Ugly scenes erupted in the away end during and after Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday.
[ MORE: Wenger reacts to defeat ]
Understandably Arsenal’s fans were not happy with one of the worst displays the Gunners have ever put in under beleaguered boss Arsene Wenger as they now sit in sixth place in the Premier League and are in real danger of not making the top four for the first time in 20 years.
In truth, Palace could have won by five or six as Arsenal’s players were weak in defense and toothless in attack. That led to chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” and “Arsene Wenger, we want you to leave” from the away fans and many stayed behind to boo, surround and hurl abuse at the Arsenal players and manager as they got on the team bus outside Selhurst Park.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to Arsenal as Wenger and his players were the subject of abuse from their fans in 2014 while they stood on a train platform after a defeat at Stoke City.
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This time around the nature of the verbal abuse towards the players, even those who tried to go over to them and apologize for the performance, was intense as the Arsenal fans wouldn’t even give the ball back to their own player, Hector Bellerin, as he took a throw-in near them late in the game.
This game really felt like the moment when Arsenal’s players shrugged their shoulders in the top four hunt as the uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s future at the club, plus that of star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, seems to be becoming too much to handle.
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Speaking after the game, captain for the night Theo Walcott had this damning indictment on the display which see Arsenal seven points away from the top four with a game in hand of fourth-placed Manchester City.
“I think they just wanted it more. You could tell they wanted it more,” Walcott said. “You could sense that from the kickoff. It was an uphill battle towards the end there. Like I said before, this isn’t Arsenal at this moment time. We felt we had gotten out of that little patch, and hopefully we haven’t been dragged right back into it. But judging from that performance tonight, it looks like [we have].”
This is very much Arsenal right now as the Gunners are battling for a top four spot and look increasingly unlikely to seal a 19th straight season in the UEFA Champions League.
Wenger and his players have a lot of work to do to not only finish in the top four but to also win back the support and trust of the fans.
After these ugly scenes during and after the defeat at Palace, it appears the latter may never be possible for this manager and these players.