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Category: Arsène Wenger

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Arsène Wenger smiles better as he shakes off Arsenal hurt and suffering | David Hytner

FA Cup-winning manager says: ‘One thing you cannot question is my commitment … I have desire, I love my job, I love to win, I love to build’

More than anything, Arsène Wenger looked happy. For months, the Arsenal manager has furrowed his brow and tensed his body as the blows have rained down on him. He has sensed conspiracy at every turn; a trap in every question. There have been enemies everywhere, including within club ranks. It has been draining.

At Wembley on Saturday, the worry lines could finally soften and the enduring image of Arsenal’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea was that of Wenger’s smile. Even those who have hounded and denounced him might have felt its warmth.

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Arsène Wenger says Arsenal FA Cup win should answer questions over future

• Board meeting will decide manager’s future after almost 21 years at club
• ‘Best presentation I could make is for board to watch Cup final again’

Arsène Wenger will tell Arsenal’s directors to watch a recording of Saturday’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea if they have any doubt about his suitability to stay on as the club’s manager.

The saga of Wenger’s future will finally be resolved this week, with an announcement set for Wednesday – the day after a meeting of the full board, which Wenger himself will attend as usual. Wenger has made it clear he thinks he ought to be allowed to continue into what would be his 22nd season at the club while he says he knows “what I would like to happen”.

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Arsène Wenger got strategy spot on from back to front in Arsenal win | Michael Cox

Manager deserves praise for switch in strategy which won the FA Cup final as he outfoxed Antonio Conte’s efforts to reshape his lineup

Regardless of the result, this felt like a fitting end to the campaign – a match between two sides lining up with a three-man defence. It had, of course, been a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates in September which encouraged Antonio Conte to switch to his 3-4-3 system, and then Chelsea’s astonishing run of form seemingly encouraged Arsène Wenger to follow suit.

For all the pre-match speculation about Arsenal’s defensive problems and the controversial decision to play David Ospina rather than Petr Cech, Wenger’s key decision here was up front. For the 4-0 FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa two years ago, Wenger elected for the speed of Theo Walcott and omitted Olivier Giroud, and the extra pace forced Aston Villa’s defence to play deeper, creating space between the lines when their midfield tried to press, allowing Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil to run riot. Here, an almost identical thing happened – albeit with Danny Welbeck, rather than Walcott.

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Arsène Wenger and Arsenal have answers but questions remain | Barney Ronay

Uncertainty over the future of Arsène Wenger persists but Arsenal put those troubles behind them as they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final

At the final whistle on a hot, fun, slightly wild afternoon at Wembley, Arsène Wenger crouched on the touchline and roared, not quite with abandon, but with a genuine sense of release, and even of anger. Cuffs still crisply buttoned, wasp-waisted in black slacks, Wenger eventually sank into a familiar double fist-pump, knees bent, like a man at a wedding performing a slow, heartfelt air-maracas solo.

Twenty minutes later he was there again climbing the Wembley steps with his players to face the royal party and the coyly gleaming trophy. Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat of Chelsea means Wenger now has seven FA Cup winners’ medals, more than any other manager, and as many as Chelsea and Liverpool in their entire respective histories. His first Cup as a coach was the Coupe De France 27 years ago. For all the vicissitudes of the job, the draining obsession, it seems pretty clear the sweetness is still there to be sucked from moments like these.

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Arsène Wenger remains coy over future after FA Cup win – video

Arsène Wenger, straight after leading Arsenal to a club record 13th win, as well as breaking the record for most FA Cup wins as a manager with his seventh, kept his cards close to his chest as he was questioned over his future. Wenger maintained that the only ones who will decide his future are the Arsenal board and himself

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Arsène Wenger defiant and focused before FA Cup final against Chelsea

Arsenal manager does not look back, does not keep his medals and despite the incessant clamour he is still giving nothing away about his future

Arsène Wenger has not been forthcoming in his media conferences for some time and the regulars who travel to see him at Arsenal’s training ground in St Albans would say he is particularly guarded before a big game. This week was no exception. But before the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday, the manager brought some extra ingredients – exasperation, defiance and a series of digs; some veiled, others the equivalent of going in two-footed.

Take the one that related to Tony Adams. The club’s former captain has a new book out, which led to one headline about how Wenger “couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag”. Understandably, it went down badly with him.

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Arsène Wenger and Antonio Conte look forward to FA Cup final – video

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and his counterpart Antonio Conte consider Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley between the two sides. Wenger concedes that Chelsea are favourites for the trophy but suggests the club can take confidence from their semi-final win over Manchester City. Conte meanwhile is looking to secure the Double in his first season in English football

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Arsène Wenger and Antonio Conte look forward to FA Cup final – video

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and his counterpart Antonio Conte consider Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley between the two sides. Wenger concedes that Chelsea are favourites for the trophy but suggests the club can take confidence from their semi-final win over Manchester City. Conte meanwhile is looking to secure the Double in his first season in English football

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It was Arsenal’s day in 2002 – but it has mostly been Chelsea’s ever since | Amy Lawrence

Ray Parlour’s memorable goal earned FA Cup final glory 15 years ago yet served as a prelude to an era of Roman Abramovich-backed Chelsea dominance

Winding the clock back to 2002, the last time Arsenal and Chelsea contested the FA Cup final, one of the telling moments took place at the end. Tony Adams, in what would be his final appearance before retirement, sought out a young John Terry, who had come on as a substitute, to offer some words of consolation. He recalls the exchange in his new book, Sober, as “saying that his time would come but this was ours”. He was right on both counts.

It is only with hindsight that the dividing line around that time in terms of these London rivals makes sense. The 2002 final marks the midpoint of three decades of football that had Arsenal as the dominant force from the capital in part one and Chelsea taking over in part two. In the 15 years leading up to that FA Cup showdown Arsenal had the silverware, with a little more to come, from successes under George Graham and Arsène Wenger. They were days away from clinching their fourth league title across that period in addition to a cluster of cups. At the time Chelsea had not won a title since the 1950s and the occasional cup was cherished but did not give the impression they were in position to become a leading force.

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Petr Cech set to keep Arsenal place for FA Cup final amid defensive headaches

• Arsène Wenger hints first-choice goalkeeper may play ahead of David Ospina
• Shkodran Mustafi and Kieran Gibbs both doubtful as injury worries mount

Arsène Wenger has hinted that Petr Cech will start in goal for Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea rather than David Ospina and the manager admitted Kieran Gibbs was an injury doubt, deepening his defensive selection crisis.

Wenger played Ospina, his second-choice goalkeeper, in all eight of the club’s Champions League ties this season, plus the early rounds of the FA Cup. But he went with Cech for the quarter-final against Lincoln City and the semi-final against Manchester City and he is expected to persist with the 35-year-old to face his former club at Wembley.

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A Premier League season of soap opera where football felt like background music | Barney Ronay

The 2016-17 season still had its drama – moments of brilliance and booming narrative arcs to be resolved – but it was less title race than well-ordered title jog

Farewell, then, to the year that almost was. This was a Premier League season that sparked with a controlled excitement, never quite caught fire but still dished up another digestible slice of high-end product.

Things kept on almost happening. Leicester City almost completed the most dramatic title-plus-relegation act of all time. But then it was all sort of OK. Marco Silva almost pulled off a minor managerial miracle – but somehow not quite. To great fanfare Tottenham Hotspur pulled to within one victory of being quite close to creeping up on Chelsea’s shoulder at the top – almost but not quite, leaving for the third season in a row not so much a title race as a well-ordered title jog.

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A Premier League season of soap opera where football felt like background music | Barney Ronay

The 2016-17 season still had its drama – moments of brilliance and booming narrative arcs to be resolved – but it was less title race than well-ordered title jog

Farewell, then, to the year that almost was. This was a Premier League season that sparked with a controlled excitement, never quite caught fire but still dished up another digestible slice of high-end product.

Things kept on almost happening. Leicester City almost completed the most dramatic title-plus-relegation act of all time. But then it was all sort of OK. Marco Silva almost pulled off a minor managerial miracle – but somehow not quite. To great fanfare Tottenham Hotspur pulled to within one victory of being quite close to creeping up on Chelsea’s shoulder at the top – almost but not quite, leaving for the third season in a row not so much a title race as a well-ordered title jog.

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Stan Kroenke: ‘My Arsenal shares are not, and never have been, for sale’

• Club’s majority shareholder makes statement to Stock Exchange
• Kroenke has committed to his long-term future at the club

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has insisted he remains committed to the club and his company’s shares are “not, and never have been, for sale”.

KSE UK, which is the holding company for the American’s interest in the Gunners, issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning following “recent media speculation” concerning their commitment to the Premier League club, who this season missed out on the top four of the Premier League for the first time in 20 years.

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Stan Kroenke: ‘My Arsenal shares are not, and never have been, for sale’

• Club’s majority shareholder makes statement to Stock Exchange
• Kroenke has committed to his long-term future at the club

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has insisted he remains committed to the club and his company’s shares are “not, and never have been, for sale”.

KSE UK, which is the holding company for the American’s interest in the Gunners, issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning following “recent media speculation” concerning their commitment to the Premier League club, who this season missed out on the top four of the Premier League for the first time in 20 years.

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Arsène Wenger accepts uncertainty over his position hurt Arsenal this year

• Team had to deal with ‘horrendous psychological environment’ since January
• ‘Certainly my personal situation has contributed to that,’ says Wenger

Arsène Wenger has described the “psychological environment” in which Arsenal have had to perform since January as “absolutely horrendous” and accepted for the first time that the lack of clarity over his personal situation had contributed to it.

Arsenal defeated Everton 3-1 on the final day of the Premier League season but, with Manchester City and Liverpool winning against Watford and Middlesbrough respectively, there was no late surge into the Champions League places.

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Arsenal fans turn on Stan Kroenke after ‘Spursdays’ finally arrive | Amy Lawrence

Focus of anger moves from Arsène Wenger to club’s American owner after downgrade to Europa League that followed final-day defeat of Everton

The sun burned, Champions League hopes evaporated, and all of a sudden the lightning rod for Arsenal supporters’ disillusionment moved away from the man in the dugout and out towards the Atlantic. The chant started in the North Bank and suddenly spread, growing in urgency as it coursed around the stadium: “Stan Kroenke – get out of our club.”

The news that broke last week about Alisher Usmanov’s $1.3bn bid for the majority shareholding held by Arsenal’s American investor has broadened the conversation about the club’s status and ambitions. While the disaffected have generally pointed their fingers at Wenger, the club’s direction above and beyond the manager is now under scrutiny. Kroenke is expected in England next week before the FA Cup final. The microscope is not something he welcomes but the lens will inevitably focus in. The Kroenke model across his sports franchises tends not to reach for the stars and Arsenal’s fanbase want a say about that.

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Arsenal fans turn on Stan Kroenke after ‘Spursdays’ finally arrive | Amy Lawrence

Focus of anger moves from Arsène Wenger to club’s American owner after downgrade to Europa League that followed final-day defeat of Everton

The sun burned, Champions League hopes evaporated, and all of a sudden the lightning rod for Arsenal supporters’ disillusionment moved away from the man in the dugout and out towards the Atlantic. The chant started in the North Bank and suddenly spread, growing in urgency as it coursed around the stadium: “Stan Kroenke – get out of our club.”

The news that broke last week about Alisher Usmanov’s $1.3bn bid for the majority shareholding held by Arsenal’s American investor has broadened the conversation about the club’s status and ambitions. While the disaffected have generally pointed their fingers at Wenger, the club’s direction above and beyond the manager is now under scrutiny. Kroenke is expected in England next week before the FA Cup final. The microscope is not something he welcomes but the lens will inevitably focus in. The Kroenke model across his sports franchises tends not to reach for the stars and Arsenal’s fanbase want a say about that.

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Arsène Wenger takes responsibility as Arsenal fail to secure Champions League place – video

Arsenal’s manager, Arsène Wenger, says he is responsible for the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. A 3-1 win over Everton on the final day of the campaign was not enough to move Arsenal into fourth place and clinch a Champions League place. Next season will be the first one since 1997-98 in which the Gunners will not feature in Europe’s top club competition

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Arsène Wenger seeks another final-day upset to save Arsenal record

With Champions League qualification on the line, Wenger draws on dramatic finishes from past seasons to boost Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four place

Arsène Wenger is not a betting man. The Arsenal manager is happy to talk about the odds and, sometimes, to shout them but he would never wager any money on the outcome of a match. To him, it is a fool’s errand and it is so for good reason – the sport is gloriously and maddeningly unpredictable.

Wenger knows what everybody is thinking as he goes into the final day of the Premier League season, with his team sitting fifth, one point behind Liverpool and three behind Manchester City. There are plenty of permutations that would lead to Arsenal squeezing into a Champions League place, but the most basic way of putting it is they must beat Everton at the Emirates Stadium and either Liverpool slip up or City do so badly.

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Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City: what missing Champions League would mean

We examine why the three clubs’ Premier League fate has gone to the wire and what the impact on each would be if they finish outside the top four

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