Paul Merson believes Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal is coming to an end claiming he does not expect the Frenchman to be in charge next season.
Arsenal are 10 points adrift of the top four after the second successive 3-0 defeat over Manchester City this week, with the runaway Premier League leaders now 30 points clear of the north London club.
Many supporters opted to stay away from the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night in protest against the recent abject results, with the defeat by Pep Guardiola’s side the club’s joint-heaviest loss at home in the Premier League era.
The 68-year-old’s current contract expires in May 2019, but when asked if he expects him to be in charge next season, Merson told Sky Sports Daily: “No. As I sit here I say no.
“If they go to AC Milan and win next Thursday, and they go on and win the Europa League, for me that’s a great season for where Arsenal are at the moment. If they win a European trophy it would be a phenomenal feat.
“But I can’t see it. I don’t even fancy them to go and beat Brighton on Sunday. I feel [Wenger] would’ve gone if he didn’t have AC Milan on Thursday night. I feel he would’ve then gone if he got beat by Brighton.
“You’ve just got to look at his press conference the other day. It seemed to me that he was asking for the board to be loyal to him now, because he was saying, ‘I’ve been loyal to this club, I could’ve gone anywhere in the world’.
“He was trying to tell the board that they should stay loyal to him now. But I feel there’s a lot of pressure on him at the moment.”
Arsenal could be without Jack Wilshere for the trip to the AMEX Stadium after the England midfielder missed the defeat on Thursday night with an ankle injury, while Nacho Monreal (back) and Alexandre Lacazette (knee) are also absent.
Wenger is likely to make changes ahead of the first leg of the Europa League last-16 clash with Milan but following a seventh defeat in 13 games during 2018, Merson believes the end is nigh for the beleaguered manager
“The players he’s brought in just haven’t been good enough. Arsene’s in charge, he runs it from top to bottom. That’s the problem. I felt sorry for him last Sunday, as he put a team out there who acted as if they wouldn’t be getting the blame.
“They know that Wenger is the man who will take the blame, and that’s a problem. They’re hanging their manager out to dry. Who’s going to get the blame on Sunday if they lose? It’d be Wenger again, and it’s gone beyond that now.
“I feel Arsenal have gone. Confidence is shot, and I don’t think they’ll be up for a fight against Brighton. I can’t see Arsenal being able to live with them. For me, they’re the worst team in England without the ball.”