Arsenal manager was reportedly left surprised by the levels of abuse that came his way during the team’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, and the Frenchman’s own behaviour is said to have left the players “baffled.”
According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, Wenger was left “shell-shocked” as invective was flung his way during the game against the Eagles, when Arsenal failed to cling on in the title race after Leicester City dropped points earlier in the day.
“According to witnesses, it was some of the worst, loudest and most abusive [stick] that Wenger has ever suffered during his 19 years at Arsenal. They told him to ‘f–k off’ and urged him to go now as the mood among fans has turned nasty at the Emirates.”
Cross noted the manager is keen to see out the final year of his current contract.
Arsenal let more points slip on Sunday.
Additionally, Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph has reported that Wenger’s choices are beginning to frustrate the Arsenal players, too. They are said to be “baffled” after the manager opted to give the team a day off in the wake of the Palace draw.
“The decision was met with a sense of surprise and bewilderment, as Arsenal face a must-win game against West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates on Thursday night,” Law added. “… Wenger’s training schedule is not the only thing that has raised questions within Arsenal recently, as his team selections and substitutions have also left players and staff members scratching their heads.”
The fans are certainly growing tired of the situation at the club, with Leicester, rivals Tottenham Hotspur and now Manchester City ahead of the Gunners in the league table. After dropping points for the second successive game, Arsenal now face a fight to finish in the top four, with Manchester United breathing down their necks four points back.
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Wenger’s decision making has reportedly left players confused.
Football 365’s Daniel Storey put Wenger’s recent efforts in perspective when compared to that of Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino:
“Pochettino took over when Spurs had finished 10 pts behind Arsenal. Made profit on transfers since while Wenger spent £80m. 18-point swing.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) April 18, 2016”
The success of Spurs seems to have cast a more intense spotlight on Wenger in recent weeks, as Arsenal continue to underwhelm.
There’s a swell of supporters who seem to be keen on saying farewell to their iconic boss. Banners in the crowd are commonplace at both the Emirates and away trips, with many feeling as though his storied stint at the club has now run its course. If Spurs were to go on and win the title, that section of the fanbase would only grow in number.
Sports writer Chris Smith thinks there’s been a change in tone when it comes to Wenger’s overall demeanour, too:
“Wenger’s interviews have been exceptionally negative of late. Granted he’s had reason but they can’t have helped his struggling team.
— Chris Smith (@cdsmith789) April 17, 2016”
While many will encourage Arsenal fans to be careful what they wish for and point to Manchester United’s demise after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, that case alone shouldn’t be enough to curtail standards and ambitions.
The Gunners seem to have stood still for a while now.
A change, could happen in the near future with the manager’s contract running down. Although it seems plenty at the Emirates would be happy to see this occur before Wenger potentially walks away at the end of next season.