at Newcastle United, but the issue of Wenger’s future is hugely divisive amongst Arsenal fans.
It is part of a simmering discontent amongst fans not just about Wenger’s management, but in the way the Board are running club.
A toxic mix of poor results, too many performances lacking in character, and an inability to win matches against better quality opposition are not helping Wenger’s position.
The inability to find a solution to the never-ending run of injuries that Arsenal players suffer is another contributory factor.
Arsene Wenger’s press conferences invariably resemble a bulletin from a field hospital. He struggles to offer any solutions to why there are so many injuries, beyond invoking bad luck.
Wenger retains the support of the Board. But the Board itself are also the target of fans anger.
Money is being now in the transfer market, but there continues to be significant cash reserves whilst key areas of the team require strengthening.
The rumour mill is getting to into overdrive about potential January signings, but it is unlikely that there will be more than one signing.
Any thought of a title challenge this season is already over.
Season ticket prices increased by 3% for this season, but as many as 5,000 seats are unoccupied at the majority of home matches.
Despite the cost of purchasing a season ticket, many fans are picking and choosing which games they attend.
With some also off-setting the cost of their season ticket by using the ticket exchange scheme.
Whether the thought of Arsenal battling for a top four finish will be enough to tempt the stay-away fans to Premier League home games against the lesser lights is debatable.
Passage has been secured to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, but a likely second place finish in the group will make further progress difficult.
If Arsenal make their customary exit at the last 16 stage, it will intensify pressure on Wenger and the Board that the club are not punching their weight in Europe or showing any signs of progressing.
The defence of the FA Cup will start in January. It was expected that the win at Wembley in May would be a springboard for this season.
So far that’s not been the case.
So we can expect Arsene Wenger to be under intense scrutiny and for questions about his future to remain on the agenda.
Here is what he had to say after yesterday’s win at West Brom – courtesy of Arsenal.Com
on the performance…
In the end our solidarity got us through when the legs went in the last 10 minutes. Maybe we were a fraction lucky on the crossbar, but overall it’s a well-deserved win.
on the build-up to the goal…
Cazorla’s class got us that goal. He had a few opportunities in the first half. He cannot finish at the moment but in providing he is still top class.
on whether Berahino was onside…
I think – from the bench – it’s impossible to say. Maybe Koscielny covered the view I had when I saw it.
on a banner in the crowd…
I don’t comment on that. Do I need to say it again? I don’t comment on your question.
on two key players returning…
We had a clean sheet against Dortmund and we had one today. We had three very good games in the week, one against Manchester United, one against Dortmund and one today. Unfortunately against Manchester United we didn’t win but our performance was there. Defensively we were maybe a bit more stable today but I think against Dortmund we had a very good defensive performance.
on an attacking line-up…
We always play with attacking football.
on Welbeck playing through the middle…
He’s a striker. He plays left, right, central. For me that’s not important. We have so many crosses coming in that there are always chances if you play on the flanks as well.
on whether Arsenal have shown character…
We can let people talk. We live in a society of total opinion but we live off what we do, not what we say. What we do is on the football pitch.
Gibbs struggled a little bit with an ankle problem and Monreal with a knee problem. Oxlade-Chamberlain also had a knee problem.
on whether he is the future of Arsenal…
You’re very good at insisting. The responsibility of everybody is to prepare for the future.
on whether the injuries are serious…
I don’t know. We have to see how they recover on Monday. We have Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal and Gibbs who have knocks but I don’t know how bad it is.