As if there was not already more than enough pressure on Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal team going in to an FA cup quarter-final, our relatively poor away form and Manchester United´s good home form are making the game look a really tricky obstacle.
So the last thing the Arsenal boss wants to hear is that his job could be on the line as well. But that is what the former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson has claimed in a report by the Daily Star.
The football pundit even thinks that another FA cup triumph at Wembley may not be enough to save Wenger´s Arsenal career if he fails to finish in the top four for the first time in 17 years. So Merson believes that the pressure is really on both Wenger and his opposite number Louis van Gaal to deliver a win tonight, or at the very least to not lose.
The former Gunner wrote, “Whichever manager loses out when Manchester United and Arsenal clash in their FA Cup quarter-final will be under severe pressure.
“Whoever goes out of the cup will just be playing for the top four – and neither team is guaranteed to finish in there this season.
“You can’t tell me that either of those managers will still be in a job next season if they go out of the cup and don’t finish in the top four.
“Van Gaal has spent a fortune and has to qualify for the Champions League. Winning the FA Cup might save him. Not doing either? It’s goodbye.
“But I don’t think winning the FA Cup would be enough to save Wenger if they don’t finish in the top four again.
“Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League for so many years in a row that it would be a disaster if they missed out now.
“I’m not saying they’d sack him, but they would pull him aside and ask him to resign.”
No pressure Arsene. However, at least Merson does give the Gunners a good chance of turning over a poor United side he thinks are playing badly and heading for a good hiding at some point. He backs Olivier Giroud to have a field day against the United defence, while none of United´s big money signings have delivered.
So maybe Wenger has no need to worry after all.