'If Leicester or Spurs win the League, Arsene Wenger has to go' - Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be forced bring down the curtain on his enduring reign as the club’s manager if Leicester or Tottenham finish this season as Premier League champions.
Merson, who worked under Wenger’s watch following the Frenchman's arrival at the club in 1996, suspects the pressure will mount on him to step down as Arsenal manager if his side fail to make the most of their opportunity to end a 12-year wait for a Premier League title.
After a 3-2 defeat against Manchester United on Sunday, Arsenal’s title hopes appear to be floundering once again, with Merson suggesting this is Wenger’s last chance to claim domestic glory as he approaches the 20th anniversary of his appointment as Gunners boss.
“If Man City don’t win the league and Tottenham or Leicester do then Arsene Wenger has to go,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“If you’re sitting there telling those fans - loyal Arsenal fans - that they don’t need any new players at the start of the season and then you don’t win the league in front of Leicester or Tottenham then I don’t see how you can justify it.
“If Man City win the league he can turn around and say ‘they’ve got all the money in the world and can go and buy whoever they want, so would whoever I bought have made much difference?’
“But if Leicester or Tottenham win the league after he said they didn’t need any players then I don’t see how he can keep his job.”
Merson claims that Wenger’s side were over-confident as they headed into a game against an injury depleted United at Old Trafford, with the defeat leaving them five points behind leaders Leicester.
“Arsenal had 12 cup finals to play, but they went out on Sunday with an attitude of ‘it’s only Man United and they’ve got loads of injuries and kids playing, so we’ll breeze through this game’,” he added.
“It just frustrates me and it absolutely does my head in. People point to the players, but the manager has to get the players up for these games.
"Man United might be fifth and not having a good season, but it’s still Man United in front of 75,000 people.”
Merson’s former Arsenal team-mate Ian Wright was equally scathing of Wenger, as he suggested the Gunners boss was wrong to point the finger of blame at the referee for his side’s defeat against United.
“It’s like when naughty kids come round your house,” Wright told the BBC. “If you continuously let them get away with doing naughty stuff, they’re going to keep doing it.
“Him saying stuff like this makes them think; ‘Oh it’s OK’. But they should be going back on the coach thinking; ‘I had an opportunity today’. They should have taken that opportunity.”
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.