Arsenal’s out-of-form squad have taken matters into their own hands and held a crisis meeting without manager Arsene Wenger ahead of their rematch with Manchester City, according to reports. The Gunners were ridiculed for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat, in which they lost 3-0 and were described as ‘pathetic’ by Gary Neville, and now take on the Premier League leaders again at the Emirates on Thursday evening. And in an effort to turn around their form, The Sun report that club captain Per Mertesacker organised a meeting between the players at the training ground.
In the frank discussion, the players were critical of each other’s performances and attitude, and Mertesacker made it clear to everyone present that Wenger’s job was on the line. The veteran French manager has a contract until 2019, but the club are believed to already be drawing up a list of potential replacements that includes the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and former midfielder Mikel Arteta.
And Mertesacker warned his teammates that if their performances and commitment do not improve, they would be responsible for the end of Wenger’s 21-year reign at the club. The German centre-back, who will move into a new role as Arsenal’s academy manager next season, is also concerned by the divisions in the team and urged the squad to sort out their differences.
He feels morale is at an all-time low after a string of defeats to Tottenham, Ostersunds and then Manchester City, and has gone behind Wenger’s back to try and fix the problem on behalf of his manager. The effects of the clear-the-air meeting will be seen on Thursday night when Carabao Cup winners City travel to a snowy North London, and Arsenal fans will expect a significantly improved performance compared to their showing at Wembley.