Belfast Telegraph

Wenger Arsenal reign in meltdown, says Ian Wright

By Jim van Wijk

Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Arsene Wenger's reign at the club is "imploding".

Ragged Arsenal conceded five second-half goals to Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium last night to slump to a 5-1 loss in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, going down 10-2 on aggregate.

"He looks like a lost man... it just seems to be mounting up. You've got the fans, the protests. It's imploding," said Wright.

He added: "It's a sad day because we've gone out again at this stage and we're going through a period in our history which is the worst that I can ever remember."

Wright —  who scored 185 goals in 288 appearances for the Gunners between 1991 and ‘98 — added: “I think with everything that’s going on, in the dressing room, performances, you have to say it will take some monumental effort, some cataclysmic effort for Arsenal to turn it round in respect of the attitude of the players and the drive and determination.

“It seems like something is coming to an end.”

Wenger, however, claimed Arsenal are in “great shape”, despite suffering the second-worst defeat in Champions League history.

For the third time in a row, Arsenal suffered a humiliating 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich, consigning them to a 10-2 aggregate defeat that is only beaten by Sporting Lisbon’s record 12-1 demolition — also at the hands of the Bavarian giants.

But despite watching his side implode, Wenger was keen to praise his players for showing “spirit and pride”. It was a strange claim that not even the most devout Arsenal fan could agree with.

After being asked about his own future and whether he had just managed his final match for Arsenal in the Champions League, he responded: “I don’t know. You always worry for headlines, I’m here to speak about football not about my future.”

Yet he seemed reluctant to accept there is a problem at Arsenal. Before the match, around 400 fans gathered outside the old Highbury East Stand to protest against Wenger’s reign and called for him to leave at the end of the season.

Upon Arturo Vidal’s second goal that secured the 5-1 victory for Bayern, the “Wenger Out” signs once again appeared in the Clock End, and Alexis Sanchez’s reaction to the final goal appeared to be one of resigned humour.

But there is no problem, according to Wenger.

“What needs to change at this club? What do you mean?” Wenger responded to a question about the deep-rooted issues that the club clearly harbours.

“This club is in a great shape, at the moment it’s going through a very difficult situation. So what needs to change is the result in the next game.

“We can compete with Bayern, we showed that in the first half. The second half was difficult.

“Overall Bayern is a good team. Nobody can compete with them,” added Wenger, whose side host minnows Lincoln in an FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Belfast Telegraph


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