Football: Wenger confronted by angry fan during Arsenal loss

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger walks onto the pitch before their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger walks onto the pitch before their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom (AFP) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was confronted by an angry supporter during his side’s 2-0 loss at Southampton in the Premier League on New Year’s Day.

The man was seen to run towards the dug-outs and apparently taunt Wenger towards the end of the game at St Mary’s, which enabled Southampton to pull three points clear of Arsenal in the race for a top-four finish.

Wenger and his assistant Steve Bould gestured for the man, who was wearing jeans and a purple hooded top, to move away before he was eventually led off by stadium stewards.

He was subsequently arrested.

“It was a young boy, yes. I think he was a Southampton fan,” Wenger told his post-match press conference.

“He was not aggressive at all. I don’t think he said anything. Honestly, he was not aggressive.”

Southampton said that the man was an Arsenal fan who had been sitting with the home supporters.

Arsenal ended their nine-year trophy drought under Wenger by beating Hull City in last season’s FA Cup final.

But the 65-year-old Frenchman, who has been at Arsenal since 1996, has come under pressure from supporters after some disappointing results this season.

Fans unfurled a banner calling for him to stand down during Arsenal’s 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion in November, while he was barracked by supporters as he boarded a train after last month’s 3-2 loss at Stoke City.

Arsenal had gone four games without losing prior to Thursday’s game, but fell to defeat at Southampton after mistakes by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny allowed Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic to score.