Football

The pressure is growing on Wenger to deliver.

Charlie Nicholas: It's time for Arsene Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager

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It’s hardly a secret that Arsene Wenger’s future at Arsenal is in doubt following the club’s poor season, both domestically and in Europe.

The Frenchman has bore the brunt of much criticism in recent months, his side suffering a considerable dip in form since the turn of the new year.

Arsenal were firmly in the hunt for the Premier League title in December yet defeats to Southampton, Chelsea and Swansea City have since seen their wait to lift the trophy extended to 12 years.

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Those associated with the club are split over whether Wenger should indeed be sacked or step down as manager, but for club legend and Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas, the time has come for the 66-year-old to quit.

He told Sky Sports: “I believe myself that it is time for Arsene to step aside and I never thought I’d say those words.

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“But I want it done in a way that is done with humility and dignity, if such a thing is possible.”

Arsenal’s frustrated fans plan to stage a protest against Norwich City this weekend by holding up banners during the 12th and 78th minute as a means of expressing their discontent.

Nicholas, however, insists he wouldn’t mind Wenger staying - but only if he rights his many wrongs this summer.

“I wouldn’t have a problem if he stayed,” he continued, “but he has to realise mistakes have been made and solve these problems this summer.

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“I said on Soccer Saturday last weekend that this will only grow and grow as the fans will be thinking these home games against Norwich and Aston Villa should be where they’re securing the title.

“My opinion is similar to the majority of fans but I find it difficult to be as hard hitting as some of them.

“But then again they’re paying the big money, more than anyone else in the league, and because of that their influence and opinion carries a greater weight than mine does from the studio.”

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The 54-year-old agrees with fans’ protests but believes the use of banners is unnecessary.

“Protesting has its place, just as Liverpool fans did in the correct way with the price increases, but I just hope they do it with a bit of dignity and it doesn’t get angry.

“I just don’t see the need for the silly big banners, ridiculous songs and angry demands. It would be a big shame if there was trouble because of it.”

And he’s spot on. Arsenal’s board - and Wenger himself - will be well aware of fans’ disappointment, so to rebel even further during a time when positivity is needed at the Emirates Stadium could prove damaging to the club’s chances of securing Champions League football.

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