There is light at the end of the tunnel with injured players returning, and the FA Cup and Champions League ties are fast approaching which can provide the opportunity to regain some confidence and push for some silverware, but the fans need to be behind Wenger and his side, not against them.
Here is Ian Wrights full article as featured in The Sun:
LIKE all fans, Arsenal supporters like a good grumble.
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But they are actually extremely tolerant and patient, particularly when you compare them to regulars at many other Premier League clubs.
Arsene Wenger was booed by a massive number of supporters in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United due to his decision to replace the excellent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with Andrey Arshavin.
The intensity of the jeering may have been a surprise to some but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
What with six seasons without a trophy, expensive season tickets and the fact this team is nowhere near the top of the league.
Defeats to Fulham and Swansea were bad enough yet against United, here was a young kid with bags of talent having a great game getting taken off. The fact United ended up winning — with fingers pointing at Arshavin for the goal — made matters worse.
Wenger had his reasons for replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain but you have to look at the wider issue and that Arsenal now face a major struggle to make the Champions League.
It is maybe understandable that over time, Arsenal fans — like United and Chelsea ones — have got used to finishing in the top four.
I still feel Chelsea could be caught. However, there is a realisation among the fans that their side could face some trips to random towns on the continent in next season’s Europa League.
And Tottenham’s success this term has made things more painful. If they finish third or even fourth, they will celebrate and claim the campaign has been a major success, while Arsenal have been finishing in these spots — and higher — for years.
Yet the fact Spurs are still 10 points ahead of Arsenal proves Wenger needs to make some major improvements while there are maybe a couple of players who need to be moved on. The jeering was a case of the locals making a big point to their manager.
These actions were totally understandable and sometimes it’s not a bad thing for fans to voice their disapproval providing it’s a one-off.
Also, I could see why Robin van Persie was frustrated with the substitution as there is so much pressure on him to score and the skipper recognises Oxlade- Chamberlain is a help for him.
But it’s important for the negativity to end right now. And I’m confident Arsenal’s fans will get behind the team and not turn on Wenger.
I know some people are tearing their hair out after Wenger hinted he is unlikely to spend in the transfer window. But even though the team needs strengthening — that’s clear for anyone to see — rushing out next week and making some rash signing would not be the answer.
This happened on August 31 last year and I’m not sure whether Arsenal really benefited.
Mikel Arteta has done OK — while the jury is out on Per Mertesacker and Yossi Benayoun has not really been given a chance.
So I wouldn’t say they have all been amazing successes. Arsenal have been hit badly by injuries and having four full-backs crocked is crazy.
But Jack Wilshere is coming back, among others, while I like the central defensive partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, who is turning into a Nemanja Vidic-type player at the back.
Arsenal are on a bad run in the league and it certainly isn’t good enough. But as they have already proved this season, they are just as likely to go on a really good run and still have a major chance in the FA Cup — Sunday’s home game with Aston Villa is massive.
Also, it’s easy to forget Arsenal still have a huge tie against AC Milan in the Champions League and both Manchester United and Manchester City would certainly be happy to swap places.
Oxlade-Chamberlain will continue to develop over the next few months.
He proved against United he is capable of causing major damage against the big teams, so he will be a terrific asset.
I accept why Arsenal fans wanted him to stay on against United and the lad will look back on his performance with a great deal of pride.
The booing of Wenger’s decision will not affect him — he’ll see it as a positive as it proved the fans love him.
Yet it is also important for Oxlade-Chamberlain not to be weighed down with expectancy and this is where Wenger comes in.
He needs to get the best out of his team and not just rely on one or two players. And most importantly of all, despite that moment of raw emotion on Sunday, Wenger needs to know that all the fans are behind him and the team.
Link to original article – here