In Depth

Arsenal crisis: Where now for Wenger as fans show no mercy?

Answers and action needed as undercooked Gunners once again start the season with a damaging defeat

Jeers filled the Emirates on the opening weekend of the season as Arsene Wenger's worst nightmares came true and his Arsenal side were torn apart by Liverpool.

The 4-3 reverse highlighted all that is wrong with the Gunners and will place the manager under huge pressure to pull off at least two big-name signings in defence and attack before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

The performance encapsulated the frustrations of the Emirates crowd and they were in no mood to give Wenger the benefit of the doubt.

"For the Arsenal fans who spend the summer dreaming of fresh beginnings and shiny new signings, and buy their season tickets and shirts in readiness for mid-August, the start of the season must seem like a recurring nightmare," says the Daily Telegraph.

"A team with no senior defenders and not a single out-and-out striker were beaten by a Liverpool team, who, themselves, took their time to get going."

It was a microcosm of Arsenal's frailties, says Jeremy Wilson, also in the Telegraph.

"A bright start. Missed chances. Injuries. A defensive collapse. Booing and then a late rally that was not quite sufficient. Arsenal supporters have watched this film before, albeit usually over the course of an entire season rather than just one match," he writes.

And while Arsenal have a track record of poor performances on the opening weekend of the season, this one could be significant.

"Chelsea, Liverpool and the two Manchester Clubs have all made huge off-field statements in the last 12 months that has fuelled a sense of momentum that is sadly lacking at Arsenal. It prompts numerous questions," says Wilson.

Wenger's insistence on resting key players does not appear to stand up to scrutiny and his refusal to spend big in the transfer market means he "still seems stuck several years behind the reality of the market", adds the journalist.

The team selection mystified Henry Winter of The Times. Laurent Koscielny was rested for the game while Aaron Ramsey, who plays in a more physically demanding position and only had a few more days off than Koscielny this summer, was in the starting XI.

If Wenger's thinking appears muddled there could be trouble ahead.

"Wenger has been overtaken by Klopp, Guardiola, Conte and others," says Winter. "He once led the way, a real visionary, and Arsenal and English football owe him a debt of gratitude but the club are drifting, the team need more direction otherwise, and I'm guessing here, the likes of Ozil and Alexis may demand better signings or they'll leave.

"The sadness is that his legacy is now being tarnished. He helped built the Emirates and now it could - not yet - could become a divided house. A civil war in a club is a wretched sight, and the particular fear with Arsenal is that nobody at the club upstairs feels either prepared to challenge Wenger."

At the age of 66, the Gunners boss "cannot have long left in management", says Chris Cutmore of Mail Online, and he must address the issue of succession at some state this season.

However, Wenger already has a lot on his plate. "The boos were deafening again on Sunday and will only intensify if results fail to improve," Cutmore says. "Does Wenger have the energy to take on his own fans as well as Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte et al?"

Recommended

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
View from the terraces

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s superstars compare
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s superstars compare

Harry Kane: England’s brilliant captain regains his form
Harry Kane scored four in England’s 10-0 win over San Marino
View from the terraces

Harry Kane: England’s brilliant captain regains his form

How West Ham United is stepping up to join the big boys
David Moyes celebrating
In Focus

How West Ham United is stepping up to join the big boys

Popular articles

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’
Donald and Barron Trump
Tall Tales

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’

Woman who married herself divorcing after meeting someone else
A wedding ring
Tall Tales

Woman who married herself divorcing after meeting someone else

The Week Footer Banner