Arsene Wenger will be forced to confront renewed supporter protests at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as he attempts to stop Arsenal’s troubled season imploding in the final weeks.
A number of fans’ groups are planning to mark the visit of struggling Norwich by displaying placards during the game demanding change after another frustrating campaign.
The Gunners’ Premier League title challenge was finally ended following last weekend’s failure to beat lowly Sunderland, leaving Wenger’s side to face another relegation-threatened team with their focus now trained on preserving a top four spot.
The goalless draw at the Stadium of Light opened the door for Manchester City to move into third place, leaving Arsenal in fourth place, five points clear of Manchester United who have played a game less.
The odds remain in Arsenal’s favour as they attempt to qualify for the Champions League for a 20th successive season under Wenger’s guidance.
But the French manager concedes that record is under threat, and anything less than victory against a Norwich side currently occupying the third relegation place on goal difference will increase the pressure on Wenger’s position.
Mesut Ozil’s admission this week he is in no hurry to sign a new contract –- his current deal runs until 2018 –- only added to the sense that while there is no silverware at stake, the remaining weeks of the season could be significant for the club.
Missing out on the Champions League will do nothing to encourage Ozil and Chile star Alexis Sanchez to agree new terms.
However, a strong finish backed by victory at Manchester City in the penultimate game will guarantee third place and automatic passage to the Champions League group stages, strengthening Wenger’s hand.
“Now the fight is to get the best position for the Champions League,” Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech said.
“You need to start winning games. We have three games to play and we need to get as many points as we can.
“I don’t think it will be enough to finish in the top two now as the other teams have taken advantage of our two points dropped.”
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