Arsene Wenger has responded to his critics by stating his intentions to remain at Arsenal for the long-term following his side’s 3-1 Carling Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town last night.
The Gunners – who are currently 17th in the Premier League after a shocking start to the season – went 1-0 down to their League Two opponents before goals from Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yossi Benayoun rescued the home side.
Wenger has been under pressure for the majority of the current campaign of course and despite backing from the board earlier in the week, many are still questioning his future at the club.
However, remaining defiant, the Frenchman said: “I have had 14 years at this club and kept them 14 years in the Champions League. I hope it lasts another 14.”
“I can understand that people are unhappy and criticise, but you know as well as I know that people are very quick to go overboard.”
“When we do well we take all the plaudits, so we have to take all the blame when it doesn’t go as well – but we have, on both sides, to take some distance.”
It could have been a lot worse for Arsenal last night of course and there were certainly worrying signs when James Collins headed Shrewsbury ahead after 16 minutes.
After a season where they have lost three games already – including a 8-2 hammering at against Manchester United – the last thing they needed was a shock defeat in the Carling Cup, so it was encouraging that they came back fighting.
The 25-yard strike of Oxlade-Chamberlain – a £10m signing from Southampton in the summer – was a particularly pleasing sight for Wenger and speaking afterwards, the Arsenal boss sang the praises of his new signing.
He said: “You could see that he will be a first-team player here, that is for sure. He has still things to work on but, very quickly, he will be knocking on the door.”
Critics will of course point to the fact that Arsenal need players that are not simply knocking on the door, but hammering it down and helping the team be successful.
However, after what could have been a disastrous night at the Emirates, Arsenal came through with the win and will look to continue to improve against Bolton this weekend.
A Champions League tie with Olympiakos follows this before a trip to local rivals Tottenham during the first weekend of October. It is certainly a crucial time for Wenger and the team as they look to rebuild after a below par start.