Free Press Journal

Arsene Wenger worried as Arsenal fans stay away


London : Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal are struggling to win back their furious fans after thousands stayed away from the 3-0 Premier League win over Watford.

For the second successive game at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal played in front of vast swathes of empty red seats on Sunday.

Arsenal blamed heavy snow for the low attendance in their recent defeat against Manchester City, but the no-show against Watford could only be put down to a fatal combination of anger and apathy after another miserable season.

“Must be -4 and snowing again at the Emirates,” Manchester United legend Gary Neville, now a prominent pundit, tweeted soon after kick-off.

But Wenger, as he fights to keep his job, conceded he could understand why Arsenal supporters are so frustrated by their team’s wretched run.

“There is a lot of negativity. It is like rain in England, it is easy to get,” he said.

 “Of course I worry because I want our fans to be behind the team, but after what happened in that week it is understandable.

“We want to have the fans on our side and we do everything to make that happen.

 “I respect everyone’s opinion but I focus totally on my job.”

The stay-aways missed a solid Arsenal performance as goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats.

But the win did little to improve Arsenal’s prospects of a top-four finish — which brings qualification for the Champions League — and won’t carry much weight with supporters who feel ending Wenger’s 22-year reign is the only way to get their club back on track. Without a league title since 2004, Wenger is clinging to the hope that reaching the Champions League by winning this season’s Europa League will spare him the axe.

But the drab atmosphere at Sunday’s game gave it an ‘end of an era’ feel that will persist until Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis conduct the end-of-season review that will decide Wenger’s fate.