Football: It's Groundhog Day at Arsenal again

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger contemplating his future as the Gunners are looking at a 13th season without winning the Premier League. Wenger's contract expires at the end of this season but the board has offered a new two-year deal which he has yet
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger contemplating his future as the Gunners are looking at a 13th season without winning the Premier League. Wenger's contract expires at the end of this season but the board has offered a new two-year deal which he has yet to sign.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Fans are polarised over whether Arsenal boss should stay or go with deal on table

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the Gunners have offered him a two-year contract extension just as his side are facing the reality of a 13th season without winning the Premier League.

Their 1-3 loss to Chelsea on Saturday meant Arsenal trail 12 points behind the league leaders and left many Gunners' supporters calling for Wenger's head.

One fan held a sign at Stamford Bridge that read "Enough is enough, time to go".

Many more turned to Twitter to demand the Arsenal hierarchy replace the Frenchman, who celebrated 20 years in charge of the North London club earlier this season.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was even forced to clarify "liking" a tweet calling for Wenger to be sacked following back-to-back losses.

TOP 4 IS NOT A TROPHY

Does (Wenger) still have the stomach to do this again?

IAN WRIGHT, former Arsenal striker, thinks Wenger may walk as speculation mounts.

On Tuesday, the Gunners fell to a shock 2-1 home defeat by Watford.

Wenger's drop in popularity among the Arsenal faithful has also not been helped by their dismal record against their closest rivals.

They have failed to register a win in their last 10 away league games against teams in the top six.

Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to show support for a Twitter post from popular Arsenal YouTube channel, Arsenal Fan TV, with a video entitled "Wenger Needs to Go!" .

But the England international returned to social media later in the day and wrote: "I didn't mean to like that post earlier obviously. Didn't even realise I had!"

Wenger's contract expires at the end of the season.

Prior to the Chelsea game, the Arsenal boss addressed speculation over his future at a pre-match press conference and revealed that he will follow his "gut" in the summer.

Following Arsenal's fifth league defeat of the season on Saturday, former Arsenal defender and pundit Martin Keown told BT Sport that he believed Wenger would ink an extension.

"I'm not sure if that sits completely well with the fans.

"But if you look at other situations, Manchester United losing Sir Alex Ferguson shows what can happen," Keown said.

"I believe he will sign a new contract.

"It's just really the announcement and when is the right time to make that announcement."

But another Arsenal great, former striker Ian Wright, questioned whether the Gunners can be content with just qualifying for the Champions League.

"Does (Wenger) still have the stomach to do this again?

"It is a tough couple of months for Arsene Wenger, and Arsenal are doing what they do when they slip up," Wright said.

"Arsenal are in the top four, but they aren't winning the league.

"Arsene Wenger has some really serious thinking to do at the end of the season."

It is understood that one of the key reasons why the club want to resolve the manager's future is so that they can tie down star players, forward Alexis Sanchez and playmaker Mesut Ozil.

Chile international Sanchez, the club's top scorer and provider in the league with 15 goals and eight assists, and World Cup winner Ozil have yet to sign contract extensions.

Their deals expire at the end of next season and the German international, in particular, has made it clear he intends to stay if Wenger remains at the Emirates.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2017, with the headline 'Groundhog day yet again'. Print Edition | Subscribe