x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Arsenal sacking Arsene Wenger is not an option

Ivan Gazidis, the club's chief executive, insists the Frenchman's job is not under threat despite their poor start to the Premier League season.

Arsenal will not sack their manager Arsene Wenger, according to the club's chief executive, Ivan Gazidis.
Arsenal will not sack their manager Arsene Wenger, according to the club's chief executive, Ivan Gazidis.

LONDON // Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, insists Arsene Wenger's position as manager is not under threat despite the club's worst start to a season since 1953.

The Gunners have lost three of their five matches in the Premier League, but Gazidis says that firing Wenger is "a route we are not going to go down."

Wenger, who has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996, has not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup. Their last Premier League title came in 2004.

Gazidis said having critics and fans portray Wenger "as some kind of idiot" is damaging for football.

Speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London, Gazidis says Wenger "is not broken ... he did not suddenly become a bad manager or somebody who became out of touch with the game. It is complete nonsense."

Meanwhile Wenger has called his players to be more urgent following their 4-3 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Saturday.

"Our season depends now on how well we respond to this disappointment and how quickly we can cut out the mistakes we made on Saturday by giving away goals that we should never give away," Wenger told the club's website (www.arsenal.com).

"It's very important [to break the cycle]. The Blackburn game is very disappointing and frustrating."

Despite encouraging performances in the Champions League, Arsenal have conceded 14 goals in their five Premier League games, with 12 of them in their last two away matches. They also have the worst goal difference (-8).

The Frenchman strengthened his squad in the last transfer window, bringing in defenders Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker, who both played on Saturday, but the back four will take time to forge as a unit.

Wenger said Santos and Mertesacker were not especially guilty on the goals. But maybe as a unit we need more time to work.

"A lack of concentration, a lack of communication, a lack of coordination and individual urgency [is behind the goals we have conceded]," he said.

"When you score an own goal, you have to look at yourself. It is never completely out of your reach where you have no chance at all. All the rest, you have to look at yourself."

Arsenal are expected to field a mixture of first team players and youngsters in their League Cup third round match against League Two (fourth tier of English football) Shrewsbury Town tonight.