Monday 11 December 2017

The 11 moments this season that caused Arsenal fans to turn on Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

With no chance of silverware, Arsenal fans are facing up to the prospect of another season of under-achievement and Arsene Wenger is under more pressure than ever. So how did Arsenal get to this point where fans no longer seem to trust their once beloved manager?

Opening day defeat

New season. Same old problems. The signing of Petr Cech was heralded as a watershed moment for Arsenal; providing a steeliness and experience that had been lacking in previous seasons.

But a 2-0 defeat to West Ham on the opening day of the season was an early indicator that Arsenal - and Arsene Wenger by extension - had failed to banished the team's inherent frailties. Boos rang around the Emirates for the first time this season; but by no means would it be the last.

End of the summer transfer window

Arsene Wenger again angered fans with a typically passive summer transfer window. Only Mohamed Elneny was brought in to supplement the squad, with Wenger claiming there was nobody in the world available who would improve the team.

With an annual turnover of £300m, the Arsenal Supporters' Trust voiced the thoughts of many disgruntled Gooners when they said: "Just one or two more good additions would have strengthened the chances of winning a first title in 11 years." Instead, a largely unknown Egyptian holding midfielder remained Arsene Wenger's only outfield summer addition.

Welbeck injury blow

Arsene Wenger's decision to abstain from buying a striker in August came back to bite him when Danny Welbeck was revealed to have sustained a new injury.

The news left Arsenal with just one frontline striker, OIivier Giroud, with the majority of the league and cup competitions left to play. The devastating revelation made Wenger's stubborn stance on spending even more difficult to swallow for supporters.

Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique (L) challenges Arsenal's English striker Danny Welbeck during the UEFA Champions League clash

Missing out on Martial

To the chagrin of fans, Arsene Wenger admitted he had passed up on the opportunity to sign Manchester United's Anthony Martial. Injury to Danny Welbeck had meant Arsenal would have to rely solely on Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to provide goals.

When quizzed on Manchester United's new signing, who had made an immediate impact on debut, the Arsenal manager, to the fury of fans, admitted he had been tracking the French starlet since a young age; but was unaware Monaco were open to selling him. Arsenal fans were left wondering what might have been.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial

Resting Petr Cech

Arsene Wenger invited fresh criticism with his ill-advised decision to rest Petr Cech for Arsenal's crucial Champions League tie with Olympiakos. Cech had impressed since arriving at the Emirates, and eyebrows were raised when Wenger decided to play David Ospina in what was a must-win game.

The decision backfired as the second string keeper proved culpable for at least one of the Greek side's three goals. As it was, Arsenal were able to qualify for the knockout rounds, but the incident caused many to question Wenger's decision-making.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will be out for three to four weeks

Insult to injury

In typical Arsenal style, they followed a miraculous midweek triumph against Bayern Munich with a humbling Capital One cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

The loss was compounded by a mini injury crisis at Hillsborough. In farcical scenes, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain replaced the injured Theo Walcott only to pull up minutes later with a hamstring strain. The England international would go on to claim he had not been given the forewarning to warm-up properly. The debacle did little to dispel the feeling that Arsenal players are prone to injury under Wenger.

Alexis Sanchez pulls-up

Just days after Arsene Wenger resisted calls to rest Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal were rocked when the Chilean broke down at Carrow Road. The Frenchman later insisted he should take the blame for the injury.

Arsenal 3_3.jpg
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring the second goal for Arsenal. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images

St Stephen's Day defeat

It wasn't so much the 4-0 defeat which worried fans, as much as Arsene Wenger's reaction to it. For the first time, but not the last, the Arsenal manager questioned a worrying lack of "hunger" in his players.

Fans turn on Wenger mid-match

After receiving a flood of criticism in the wake of their Old Trafford defeat, Arsene Wenger was hoping a home game with Swansea would help rescue their season. Having put the hosts ahead at the Emirates, Joel Campbell was substituted on the 65-minute mark, prompting resounding boos from perplexed Arsenal fans.

Ten minutes later Ashley Williams poked Swansea in front, and Arsene Wenger was left having to defend a decision that seemed to defy logic. "Campbell hasn’t played for a while and he started to tire," he said.

Wenger lashes out at a legend

With Arsenal''s falling apart at the seams, Arsene Wenger turned on the club's all-time leading goalscorer, Thierry Henry. Arsene Wenger said the ex-Arsenal striker didn't speak for the fans when he claimed supporters were angrier than he had ever seen them during defeat to Swansea. Unfortunately for Arsene, he did.

Arsene Wenger, left, believes former Arsenal captain Thierry Henry, right, is wrong about the strength of his squad

FA Cup ignominy

The game in which Arsenal's season all but ended and the weight of pressure on Arsene Wenger intensified. The Arsenal manager picked the strongest team available to him; but the performance demonstrated Arsenal's soft underbelly was still clear for everyone to see - all except Arsene Wenger.

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