In Depth

Arsenal fans being 'brainwashed' as Wenger's side flounder

Supporters should demand more than merely seeing their team limp into the top four, argue critics

Last month, Arsene Wenger insisted Arsenal were still in with a chance of winning the league. That became a mathematical impossibility at the weekend and the Gunners boss has admitted that his side now faced "a fight" to stay in the top four.

Having blown another tilt at the title - and seen Tottenham Hotspur leapfrog them in the league for the first time in 20 years - failing to qualify for the Champions League is unthinkable for Wenger.

Yet his side have won only six out of 16 Premier League games since the turn of the year and although they are unbeaten in seven games, four have been drawn. The latest was a 0-0 stalemate with Sunderland on Sunday. 

The game was notable for the appearance of Jack Wilshere from the subs bench, but the Gunners put in a performance that "did little to cement their claims for a 19th consecutive campaign in Europe's elite competition", says The Times.

The fact that Wenger admitted he was worried about his team's European aspirations proves things are bad, says Luke Edwards of the Daily Telegraph. "This was a game that strengthened two things. Sunderland’s survival chances and the argument of those who believe it is time for Wenger to be replaced."

He adds: "His players have not only buckled under title-winning pressure, they are now floundering under the more modest expectation of qualifying for the Champions League."

It is "groundhog day" for Arsenal, says Jamie Redknapp of Sky Sports, who accused the club of "brainwashing" its fans.

"It looks like they're going to limp into the top four again and that, for me, is boring," he says. "They deserve better than that. You can't keep doing that and be brainwashed into thinking fourth is good enough. They should be doing more. They should be looking to win the title... This was their big chance and unfortunately, they've blown it."

Olivier Giroud, in particular, is having a bad time, notes Kieran Gill at Mail Online. He has now gone 14 games without a goal, despite the presence of Mesut Ozil in the side, who has created more chances than any other player in the league.

Arsenal sit behind three teams with prolific strikers, he notes, Manchester City (Sergio Aguero), Spurs (Harry Kane) and Leicester (Jamie Vardy). Giroud, meanwhile has 12 goals scored at a rate of one every 180 minutes this season. He may get his last chance against Norwich next week.

"If ever Giroud is going to end this drought then, surely, it has to be against a relegation-threatened side. If not, it's time Wenger started looking for who he can sign to fix this problem," says Gill.

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