Wenger under fire after Monaco defeat

ARSENE Wenger – exactly like his shambolic Arsenal team – refused to mount any sort of defence after the home defeat to Monaco left them contemplating another Champions League exit in the last 16.

  Wenger, normally so loyal to Arsenal’s players in public, refused to defend the manner in which they were caught cold on the break twice by Monaco, particular in the dying seconds of the 3-1 loss after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal had appeared to offer a measure of damage limitation.

  He refused to defend the naivety that saw Arsenal twice caught upfield with the back door wide open. He refused to defend what he described as a loss of “nerves and rationality” in this potentially devastating loss.

  And yet, for all Wenger’s uncharacteristic criticism of his players, it is Arsenal’s manager that once more finds his methods and management under the microscope.

  Wenger has enjoyed great nights as Arsenal manager. This was not one of them – indeed it was one of his worst.

  Wenger, who was Monaco manager from 1987-94, had urged caution when Arsenal were drawn against them but this was one of the easier ties the Gunners could have been handed. For a team attempting to reach the last eight for the first time in five years, an efficient and unspectacular Monaco provided an appetising prospect.

  And yet, in front of an Arsenal crowd that went through the various traumatic phases from shock to panic before arriving at anger and disbelief at the final whistle, Wenger’s approach was picked apart once more.

  Their manager accused Arsenal of lacking patience, of failing to realise this was a tie played over 180 minutes, of chasing an equaliser with such wild indiscipline they ended up conceding another, potentially pivotal, goal.

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