Arsene Wenger holds crisis talks with Arsenal chief executive

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Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis held crisis talks with manager Arsene Wenger as pressure on the Frenchman was turned up following the calamitous 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday in the Premier League.

According to the Daily Star, the Gunners chief executive and long-serving boss meeting at the club's London Colney training ground is not a regular occurrence and is being seen as a sign the north London club's directors are becoming increasingly concerned regarding their poor form.

The report also claims that the club's owner, American Stan Kroenke, has taken note of the growing discontent and disbelief among the Arsenal fan base at the apparent lack of progress on the pitch to match improvements off the pitch.

Calls for Wenger to leave could be heard from a sizeable chunk of the Emirates Stadium crowd at the weekend once the final whistle blew on another baffling performance by his team. They are calls that have become increasingly regular over the past few seasons and a split has emerged among Gooners.

Two games before the international break saw Arsenal surrender leads to both Anderlecht and Swansea City, three goals in the former to draw and a 1-0 lead in the latter to lose 2-1, and the visit of Manchester United was seen as a must-win game for the team's confidence.

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The Gunners actually played very well and dominated most of the match, but a lack of anything resembling competent finishing saw numerous chances squandered when the game was there to be won. In what has seemed typical of them over the last few years, that dominance counted for nothing after defensive blunders.

A comical collision between Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny gave Antonio Valencia the chance to shoot and the England left-back could only recover enough to redirect it into his own goal. Marouane Fellaini's push was the cause of thus collision and should have been a free-kick, but the nature of the incident was the kind of thing that has undermined Arsenal consistently for a long time.

It would still be a huge surprise if the Frenchman did anything other than see out the three-year contract he signed in the summer

After going behind Wenger's men reacted well, striving for the equaliser, knowing they should have been out of sight already, but the naivety of recent seasons was apparent and throwing men forward with reckless abandon played right into the hans of United, leading to Rooney's goal.

Olivier Giroud's late strike was not enough and the fallout from the match has ranged from dissent to resignation, that this is just what Arsenal do. Borussia Dortmund are their next visitors and the pressure will be difficult to lift.

Don't Expect Too Much Drama

Gazidis holding talks with Wenger may be unusual and the club's current predicament not good, but it would be a huge surprise if the Frenchman did anything other than see out the three-year contract he signed in the summer.

It is this new deal, in the wake of winning the FA Cup, their first trophy in such a long time, that will have added to the sense of deflation among fans. Signing Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez in the past two summers, two genuinely world class players was supposed to hail the moment Arsenal became title challengers again.

Moment of Truth

It has not happened, however, and this season has been beset by the same defensive mistakes and naivety that have scuppered Wenger teams of the past. With no sign that mistakes are being learned from and now no excuse of not being able to spend, Wenger is facing his toughest challenge yet.

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Arsene Wenger
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