Pundits, fans and British media sense the end of an era

Fans protest against Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger outside the stadium before the match against Bayern Munich on Tuesday (March 7).
Fans protest against Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger outside the stadium before the match against Bayern Munich on Tuesday (March 7).PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsenal great Ian Wright claimed the club were going through the worst period in their recent history after their 10-2 Champions League last-16 humiliation by Bayern Munich.

Bayern repeated their 5-1 first-leg win in Tuesday's second leg to condemn Arsene Wenger's side to their heaviest defeat at the Emirates Stadium since they moved from Highbury in 2006. It is the seventh year in succession that Arsenal have gone out of the Champions League in the last 16.

"It's a sad day because we've gone out again at this stage. We're going through a period in our history that's the worst," Wright, who played under Wenger, said on BT Sport. "With everything that's going on, you have to say it will take some sort of monumental effort for Arsenal to turn it around in terms of the drive and determination of the players. It feels like something is coming to an end."

Wenger, who has been Arsenal manager since 1996, is out of contract at the end of the season and was the target of a protest from around 200 disgruntled fans prior to Tuesday's game. At the final whistle, some fans called for him to leave at the end of the season.

"Stubborn, Stale, Clueless" read one placard while others included "Wenger Out" and "No New Contract". Chants of "Arsene Wenger We Want You To Go" could also be heard outside the ground.

Wright was not sympathetic towards his former manager.

"He looks like a lost man," added the 53-year-old. "It just seems to be mounting up. You've got the fans, the protests. It's imploding."

Yesterday's British newspaper sports pages put the boot in, with several screaming "Wenger Out" in a nod both to Arsenal's elimination and the calls for him to step down.

The Daily Express headlined its match report "Shame Again" and The Times said Wenger had hit an "All-Time Low".

The Daily Telegraph said Arsenal had been "humiliated", while The Guardian said he had been left "staring into the abyss". The Daily Mirror focused on a picture of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez supposedly smirking on the bench after being taken off, beneath the headline "Laughing Stock".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Pundits, fans and British media sense the end of an era'. Print Edition | Subscribe