As I’m sure you’ll all be aware, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is currently serving a four match touch line ban, after the FA decided to punish Le Prof for his conduct during Arsenal’s 2-1 dramatic win over Burnley.
Wenger was alleged to have used “abusive and/or insulting words towards a fourth official”, when FA referee Jon Moss awarded Burnley a late penalty. Burnley scored the subsequent spot kick and it brought the game to what looked to finish at a 1-1 draw. Wenger, in frustration, made his way towards the tunnel, before appearing to push fourth official Anthony Taylor after being told he couldn’t watch the game from there. Wenger’s actions got him caught up in an FA conduct hearing, in which they decided to charge him with a four match ban.
Wenger is currently two games into the ban, having found himself away from the technical area for both the FA Cup win against Southampton and the lacklustre 2-1 defeat to Watford on Tuesday night. This weekend’s Premier League clash against Chelsea is set to be vital in the title race, with Chelsea now steamrolling ahead of the Gunners; and the match will be Wenger’s third game he has had to sit out. However I think this weekend could spell a little trouble for not just Arsenal, but for the Frenchman as well.
It’s been revealed today that Arsene Wenger is likely to be sitting with the Chelsea fans this Saturday, suggesting that it won’t be the most comfortable of atmospheres for the boss. Now of course he isn’t going to be seated next to any Tom, Dick or Harry that happens to be a fan of CFC, but he will be amongst a crowd that’s likely to give him quite a hostile reception.
Wenger would normally sit in the Directors box for matches where he is unable to be on the touch line, however at Stamford Bridge, the directors box is on the other side of the stadium to where the dressing rooms are. The dressing rooms are located underneath the East stand of the stadium, whilst the directors box sits in the West Stand. In order for Wenger to complete his obligational duties, including team talks before the match and at half time, it would prove difficult for Wenger in regards to time, if he was to be seated elsewhere.
It’s understood that Chelsea have been putting plans in place to have the surrounding rows controlled with match day stadium officials, ensure the safety and security of Wenger. Arsenal are also reportedly set to bring their own set of security to be seated around the manager. It may seem all a little much when at the end of the day the majority of fans are there to watch a game of football. However sadly there’s always a few individuals that are sure to create quite an atmosphere and it’s a risk that clearly Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are willing to take.
Although not in the same circumstances, it brings back memories as to when Wenger was sent to the stands at Old Trafford. Wenger was just stood amongst the fans not knowing where to go or what to do. On that day of course there was no planning or preparation in effect given that he was ‘sent off’ during the match. Let’s hope this time around that there’s a little more preparation for Wenger and I’m not just talking about in the stands, but on the pitch as well after Tuesday’s awful display.