Wenger will reveal decision 'very soon'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says ending his side's poor run of form is more important than his future at the North London club.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says ending his side's poor run of form is more important than his future at the North London club.PHOTO: REUTERS

Arsenal boss set to announce plans, admits slumping side are on worst run of his reign

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that he has made a decision on his future and will make it public very soon.

The 67-year-old revealed that he has decided whether to stay with Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of the season after seeing his side humbled 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

Fans rounded on the Frenchman at the Hawthorns with "Wenger Out" banners, anti-Wenger songs and a plane overhead towing a banner calling for his departure.

That was followed by another plane with a pro-Wenger banner, but he still suffered the ignominy of travelling fans singing "you don't know what you're doing" near the end of the game.

Wenger has previously said he will make a decision on his future before the end of the campaign and it appears the news will break in the near future. "I know what I will do in my future, so you will soon know, very soon," he said.

"You will see. Today I do not necessarily worry about that, we are in a unique bad patch we never had in 20 years. We lose game after game at the moment and that for me is much more important than my future."

Arsenal's four league defeats in five games is their worst run since April 1995. Furthermore, they were eliminated by Bayern in the Champions League 10-2 on aggregate.

Wenger insisted he did not pay attention to events in the stands or in the air as he watched his side beaten by two goals from Craig Dawson and one from Hal Robson-Kanu.

Alexis Sanchez had cancelled out Dawson's opener in the first half but the manager's record of reaching the Champions League in every season of his 20-year reign in peril.

"I watch the game, I do not watch the stands during the game," a defiant Wenger said.

"We have to live with that. You focus on your job, no matter what people think. We have a big fight, I agree with you and it could be very difficult now.

"Anyway we've no other way than fighting and doing it until the last game of the season and if it is not good enough we have to take the consequences."

Arsenal's performance bore the hallmarks of a regime in its death throes: mental slackness, physical weariness and the sense that the ennui is too overpowering to be held back. No wonder their midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain described it as "unacceptable". Indeed, while they had 77 per cent of possession, Arsenal were always second best.

West Brom have won eight of their last 10 home league games and have matched last season's points tally of 43.

Manager Tony Pulis said: "We are what we are and my players have done fantastically well to achieve the 40 points in the time that we've done it. We could lose the next three games but we've still had a fantastic season.

"I understand, you raise the bar and if you don't reach that again you and the players are going to get criticism.

"For me, they've just been fantastic this year, irrespective of what happens."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2017, with the headline 'Wenger will reveal decision 'very soon''. Print Edition | Subscribe