Pressure cooker

Gunners manager is now firmly in the firing line, says Smith

Last Updated: 18/09/11 3:45pm

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Paul Smith believes the pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reaching serious proportions.

The north London giants are languishing in 15th place in the Premier League having garnered just four points from their first five games, and Wenger's men twice threw away the lead to fall 4-3 at Blackburn on Saturday.

Smith said: "How long can Arsenal go on like this if results don't improve? We're seeing the back pages of the papers today saying 'Crisis! Crisis! Crisis!' This is obviously going to continue into Monday.

"The enquiry will continue and unless results improve it will carry on. At what point do the board step into the limelight and say something? Ivan Gazidis seems to be brave enough to go in front of the fans and accuse them of judging the manager.

"Is Gazidis back-tracking now by coming out and saying the board are behind him (Wenger)? That contradicts everything he said before the start of the season because he said that the fans would judge him.

"There are mixed feelings amongst the fans now, without a shadow of a doubt. Some of the fans are saying: 'He's been fantastic for the football club and it would be a disgrace to sack him. Maybe they should move him and bring someone else in.' I'm not so sure at this point.

"Then you've got another set of fans who are right on his back saying: 'This is a disgrace. This shouldn't carry on. They should remove him.'"

Panic

Smith went on to question the transfer policies of the Frenchman, who initially seemed reluctant to spend the cash raised from the big-money sales of star midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

As the close of the transfer window neared, Wenger suddenly acquired Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta, Park Chu-Young and Yossi Benayoun.

"We saw at The Emirates where some of the fans were having a go at him and venting their frustration, but that seemed to be more to do with the fact that they expected him to spend money.

"Then what do we see? Wenger going out and it just strikes me as panic buying right at the end of the window just to appease people."

Out of it

Already eight points adrift of leaders Manchester United, who also boast a game in hand, Smith feels any hopes of the title returning to Arsenal have already been obliterated.

He said: "At the end of the day, they're out of the title race already. They were never in it, but they're out of it. Eight points adrift after five games - it's an absolute disgrace."

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