I very much doubt whether the attempt by Arsene Wenger to curtail the planned protest from Arsenal fans today will have any effect, unless his ill advised decision to suggest that the Gunners’ failures at home were down to the atmosphere created by the fans rather than their lack of grit, ability, spirit or tactics actually make the protest bigger and louder than it would have been.
But has the manager got a point about the negativity in the ground being the last thing the players need right now with a fight on their hands to secure a top three or at the very least a top four finish. The Frenchman has received some backing from the former Arsenal and England international midfield star Ray Parlour, who has been reported in the Evening Standard suggesting that it would be best if any protest today was made after the must win match with Norwich City is over.
Parlour said, “Is there pressure on Wenger? Of course there is. There is always going to be pressure on managers who are expected to challenge for the title. Now Arsenal obviously got that draw last week against Sunderland and the supporters are getting a little bit frustrated with the team.
“There is supposed to be a demonstration after the game. I am hoping they do it after the game and not during it because it is still a big game for Arsenal, as they still have to try and stay in that top four.
“It has been a frustrating season for Arsenal. They are looking above them and seeing Spurs and Leicester doing so well and they really wanted to go for the title this season.
“It is going to be interesting to see, but I am expecting Arsenal at the Emirates to get all three points.
“But it is going to be tricky as Norwich are fighting for their lives at the bottom alongside Newcastle and Sunderland. With the quality they have and with it being at the Emirates, that will be the difference, so it’s an Arsenal win for me.”
It certainly needs to be with Man United only five points behind and with a game in hand on Arsenal. Would it really make any less of a statement to Wenger or to Stan Kroenke and the Arsenal board if the fans were to protest at the final whistle instead of during the game?
I certainly do not agree with the theory that it might be better if Arsenal do fail to make the top four in order to force Wenger out, because for one thing I don’t think it would, and for another I want us to be in the Champions League and not being in could have negative consequences.
Wenger and Parlour clearly want what is best for the club from the game today, so might they be right about this protest?