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Wenger faces fan fury as Arsenal slump worsens

Furious Arsenal fans barracked manager Arsene Wenger and misfiring players after the team suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of Crystal Palace

football Updated: Apr 12, 2017 01:02 IST
Arsenal Football Club
Arsene Wenger’s wretched season hit a new low after Arsenal suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace. (REUTERS)

London 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 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the last 16.

- ‘Time to go’ -

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.