Thursday 19 September 2019

Arsenal Christmas party cancelled after senior players warn of fan backlash

It's been a tough few weeks for Arsenal
It's been a tough few weeks for Arsenal

Samuel Lovett

Following in the footsteps of West Ham and Swansea, Arsenal have decided to cancel their annual Christmas party.

On the back of two consecutive Premier League defeats to Everton and Manchester City, senior players such as Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny have advised against staging the traditional fancy dress event.

With the Gunners nine points behind league leaders Chelsea and suffering from a recent dip in form, Cech and Koscielny felt that a Christmas do could be taken badly by fans, the Daily Mirror reports.

A number of Arsenal players, accompanied by their partners, have already been out together for low-key Christmas celebrations, but there won’t be a repeat of last year’s outing in fancy dress.

This follows Slaven Bilic’s decision to cancel West Ham staff’s own Christmas party.

Although the Croatian admitted he has no problem players celebrating, he warned his team not to get ahead of themselves with a number of big games looming on the horizon.

"There is nothing wrong with having a couple of beers at the right time, after the game," said Bilic.

"I want (the players) to be mentally free, I want them to enjoy their lives. I want them to enjoy that we had six points from these two demanding games.

"I (will) take my staff out but I told them, 'No Christmas party.'

"We can have a Christmas party in January or February, let's do the business first, because I want to enjoy that night out."

While West Ham’s past two fixtures ended in welcome victory, it was a very different story for Arsenal.

The Gunners slumped to a painful 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium last Sunday, despite pulling ahead in the opening five minutes courtesy of Theo Walcott’s goal.

This followed another 2-1 loss at Goodison Park as Arsene Wenger’s men once again threw away their lead to concede all three points.

The club will be boosted by the news that striker Danny Welbeck has returned to training, however.

The England international has been sidelined since injuring his right knee during Arsenal’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Manchester City on 8 May.

Wenger confirmed the news on Friday morning, stating: "It is fantastic. For him, it is like starting a new career because he has been out for such a long time."

Independent News Service

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