Report claims to reveal how 'choked up' Arsenal players staged meeting to discuss Arsene Wenger crisis
Arsenal players were reported to have staged a 'crisis meeting' without any of the club's coaching staff last Tuesday and now a story in the Guardian is claiming to reveal details of what what was said.
Reporter David Hytner has published a detailed account of the meeting that is thought to have taken place last Tuesday, with Arsenal players seemingly admitting they 'need more' from the club's coaching staff.
The story suggests emotional Arsenal players tried to offer rallying speeches after last Sunday's Carabao Cup final defeat against Manchester City, with Wenger's enduring reign as manager a topic of debate.
"The speech was delivered by one of the senior players in the Arsenal dressing room but he did not finish it," stated the report. "He was too choked up as he reflected on how such a talented squad had come to resemble a bunch of drifters. He said his children were asking him why Arsenal were so bad. That was the moment when the tears welled in his eyes.
"The meeting of the players at London Colney was not aggressive in its tone, even if there were frank exchanges. It was more plaintive; coloured by soul-searching and a certain helplessness. It shone a glaring light on why Wenger’s time as the manager is up."
Wenger has yet to give any indication that he is ready to step down as the club's manager after his near 22-year reign, despite a rising tide of animosity building against the legendary tactician.
Brighton, unbeaten in all competitions home or away since January 20, are next up and Arsenal, with Wenger accepting his side head into the game depleted of confidence.
"Yes," he replied when asked if the confidence issue fed into the lowly return on their travels. "Certainly it is and that is down to us to change it. I am always ready for a fight. I am of course very disappointed but I have experienced these situations before.
"I have been in these situations in my life and I know what it takes. Experience and the desire to change things. Does that desire still burn as strongly? Of course."
Wenger hinted that he could freshen up his side for Sunday's game on the south coast following a draining week of defeats.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to retain his place as he is unavailable to feature against former club AC Milan in the Europa League as he is ineligible in that competition.
Jack Wilshere could again miss out with an ankle injury but, despite conceding he will pick a team with one eye of the opening leg of the last 16 tie in Italy next week, Wenger is still not ready to focus solely on the Europa League as a route back into the Champions League.
"Team selection always takes in mind the game after, yes," he added.
"You always have the next game in mind when you have so many games in a row. We are in the situation where first we need to win the next game rather than do the calculations."