Football: Fans blast Kroenke as Arsenal miss out

An air of despondency for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, as the Gunners just missed out on qualifying for next season's Champions League.
An air of despondency for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, as the Gunners just missed out on qualifying for next season's Champions League.PHOTO: REUTERS

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Arsenal 3

Everton 1

LONDON • Another day at the Emirates Stadium; another mutiny to reflect the bitter frustration among the Arsenal fan base.

This time, the target was not Arsene Wenger, the beleaguered manager - but, Stan Kroenke, the majority shareholder.

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"Stan Kroenke, get out of our club," was the cry from the hour mark, and it had a series of airings, each one louder than the previous.

This was a seismic occasion in the club's modern history. Nobody really expected Liverpool or Manchester City to slip up and allow Wenger and his team the chance to nip in and secure qualification to the Champions League, and they did not.

  • RESULTS

  • Arsenal 3 Everton 1

    Burnley 1 West Ham 2

    Chelsea 5 Sunderland 1

    Hull 1 Tottenham 7 Leicester 1 Bournemouth 1 Liverpool 3 Middlesbrough 0

    Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 0 Stoke 1

    Swansea 2 West Brom 1

    Watford 0 Manchester City 5

And so, for the first time since 1997-98, Wenger and Arsenal must move into a season without the spur of participation in Europe's elite competition.

Arsenal did what they had to do on the field against Everton at the Emirates Stadium yesterday - even after Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the 14th minute for a crazy challenge on Enner Valencia.

The captain will be suspended for Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea while Gabriel Paulista will surely be missing, too. The centre-back was carried off in obvious distress after jarring his left leg.

Arsenal led through Hector Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez and, although Everton pulled one back through Romelu Lukaku's penalty, the home team deserved their victory, despite a few wobbles.

Aaron Ramsey sealed it with a beauty in stoppage time, curled unerringly into the far top corner.

Yet the Kroenke Out sentiment was the take-away from the afternoon and it followed the publicising of his decision to reject a takeover bid worth £1 billion (S$1.8 billion) from Alisher Usmanov, who holds a 30 per cent stake in the club.

There can be no mistaking the unhappiness at the end of a Premier League campaign that has to go down as Wenger's worst and most trying.

After 20 consecutive seasons in the top four, Arsenal must make do with fifth. Not a bad finish for most teams in the Premier League but horribly disappointing by his standards.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Fans blast Kroenke as Arsenal miss out'. Print Edition | Subscribe