Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wenger worried as Arsenal fans boycott Watford win



Wenger worried as Arsenal fans boycott Watford win

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline during their English Premier League match with Watford at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday. AFP
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline during their English Premier League match with Watford at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday. AFP

Wenger worried as Arsenal fans boycott Watford win

Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal are struggling to win back their furious fans after thousands stayed away from the 3-0 Premier League win over Watford.

For the second successive game at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal played in front of vast swathes of empty red seats on Sunday.

Arsenal blamed heavy snow for the low attendance in their recent defeat against Manchester City, but the no-show against Watford could only be put down to a fatal combination of anger and apathy after another miserable season.

“Must be -4 and snowing again at the Emirates,” Manchester United legend Gary Neville, now a prominent pundit, tweeted soon after kick-off.

But Wenger, as he fights to keep his job, conceded he could understand why Arsenal supporters are so frustrated by their team’s wretched run.

“There is a lot of negativity. It is like rain in England – it is easy to get,” he said.

“Of course I worry because I want our fans to be behind the team, but after what happened in that week it is understandable.

“We want to have the fans on our side and we do everything to make that happen.

“I respect everyone’s opinion but I focus totally on my job.”

The stay-aways missed a solid Arsenal performance as goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats.

But the win did little to improve Arsenal’s prospects of a top-four finish – which brings qualification for the Champions League – and won’t carry much weight with supporters who feel ending Wenger’s 22-year reign is the only way to get their club back on track.

Without a league title since 2004, Wenger is clinging to the hope that reaching the Champions League by winning this season’s Europa League will spare him the axe.

But the drab atmosphere at Sunday’s game gave it an “end of an era” feel that will persist until Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis conduct the end-of-season review that will decide Wenger’s fate.

For now, all Wenger can do is focus on leading Arsenal on a long winning run, starting with protecting a 2-0 lead when AC Milan visit the Emirates in the Europa League last 16, second leg on Thursday.

Wenger is encouraged by the way his players have stayed united in a difficult time.

Vindication

“We suffered a bit at the start of the second half but after that with our spirit, we stuck together and in the end it was a convincing win,” he said.

“It gets us out of this negative spiral a little bit. We had a nightmare week. There is still some work to do, but overall we are in a good way.”

In a dismal year, there was a rare moment of vindication for Arsenal when Watford captain Troy Deeney saw his second-half penalty saved by Petr Cech.

Deeney had questioned Arsenal’s spirit after Watford beat them in October and Wenger said a desire to prove the striker wrong had motivated their performance.

“Cech had to wait a while to save a penalty. It’s quite fortunate that it’s against Deeney,” he said.

Watford boss Javi Gracia refused to blame the defeat on Deeney’s jibes, which came before he was in charge.

“Troy was concentrated on playing well and helping the team,” Gracia said.

“He had a chance to score the penalty but he didn’t do it.

“I don’t know what Arsenal were thinking, but I’m happy with him.

“I’m responsible for my words. I respect all the teams, Arsenal as well.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Nearly 2,000 detained for Phnom Penh curfew breach

    Nearly 2,000 people were detained in the capital for violating the curfew imposed by the government and Phnom Penh Municipal Administration. Municipal police spokesman San Sokseyha told The Post on May 16 that people were detained in two phases. In phase one, the government locked down Phnom

  • Jab drive announced for two more Phnom Penh districts

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration on May 15 announced a first-dose novel-coronavirus vaccination campaign for Boeung Keng Kang and Sen Sok districts from May 18-31, and a follow-up second-shot drive from June 1-15. Twenty vaccination sites have been set up in a combined 13 communes across both