Football

Wright: Wenger must do some serious thinking

Former Arsenal striker Wright questions Arsenal boss' stomach for another season as pundits round on the Frenchman

Former Gunners star Ian Wright says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger "has some serious thinking to do" about his future, in the wake of Saturday's 3-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The defeat saw the north London team fall 12 points behind Antonio Conte's league leaders and appears to have put paid to Arsenal's title hopes for yet another season.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted as much, telling the club's official website: "It's slipped further out of our hands and there's no hiding from that now."

"The gap is much bigger now and it's going to be hard."

Wenger, who has been at Arsenal since Oct 1996, has won three Premier League titles, but none since 2003/04.

His contract expires in the summer, leaving former charge Wright to question his stomach for another season at the club.

The former England striker told the BBC: "Does he still have the stomach to do this again?"

"It is a tough couple of months for Wenger, and Arsenal are doing what they do when they slip up. Arsenal are in the top four, but they aren't winning the league.

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

Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills, meanwhile, believes Arsenal have "settled for fourth again".

The Gunners have finished in the final Champions League spot in six of the last 11 seasons.

Questioning Wenger, the former England fullback told the BBC: "Chelsea were just so much better all over the pitch physically, mentally.

"That mentality has to filter down from the top."

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas opined that Arsenal have regressed from title contenders to a cup team in recent years.

The ex-England player put it down to a negative mentality. He told the BBC: "How have Arsenal allowed this kind of mentality to infiltrate their camp?

"They were a team that were chasing titles and all of a sudden now, whether it's Wenger that's allowed this, or it's the club, they have become this top-four team that chases cups."

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, too, questioned his former team's mentality and his boss' game plan.

He told Sky Sports: "We know what to expect from Chelsea, we don't know what to expect from Arsenal. We talked about what they shouldn't do against Chelsea and that's exactly what they did."

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, meanwhile, suggested that Wenger does not focus enough on stopping the opposition.

SPINE

He told Sky Sports: "I'm not one to look back to yesteryear, but when you think of the spine of (Tony) Adams and (Martin) Keown or (Patrick) Vieira and (Emmanuel) Petit, they really could have handled a game like today against a powerful, strong Chelsea team...

"You have to stop the opposition team playing football. This Arsenal team, for the past five or six years, just don't seem to pay enough attention to it."

Despite several pundits, and some fans, questioning Wenger's future, Keown believes his former manager will extend his contract. He told BT Sport: "Arsene Wenger will decide when he leaves the club.

"They're going to want to have a run-up to a succession plan at Arsenal and that will mean Wenger signing a new deal. I don't know if that sits completely well with the fans." - WIRE SERVICES

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