Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal’s fans that they must get behind the team if they want to succeed this season, whilst refusing to rule out a challenge for the Premier League table.
The Gunners succumbed to successive league defeats last week, and fans have started to turn on Wenger having fallen to a whopping 12 points behind league leaders Chelsea.
The Frenchman has now called for fans to come together and support the team, and has called for his players to step-up and fight, using the competition for places as incentive to give their all.
“Competition is first of all a mental thing,” he said. “When you are a little boy you want a chance in life to show that you have quality. When you have it, don’t feel sorry for yourself, just show that you have it. That’s what it’s about.
“When you are in a competition you fight. You fight as far as you can.
“We are in a double fight, because we are in a fight to be in the top four. But we have to fight like we want to catch Chelsea, or you have no fuel. You have to refuse to give up.
“The players believe. We have 47 points, so that means we have won some games. Is it the hardest challenge yet to reach the top four? I’ll tell you at the end of the season. It’s hard of course but we have enough quality to do it. It has always been difficult but maybe it’s even tighter than ever.
“The title race is never over. We cannot behave or think like that. Even if people think it is, I don’t. We are in a pack that is very tight, where the fight for every position will be massive.
“If it is over for us, it’s over for everybody else. First we have to focus on staying at the top, then if we can reduce the distance between us and Chelsea after, you never know.”
“Our fans have a high level of expectation, as I have. But you cannot be a fan until last Tuesday [Watford] and not be a fan any more, not be behind the team on Saturday. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
““All the other clubs, everywhere we fight, with Man United, Man City, Liverpool, they have big expectations as well. We absolutely have to be united or we have no chance.
“You have Tottenham, everyone is in the fight, and everyone is behind their team. We have to do exactly the same.
“What is important is that we focus on the next game and not give too much importance to one fan. It’s not me at stake, it’s Arsenal Football Club and Arsenal’s season at stake.
“It’s important that you have different opinions, that always happens. But what matters is not the opinions of people, it is the next result, and how we respond to a difficult situation. This is a period where we have to stick together.”
We have endured a tough couple of weeks now, and Wenger is right, we must rally behind our side and help them get over this slump. All the sides in the top six have endured slumps, and ours is nothing in comparison to Liverpools.
If we can help our side to win this weekend, we will be well back on track for our place in the top four, and will hopefully be within touching distance of Chelsea for when they finally slip up.
How long can Chelsea keep up their relentless streak for? Do we have to doubt our top four credentials?