Em­bat­tled Wenger faces West Brom test

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LONDON: Arsene Wenger takes his Ar­se­nal side to West Bromwich Al­bion to­day know­ing that any­thing other than vic­tory will spark fresh calls for him to go after two decades in north London.

A 5-0 FA Cup vic­tory over min­nows Lin­coln last Satur­day briefly lifted the pres­sure on the French­man and sent Ar­se­nal into the semi-fi­nals, wel­come re­lief after a tur­bu­lent 2017.

But Wenger has been in foot­ball long enough to ap­pre­ci­ate that in­tense spec­u­la­tion about his fu­ture and ru­mours of dress­ing-room dis­cord will ramp up all over again if he fails to stop Ar­se­nal’s rot in the Pre­mier League.

“I know when you don’t win it’s not a happy week,” Wenger said.

“That’s part of our job. When you care about re­sults and they are not what you want, it’s not a happy place.”

Win­ning the FA Cup and mak­ing the top four in the league is now the goal for Ar­se­nal and Wenger, who is yet to com­mit to next year at the club.

But those aims are be­low the ex­pec­ta­tions of sup­port­ers who say Wenger has run out of ideas.

And even that tar­get will not be easy with Wenger’s side fifth, five points away from the top four, and 16 points be­hind lead­ers Chelsea.

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