LOSE AND YOU’RE A GUNNER! Under-fire Weng faces make-or-break clash
ARSENE WENGER knows his empire will finally come crashing down if his side lose at Fenerbahce tonight.
The Gunners could still qualify for the Champions League if that happens.
They could pull it around in the second leg at the Emirates – or survive if the Turks get chucked out for match fixing.
A decision on that issue will be made in a week’s time, the day after the second leg.
But Wenger could be gone by then – swept away by a tide of fan anger.
There is already no margin for error after Saturday’s opening day mauling at home to Aston Villa.
Taking on Fenerbahce in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium will prove a test of character, but Wenger is confident it is one Arsenal can pass.
He said: “We fought very hard last season to be in the top four and this game has a vital importance.
“It is a consequence of what we tried to achieve last season and therefore, on the back of our defeat against Aston Villa, it’s important as well to bounce back straight away.
“To be part of the top level – that is for us the most important thing.
“All the rest are the consequences of it. When you are a player, you want to play at the top level and that’s what the Champions League is about.” Wenger added: “We try to win everywhere we go. That is the only target we have to set ourselves.
“We respect Fenerbahce highly but in the history of our club we have gone everywhere, all over, and always had a desire to win and that is what we will do again.”
A summer of no signings – plus hopelessly doomed bids for Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney – mean the supporters have had enough. The Villa debacle was followed by a furious spree of panic bids, with Newcastle suddenly getting a £10million offer for Yohan Cabaye.
Not so long ago Wenger would have been first in the queue for any French player, but Cabaye is more likely to end up at Paris St Germain.
The Gunners travelled to Turkey with news of knee-jerk bids filtering in from all parts of the globe – Swansea duo Michu and Ashley Williams, Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, Clement Grenier of Lyon.
But they will all cost big bucks. The Swans want £35m for their pair, and that’s an amount Wenger simply cannot bring himself to part with.
To add to his woes, he could be without midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for up to six months.
The 20-year-old limped out of the Villa defeat with a knee problem that could also affect his chances of making the England World Cup finals squad.
There was better news on Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky, who all trained yesterday.
Fenerbahce’s Raul Meireles reckons Arsenal are ripe for rolling over.
The former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder said: “The pressure is on Arsenal – that gives us an advantage. The key is to go to London with a tight scoreline.”
MISFIRING GUNNERS: Knee-jerk bids for Cabaye
and Michu indicate the pressure on Wenger