West Brom 3-1 Arsenal by Simon Williams at The Hawthorns
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger doesn’t believe that a top-four finish in the Premier League is as important as it once was.
The Gunners suffered their fourth defeat in five league games against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Saturday to damage their hopes of a top-four finish.
Craig Dawson headed the Baggies in front on 12 minutes before Alexis Sanchez finished off a 19-pass move to draw Arsenal level three minutes later.
Hal Robson-Kanu gave Albion the lead again with just his second touch of the game, 75 seconds after coming on as a substitute, before Dawson headed home his second of the game to end a two-game losing streak for the Albion.
But for Arsenal, the defeat leaves them struggling to keep pace with the teams above them as Wenger looks to continue the record of finishing in one of the four Champions League places in each of his 20 seasons as manager of the north London club.
However, Wenger doesn’t believe finishing in the top four is as important in today’s game as it has been previously.
He said: “For a long time this was the case but financially the Champions League doesn’t have the impact that it had five or six years ago because of the influx of the television money.”
And the Frenchman’s comments will not sit well with Arsenal fans who protested before, during and after the game as banners saying “No contract #WengerOut” flew over the ground ahead of kickoff before and pockets of travelling supporters held up banners with “All Good Things Must Come to an End” and “No New Contract.”
But the defiant 67-year-old, who said after Saturday’s game that he would announce “very soon” if he is going to put pen to paper on the two-year contract extension that remains on the table, responded to those fans who have begun questioning his tactics by saying: “Everybody in life is responsible for their own behaviour. I am responsible for my behaviour and I don’t judge other people.
“I will give my best for as long as I am at the club whether that’s for two more years or 10 more years or for four more months.”