Wenger Challenges His Players To Finish Strongly

Beset Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger challenged his players to win every game between now and the end of the season to keep alive faint hopes of a top-four Premier League finish.

Seven league wins is the only way the Frenchman reckons that Arsenal can secure a Champions League place after ending a run of four away league defeats with a 2-1 victory over struggling Middlesbrough on Monday.

“We have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four,” said Wenger, who has yet to finish outside the top four in his 21-year reign.

“And that run starts with this win over Middlesbrough.

“The end of the season will come very quickly and it is up to us to finish strongly.

“We can do that, but also we will have to — had we not won against Middlesbrough I would have conceded that the top four was beyond us.”

Wenger switched personnel and formation as he looked to put an end to one of the worst runs in his managerial career — making six changes and playing three at the back for the first time since 1997.

“Yes, I did something I had not done in 20 years — but that just goes to show that even at my age I can still change,” he smiled.

“I went with three at the back to give more reassurance to the team especially as we were up against a team which we thought might have played a direct game.

“It was a committed game that we needed to win.

“I think because of their pride they made it a difficult first half and then when they came back at us and equalised, it was a test for us.

“It was tough for us because they are fighting hard to stay in the division and we might have ridden our luck on one or two occasions but I thought we were defensively stronger than previous games.”

Wenger’s tactics helped keep a determined Boro at bay and the Gunners won the game through goals from Alexis Sanchez in the first half and Mesut Ozil in the second — though Alvaro Negredo equalised for Boro five minutes after the break.

Wenger sensed uncharacteristic anxiety in his out-of-form players before the game, which he hopes will now have been overcome.

“We were a bit over-cautious against Middlesbrough but hopefully the win over them will now give us more confidence,” he said.

“There was a bit of nervousness in our dressing room before kick-off because we had not had a good run and that can happen — confidence in life goes away quickly and comes back slowly — but this result helps.”

There was some irony over the fact that Arsenal’s goal-scoring heroes were both players who have been linked with moves away from the Emirates this summer.

But after refusing to talk about his own future at the club, Wenger dismissed speculation about his two attackers.

“There has been speculation over both players but that does not enter into things when match-day comes because it is all about the game then and they will always give their all.”

For Boro boss Steve Agnew, there was the pain of another defeat but pride in the way his relegation-threatened players performed.

“The players were amazing, I couldn’t ask any more of them,” he said.

“I felt that when we scored we had Arsenal on the back foot and at that point we just needed the ball to fall to us.

“We all realise the task ahead now, we are six points off safety but we have a game in hand and a terrific goal difference.”


Arsene Wenger Faces Fury From Fan After Their Lose To Crystal Palace

Besieged Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger faced fury from supporters and mounting exasperation from pundits following his side’s latest capitulation against Crystal Palace.

Arsenal’s players were branded “cowards” after Monday’s 3-­0 loss at Selhurst Park, which left them seven points off the Champions League places in sixth place.

With Wenger refusing to address the subject of his future, the atmosphere around the club has become increasingly toxic.

Supporters hurled abuse at their own players during the defeat at Palace, while there were chants of: “We want Wenger out!”

In one second-­half flashpoint, a group of Arsenal fans refused to return the ball to Hector Bellerin at a throw-­in before chanting: “You’re not fit to wear the shirt!”

The full­-time whistle drew the now familiar displaying of “WENGER OUT” posters and banners by Arsenal’s fans.

Wenger and his squad were barracked as they boarded the team bus after the match and supporters on social media struggled to articulate their frustrations.

Theo Walcott, Arsenal’s captain on the night, apologised for “letting the fans down”.

Despite the rising crescendo of discontent, British media reports suggest Wenger, Arsenal’s manager since 1996, will accept the offer of a new contract from the club’s board.

The 67-­year­-old Frenchman once again batted away questions about his future after the game, saying he was “not in the mood” to discuss it.

But the impact of the uncertainty about his position on the team’s performances is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore, despite Wenger’s claims it has had no effect.

Arsenal have lost five of their last eight Premier League games and have been beaten in four successive away games for the first time in Wenger’s tenure.

It leaves them facing the prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1997.

They were eliminated from this season’s competition following a humiliating 10­2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the last 16. ­ ‘


Former Arsenal striker John Hartson believes Wenger has lost the magic touch that brought him three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in his first nine years at the club.

“I just think now it’s time for him to go,” Hartson told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It hurts me to say that because I like Arsene Wenger.

“Last night (Monday), you would call that performance inept. There was a lack of leadership, lack of togetherness. The players are playing as individuals. They don’t look like a team.”

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher delivered a particularly scathing assessment of Wenger’s players on Sky Sports .

“They bottle it, they’re cowards, they duck out of challenges,” Carragher said.

“The best description of the players was two years ago from Graeme Souness, who said they are a team of son-­in-­laws. But what father would want his daughter to bring one of them home?”

He also pointed the finger at star duo Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, labelling their recent performances “nothing short of embarrassing”.

Both Ozil and Sanchez are stalling over new contracts. Ozil indicated recently he will not commit his future to the club unless he knows whether or not Wenger is staying.

Arsenal great Ian Wright claimed on Twitter that the nature of Arsenal’s latest capitulation showed Wenger has “lost” the dressing room.

The back-­page headline in The Times, a riff on Palace’s nickname, read: “Eagles 3 Butterflies 0.”

The Daily Telegraph said the result at Selhurst Park represented “humiliation”, while The Sun asked of Wenger: “How can he stay after Selhurst shambles?”

Several newspapers said Arsenal had reached “a new low”.

Arsenal have a week off until their next league game, away to relegation-­threatened Middlesbrough, before tackling Manchester City in the FA Cup semi­finals at Wembley.

Wenger is bidding to win a record seventh FA Cup, but even that would be unlikely to drown out the howls of derision that are engulfing the club.

Arsene Wenger Applaud Fans Despite Protest

Arsenal following one win in six matches and a slide down the Premier League table, Arsene Wenger  who is under pressure  has faced calls to resign from some fans.

“I must say, despite all that has happened on the fans front, our fans were fantastic today,” said the Frenchman, whose side twice hit back to earn a draw against City.

“In very difficult moments our fans, at 1-0 down and 2-1 down, could have turned against us but I think they were absolutely sensational to get us through those difficult moments.”

Goals from Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi cancelled out efforts from Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero in a performance Wenger believed “built confidence to help us to come back to our natural fluency.”

Wenger, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has been offered a two-year extension and said on 18 March he will announce his future plans “very soon”.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme that Wenger “should declare his future for the good of the club.”

But when pressed on his future following Sunday’s draw, he said: “I’ve shown great loyalty and always committed. I don’t know how long I am here but I love the club and will do my best. I am clear in my mind, it will be soon, don’t worry.”

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

The Gunners face West Ham at home on Wednesday and then travel to Crystal Palace the following Monday.


Source: BBC sport

Arsene Wenger Says His Place At Arsenal Is Unstable

Arsene Wenger has given his strongest hint yet that he intends to stay on as Arsenal manager for another two years, but said the issue is “not sorted completely out.”

Wenger once again refused to make an announcement about whether he will renew his contract when it expires this summer, but reiterated that he knows what he wants to do.

He said at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s crucial Premier League game against Manchester City: “I am very clear in my mind, But anyway do I stay two months or two years? My commitment will be exactly the same. So the time I spend here does not influence at all my attitude.

“I’ve always been very clear in my mind and I will remain like that, but it’s a subject that is not sorted completely out.”

Wenger has come under heavy pressure following Arsenal’s recent slump in form that has seen the Gunners drop to sixth in the league. Some disgruntled fans have been staging protest marches before recent home games demanding that the club does not renew his deal.

Wenger had said after Arsenal’s 3-1 loss at West Brom before the international break that he had made a decision on his future and would announce it “very soon,” having previously said he would make a decision in late March or April.
Arsene Wenger has come under pressure from some fans.
But when pressed on when he will make an announcement, the Arsenal boss said: “I have nothing more than that… I spoke a lot about that and for me it’s exactly the same, I have to focus on what is important.”

He also rejected the notion that the uncertainty about his future is causing instability at the club.

“No. The priority in life is always to focus on what is important and not to look for excuses,” he said. “At the moment our results are not going the way we want, but as well we have to make sure that the priority for us is what happens on the pitch.

“Being professional is to perform on the football pitch and not to find escape excuses where I think there are not [any].”

A win over Man City would ease some of the pressure, but Arsenal will be without goalkeeper Petr Cech, who is still sidelined with a calf injury. Cech will also miss Wednesday’s home game against West Ham but could be back for the trip to Crystal Palace on April 10.

Lucas Perez is also out with a thigh problem, while Wenger confirmed Santi Cazorla will not return before the end of the campaign. Cazorla has been out since October and is recovering from foot surgery.

“I think the season is over for him,” Wenger said.

Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games and their chances of a top-four finish would take a further blow with another defeat against Pep Guardiola’s side. But Wenger promised that Arsenal will not move away from their normal attacking game.

“We come out of a difficult period and we play at home in a very big game. It’s a good opportunity for us to bounce back,” he said. “I think it’s two teams who, when you look at the numbers, have the best numbers of the final third in the league.

“That promises to be a very positive, attacking game. Both teams will attack — they go for it, we go for it, so it should be a promising game.”


Will Arsenal Ever Prevail Again?

When you talk of the most prestigious clubs in the history of English and world club football, the list will be inconclusive without London-based Arsenal.

The Emirates-based London club is the pride of hundreds of football fans around the world.

Arsenal was the first club from the south of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They continue the longest streak in the top division, having been relegated only once from the top-flight in their history.

Today Arsenal fans are probably the most disappointed fans in Europe, as they have now gone 12 years without being crowned champions of England, and considering recent developments, they do not seem to be at the end of the wait, this season at least!

On the international scene Arsenal’s form is far from being enviable as it has failed for years to go past the round of 16 in the Uefa Champions League, with its most recent defeat at the hands of German giants Bayern Munich, a cumulative 10-2 goals drubbing, humiliating to say the least.

I guess the most painful part of this defeat to Bayern was that many did not get the impression it was two teams from the same category at play, but rather a lower league v top league encounter!

However, credit should be given to this team for at least having been a regular qualifier out of the fiercely contested English Premier League to the Champions League year in and year out.

This feat is even more prestigious when one takes into consideration that current Premier League runaway leaders and dominators, Chelsea, failed to qualify to even the Europa League this season.

We all most probably have friends and family members who are Arsenal fans, and the question that comes from the ones I have are always the same after every weekend of Premier League encounters: Can we ever be dominant again in our lifetime, and when will the sad feelings stop?

Arsenal’s longest serving and in all fairness, arguably the most successful manager ever, Arsene Wenger is under serious pressure from most departments, as many see him as the fall guy when things go wrong.

Is this fair? Has he lost the winning formula? Would a manager change bring better fortune? Questions are endless.

Some die hard Arsenal fans believe that the lack of big name star players in the Arsenal squad is the reason why they are currently relatively unsuccessful, but the extraordinary conquest of the Premier League by financially modest Leicester City last season, and it’s continued success in the Champions league this year, seems to have killed this argument, or excuse as some say.


This is a monumentally traditional football club with an exceptional and massive fan base worldwide, with so much potential. Hence things staying like they are today in my opinion is merely temporary.

A better player recruitment system has to be put in place. Imagine a player like N’Golo Kanté in the central midfield of Arsenal? What a relief that would be to my favourite Arsenal player, Alexis Sanchez!

An improvement in their playing style and fighting mentality would go a long way in helping them win matches the ugly way, as every potential champion has to do every now and then.

I do not support calls for the exit of Arsene Wenger from the club, as it is not only unfair but probably ungrateful in some respects.

It is no secret that Arsenal is probably the most ‘financially sane’ football club in England, and this is all due to Wenger’s managerial style. It is also important to remember that Arsenal have won the FA Cup twice in the recent past.

On the contrary, Manchester United have had three new managers since the departure of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and even they, with almost a great deal more spent on player acquisitions, are far from being dominant as we speak.

One thing is for sure though, Arsenal will get back to the top sooner or later and in some ways I do pray for the Arsenal fans that rumours of current Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique’s arrival as the next manager of Arsenal are true, because he has shown with Barcelona that he is world class.

A retention of Wenger as director of some sorts could go a long way in making Arsenal dominant and financially stable at the same time.

One thing is obvious though, like in life, you cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. So for Arsenal to improve its fortunes, it has to change its ‘modus operandi’.

Source: Supersport

Wenger Decides to Extend his Contract With Arsenal

Beleaguered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has decided to stay at the club, according to British media reports on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror said Wenger will inform Arsenal’s board he wants to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis also said Wenger told him he intended to stay on after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

“I’ll be surprised if he goes,” Pulis told reporters after Saturday’s game, as revealed in Monday’s newspapers.

Asked why he thought Wenger would stay, Pulis replied: “Because he told me.”

Wenger, 67, has come under fire from fans after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and slipped out of the Premier League’s top four.

Supporters renewed calls for him to step down during and after the defeat at West Brom, with some holding up “WENGER OUT” banners.

Speaking after the game, Wenger said he had made up his mind about his future and would make his intentions public “very soon”.

Wenger, Arsenal’s manager since 1996, is believed to have been offered a new two-year contract.

Arsenal’s support is split over Wenger, who won seven trophies in his first nine seasons as manager but has won only two FA Cups in the 12 years since.

Rival groups of Arsenal supporters paid for planes trailing banners that were both critical and supportive of him to fly over the stadium during the game against West Brom.


The defeat at West Brom was Arsenal’s fourth in five league games and left them in sixth place in the Premier League table, six points below the Champions League places with two games in hand.

Wenger said his future at Arsenal was not contingent on the club securing a place in next season’s Champions League.

“My decision will not necessarily be linked with that because I’ve done the top four 20 times. It’s more. It’s not that,” he said.

“I take a bigger perspective than that. It’s not the last result that will decide what I will do.”

Arsene Wenger fights For Pre-Season Victory

Arsene Wenger takes his Arsenal side to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday knowing that anything other than victory will spark fresh calls for him to go after two decades in north London.

A 5-0 FA Cup victory over minnows Lincoln last Saturday briefly lifted the pressure on the Frenchman and sent Arsenal into the semifinals, welcome relief after a turbulent 2017.

But Wenger has been in football long enough to appreciate that intense speculation about his future and rumours of dressing-room discord will ramp up all over again if he fails to stop Arsenal’s rot in the Premier League.

“I know when you don’t win it’s not a happy week,” Wenger said.

“That’s part of our job. When you care about results and they are not what you want, it’s not a happy place.”

Winning the FA Cup and making the top four in the league is now the goal for Arsenal and Wenger, who is yet to commit to next year at the club.

But those aims are below the expectations of supporters who say Wenger has run out of ideas.

And even that target will not be easy with Wenger’s side fifth, five points away from the top four, and 16 points behind leaders Chelsea.

“Our job is to do as well as we can. We want to play Champions League next season. Six or seven fighting for the places,” Wenger said.

“How well we do will depend on that. Success is to get maximum from the potential of the team. Nothing is good enough anymore so you try to do as well as you can.”

Arsenal will give fitness tests to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs, but Wenger is boosted by the return of Mohamed Elneny after an ankle problem and he should be available for the trip to the Hawthorns.

Wenger says the trip to the midlands will not be an easy one against a side eighth in the Premier League.

“They have a big experience, they are well organised, physically very strong and very efficient on set-pieces,” he said.

“I think they’re the team who have scored more goals than anybody else on set-pieces.

“This season they’ve done very well in midfield. They have played very well and up front they have Hal Robson-Kanu and Salomon Rondon, who have done very well for them up front as well.

“It’s a very balanced team with a good size who are very equipped to deal with the Premier League.”

With 10 games to play West Brom’s only remaining challenge is proving to supporters that the mentality in the squad has changed and the bar has been raised.

Such has been the success of their season, the Baggies were effectively safe in the Premier League earlier than ever, having reached their initial target of 40 points before the end of February.

But after reaching that mark, they suffered a surprise home defeat to Crystal Palace and last week’s loss at Everton all but ended their hopes of European qualification via a seventh-place finish.

Last season ended with a poor run after survival was secured by early spring, but several players this season have spoken of amassing 50 points – a mark the club has never reached in the Premier League.

“It’s been a good season but we can’t let it go to waste and go on holiday early doors,” Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster said.

“We’ve got 10 games left now, we can’t let it go and turn into a damp squib. We’ve just got to keep it going.

“You’re playing Arsenal, it’s like Everton, if they’ve got some individual players who are having a good day they can just tear you apart.”

Arsene Wenger Says “Rule Changes is Dangerous in Football”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that while the introduction of technology and other rule changes may benefit the sport in certain cases there is a real danger that football could become a “stop-and-go game”.

The International Football Association Board have recommended trialling video replays next season and have considered introducing sin-bins for yellow card offences as well as changing the format of the penalty shootout.

Goal-line technology was introduced in the Premier League in the 2013-14 season and teams are now allowed to field a fourth substitute in extra time in the latter stages of this year’s FA Cup.

“We have to take care that the game remains fluent and dynamic, and that there are not too many stoppages in the game, especially if we go to video (replays) as well,” Wenger told the club’s website.

“We have spoken many times about this in managers’ meetings in Geneva. There are pros and cons, but you do not want to interrupt the game too much if you make more substitutions,” Wenger added.

“It can become a tactical weapon as well to slow the game down.”

Arsenal, who are fifth in the league, travel to face eighth-placed West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.


Source: Supersport

‘Arsenal Must Stop Fighting Each Other’

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has acknowledged the disharmony within the club’s ranks by declaring it is time for Arsene Wenger’s players to stop “fighting each other”, considering the last match that was played by the club and the issue with one of the fan, on the match day, and within themselves on the training ground.

Reports emerged last week that star player Alexis Sanchez had become involved in a blazing training-ground row with some of his teammates.

Wenger said the reports were “completely false”, but speaking after Arsenal’s humiliating Champions League exit against Bayern Munich, Walcott admitted all was not well within the camp.

“There are certain things that happen at training grounds,” Walcott said, in comments published by the London Evening Standard newspaper on Wednesday.

“I’m sure it happens at every other training ground, most of the time, really. You don’t see it often at Arsenal.

“Things have happened. They need to stay in the dressing room and the players and staff need to sort it out. We are in it together here. We can’t be fighting each other.”

Sanchez came in for criticism on social media after television pictures appeared to show him laughing following his substitution during Arsenal’s 5-1 home defeat by Bayern on Tuesday.

The result completed a 10-2 aggregate defeat that saw Wenger’s side eliminated from the competition in the round of 16 for the seventh season in a row.

Wenger, Arsenal’s manager since September 1996, is out of contract at the end of the season and is due to make an announcement about his future either this month or next.

Some fans have called for him to step down, but Walcott said the players had to take responsibility for the club’s predicament as well.

“He (Wenger) will take this on himself, but us players need to look at ourselves,” said the England forward, who put Arsenal 1-0 up in Tuesday’s second leg.

“The manager has been taking a lot of flak in recent weeks and us players have been accepting it, but we can’t.

“We need to take the pressure off the manager and that will happen by performances. Who knows what the manager will do? Players just want to play football for this club and do well for the manager.”



Source: Supersport- football

Wenger: I Ill Decide If To Sell Alexis Sanchez Or Not

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has said Alexis Sanchez cannot force his way out of the club this summer.

The Chile attacker is being targeted by Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, after he was dropped for the trip to Liverpool last Saturday.

Alexis could be recalled for Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, but Wenger says only the club can decide to sell or not.

Wenger said: “Alexis has 15 months of his contract so the decision of will he be here or not will depend completely on Arsenal Football Club and not on anybody else.”

The Frenchman also insisted that the player was left out, because he wanted to play “direct” at Anfield.

Wenger added: “I explained after the game at Liverpool that I decided to go for a more direct option in the game. That’s what happened. That was the unique reason for my decision.

“All the rest, his attitude – he’s a committed player and sometimes has excessive behaviours but you have that many times in the history of every squad.

“It’s about the team performance, not individuals. It’s a team sport and the most important thing is that we focus on our collective. Our game is built on collective expression. That is the most important thing, that we focus on what’s important and not the individual.

“Alexis played in all the games and when we didn’t perform away from home, we lost as well. We lost at City, United and Chelsea, and that’s what I think is the most important thing, to focus and produce as a team.”

Arsenal Boss, Wenger Praises Iwobi

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has again paid glowing praise of Nigeria youngster Alex Iwobi, describing him as “fearless and very mobile” after he notched his second Premier League goal today.

Nephew of legendary Nigeria star Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Iwobi scored after 38 minutes as Arsenal swept past Watford 4-0 at the Emirates.

“He has been here (Arsenal) since he was seven or eight. He’s fearless and very mobile,” Wenger saluted the Nigeria international after his latest exploit.

“I am pleased with his talent, but even more with his attitude and willingness to learn.”

The 19-year-old forward has made seven appearances for ‘The Gunners’ in his debut season in the Premier League – two starts and five as a sub.