There is no doubt about it. There has been a vast wave of anger directed at the Arsenal players, and most of all at Arsene Wenger, in the few days since the defeat at Old Trafford. Has it been productive? That is the big question…
Wenger thinks that the anger shouldn’t come from the fans and they should stand shoulder to shoulder and support the players until the last game of the season, and hopefully we will still walk away with the title in the end. “I’m never surprised by the criticism that comes – that’s part of the media today,” the French manager said on Arsenal.com. “Part of the opinion is always a bit excessive and emotional, but we have to deal with that and I don’t complain about it.
“Yes, that’s what we want to do [and use criticism as motivation]. We want to transform the negatives into positives around us and create even more solidarity.
“Let’s not go overboard, we do not play to be relegated. We are playing to fight for the title. That’s why we have to put criticism in the right place. After 20 years I’m used to it.
“We have built this club, and it has been built before me, with values. What we try to do is respect these values and when we are disappointed we need to show these values and clarity to fight together.
“What you want from your fans is to fight together until the last game of the season. What we have learnt from the league is that it is very tight, that everybody can drop points, and the teams – and the fans – who can show togetherness and solidarity until the end, might come out of it in a positive way.
“That’s what we want, to fight together until the last game of the season and not give up when you have a bad game or a bad result. That’s what fans and players and teams and clubs are about.”
Now that we have all had a few days to let the setback of defeat sink in, we should also remember that there are still 33 points to be fought for and we are now just six points behind Leicester, which could be reduced to three if we beat Swansea tonight. That is far from failure. But do we believe that criticising the team and booing them will make them play better at the Emirates tonight?
Wenger wants everyone to think and act positively and not throw in the towel after every defeat.“I think competition means you can never give up,” he said. “That goes for support as well.
“Overall, we need our supporters to be behind the team tomorrow night because it’s a very big game and it’s important that we have our fans behind the team.
“What makes me angry is to lose the game. That makes me angry and frustrated. The reaction, I know now what to expect.
“My job is to give importance to what is important and I think, in general, intelligence is to give importance to what is important. I know that, by experience, that your opinions change.
“Football is a pleasure. We should not forget that.
“Football is fantastic as well because it’s unpredictable and not mathematical. We have to accept that it’s like that and that it is fantastic like that.”
Let’s get behind the team tonight, get the three points, and see where we go after that shall we?