Winning the FA Cup 'may not save Wenger'

By Chris Myson 20 February 2017 334
Winning the FA Cup 'may not save Wenger'

Arsene Wenger is not likely to silence his doubters just by winning another FA Cup, former Arsenal star Alan Smith has warned.

The Gunners are favourites for this season's competition after the quarter-final draw handed them a home tie with Lincoln City should they get through Monday's fifth-round tie at the Imps' fellow National League side Sutton United.

But Smith, who played for Arsenal between 1987 and 1995, does not believe a third FA Cup triumph in four years would alleviate the pressure on manager Wenger to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

He does not feel Arsenal's 2014 and 2015 successes in the competition have been enough to appease fans frustrated by their consistently poor performances in big games, such as this month's 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

"They have won the FA Cup a few times in the last few years and that has not placated the fans," Smith told Sky Sports.

"A lot will depend on where they finish in the league. If they finish outside the top four and the Champions League that might be a deciding factor.

"They could win the Cup and not play so well in the league and the fans would still not be happy. 

"I don't think the FA Cup would necessarily right the wrongs, or the unhappiness that the fans are feeling at the moment.

"I don't think the fans are judging him on [recent results] really – that is the whole point. It has been drip, drip, drip with those kind of performances happening a bit too often in big games.

"They lost to Bayern Munich 5-1 last season. In a lot of the big games they don't set up and be hard to beat. 

"A lot of the fans are tired of it and want to see a change. I don't think it's a knee-jerk reaction – that would be unfair to label that at the fans. 

"It has been building, it has been coming for the last three years. It might be a bit deeper and I don't think a Cup win would wipe that away in a stroke."

Arsenal sit fourth in the table, 10 points shy of leaders Chelsea.

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Chris Myson