Following their 3-1 defeat at home to Bavarian giants Bayern Munich in the first knockout round of the European cup on Tuesday evening, Arsenal headed into their monthly board meeting this afternoon with Arsene Wenger’s future as club manager in absolutely no question whatsoever despite fierce criticism of the experienced Frenchman in recent weeks after the North London club’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Blackburn Rovers.
There was an air of realisation rather than anger at the final whistle on Tuesday, amongst Arsenal supporters there was a genuine realisation that they had been outclassed by a team that is genuine contenders for this year’s much coveted European crown. Defensively again Arsenal let themselves down but a twenty-minute period at the start of the second half in which the Gunners scored a goal and indeed defended rather well proved that it is not all doom and gloom at the Emirates despite progression past the first knockout round looking extremely unlikely for the third year running.
Following Monday’s theatrical press conference in which Wenger’s temper was tested by what seemed to be at times rather foolish questioning many were saying the French coach was ‘cracking up’ especially when it seemed as though Wenger had taken exception to a story printed by certain media outlets that he was to be offered a new two-year deal at the end of the season. Whilst on the face of it this seems like a positive headline backing Wenger there was, as Wenger himself pointed out a rather negative undertone to the story. Following a defeat to Blackburn and with groups of fans wanting Wenger to leave his post in order for the club this story would have certainly riled supporters who would be stringently against a further two seasons under Wenger’s stewardship.
It is believed that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke who has himself come under a certain degree of criticism from within sections of the Arsenal fan base this week, backs Wenger unequivocally and will have stated so at this month’s board meeting. In a further stance against criticism from the media Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen has come out and publicly backed Wenger by urging the Arsenal board not to sack Wenger. The Belgian centre half stated
[quote]He is the right man for this club and we are all behind him.
It is clear the players still have the utmost faith in Arsene Wenger’s coaching methods and so do the majority shareholders and the reports that Wenger’s future is not in question illustrates this. Wenger’s current deal runs until the end of the 2013-2014 season and it is expected the situation will be looked at again at that time.
With Arsenal looking at a financial windfall through new sponsorship deals along with the new Premier League television deal funded by Sky you can expect money to be made available for transfers this summer however the real challenge for Arsenal begins on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates against Aston Villa with the London club needing to keep up their charge for fourth place which would see Arsenal qualify for next season’s European cup. This will be a tough task with Tottenham Hotspur looking to be in a rich, Gareth Bale inspired, run of form and it may well be the frailties at Stamford Bridge that Arsenal will have to test and capitalise on to reach Europe’s premier club competition next season.
Source: The Guardian