Who Will Replace Wenger At Arsenal?

Luis Enrique emerging as a strong candidate and understood to be keen, but chief executive Ivan Gazidis is committed to a thorough process. Max Allegri, Mikel Arteta, Leonardo Jardim, Julian Nagelsmann, Carlo Ancellotti and Joachim Löw are all seen as possible replacements who could do a good job at the club. Allegri along with Diego Simeone seem to the favourites according to fans as to who they (me included) want to see in charge at Arsenal. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Rafa Benetiz, Patrick Vieira &Thomas Tuchel are also names that have been discussed.

After having had one man in charge for 22 years, it is understandable that fans & critics alike are extremely curious and excited about who could replace Wenger at the club. There are so many discussions going on including one that states that the club already have the replacement decided and signed up but are waiting on announcing it. Possibly to see Wenger have his moments enjoying the farewells until the end of the season and then announce the new man in charge.

Whoever it will be, he has a big job on his hands to shape up the defense which will mean selling and buying a few players. He also needs to sort out the goalkeeper situation as Cech is past his prime and Ospina hasn’t impressed as a possible number one. Keeping Cech or Ospina as a solid backup will make good sense. We need to get really good defenders and a a holding midfielder to backup our strong forwards.

Arsenal 4 West Ham United 1

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal farewell started in the perfect manner as the Gunners scored three goals in seven second-half minutes to ease to victory against West Ham at the Emirates. This was the first match since Wenger announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the season on Friday, after almost 22 years. Victory was also the perfect warm-up to Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first-leg against Atletico Madrid. The Gunners had taken the lead on 51 minutes after Nacho Monreal volleyed in from a corner, but Marko Arnautovic equalised just after the hour mark, rifling a shot past David Ospina.

Aaron Ramsey put the hosts back into the lead in the 82nd minute when his tame cross was not dealt with by Hammers’ defender Declan Rice and Joe Hart could only watch as the ball rolled in at his far post. Alexandre Lacazette made it three as his close-range shot beat Hart at the near post in the 85th minute, before the Frenchman sidefooted in his second four minutes later. One negative for Wenger will be an injury to Mohamed Elneny, who was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after injuring his foot in a 50-50 challenge with Mark Noble towards the end of the first half.

Victory keeps Arsenal sixth, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with four games remaining, but while they can still mathematically finish in the top four, their most likely route into the Champions League is by winning the Europa League. West Ham, who had dominated much of the first half, drop to 15th place, six points from the drop zone. Wenger made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Newcastle last week. Some were enforced, while others were made with the Europa League in mind. Record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the bench and Petr Cech missed out with a hip injury.

Mesut Ozil missed the game with illness, while Jack Wilshere and Sead Kolasinac had ankle injuries. Despite Wenger’s impending departure, the Emirates lacked a celebratory mood as the teams came out. There were empty seats, no fanfare and the Frenchman snuck into his dugout. The first half gave Arsenal fans little to cheer about as the visitors dominated the early exchanges. Granit Xhaka had their only shot on target as his free-kick stung the palms of Hart, while Danny Welbeck wasted a number of chances.

Shkodran Mustafi struggled in defence against Arnautovic and there were warning signs ahead of a meeting with one of the world’s best strikers in Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann. Despite deservedly taking the lead after half-time, their defensive frailties were exposed again for the equaliser. The introduction of Aubameyang in the 70th minute lifted the team and the fans. Hart was twice forced into action, first by Xhaka and then by Welbeck, before Ramsey’s goal started a late flourish as Arsenal finished in style.

Wenger : Good Riddance

So we are hearing a lot of reports that Arsene Wenger was asked to resign aka sacked by the Arsenal board. Realistically, there were three scenarios for Wenger. Stay until the end of the season, perhaps win the Europa League along the way and then announce his departure, one of those “mutual consent” deals that clubs use to mask sackings. Another was hanging in there by his fingernails and getting the metaphorical bullet come the end of May. The third is the path he chose after it became clear to him that nothing, not even a European trophy and a return to the Champions League, was going to change Arsenal’s collective mind to get rid of him.

It had gone on too far – he has been so arrogant and he talks utter nonsense in interviews. Really, who did he think he was fooling? Perhaps himself and a load of AKB’s who don’t know anything but Wenger. The asshole had to go. He blamed the fans, he blamed the media, he blamed everyone – everyone but who he should have actually have blamed! Himself! The guy was a joke towards the end. A dinosaur beyond his prime. He was stubborn and pigheaded and so full of himself. Yes he has good things being said about him from players who have fond memories but I could not wait to see the last of him.

So goodbye you moron. Good riddance! We come to the end of the Wenger out protests and the empty seats that fans have become accustomed to seeing this year.

Arsene Wenger To Step Down As Arsenal Manager

Arsene Wenger has announced he is stepping down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 21-and-a-half-year reign that brought unprecedented early success but has seen a late decline that made his position increasingly untenable. Wenger issued a statement earlier today that caught everyone by surprise, announcing his departure and thanking the club for letting him serve for “so many memorable years.”He added: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.

“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. “To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal said a new manager will be appointed “as soon as possible.” Club chief executive Ivan Gazidis is scheduled to hold a news conference at 5 p.m. local time on Friday. According to Press Association Sport, Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first.

Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public by the club. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Speculation surrounding the Frenchman’s future has been rampant in recent months, with Arsenal set to miss out on a top-four finish in the Premier League for the second year running. Still, there was a general feeling that he could still save his job and see out the remaining year of his contract if Arsenal won the Europa League, thus qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1

Newcastle passed the 40-point mark and all but secured their Premier League future by beating Arsenal, whose terrible away record in 2018 continued. Matt Ritchie’s 68th-minute goal earned the Magpies their fourth straight league win and put them on 41 points with five games remaining, 13 clear of relegation. Arsenal, who reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow in Russia on Thursday, are the only team in England’s top four divisions yet to earn an away league point in 2018. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, playing for the first time together, had linked up for Arsenal’s opener in the 14th minute.

The Gabon striker received Shkodran Mustafi’s chip and clipped the ball to the far post for the arriving Lacazette to slide in and score. Ayoze Perez equalised just before the half-hour mark, running in past Shkodran Mustafi, to guide in DeAndre Yedlin’s cross at the near post. Calum Chambers should have put Arsenal back in front towards the end of the half, but he pushed an attempt wide as he slid in to meet Mustafi’s header. It took until the 67th minute for either side to have a shot in the second half, with Ritchie then getting the winner a minute later. Nacho Monreal failed to clear the ball and substitute Islam Slimani’s header was flicked on by Perez into the path of Ritchie, who coolly steered his shot past Petr Cech.

Kenedy almost made it three, his shot looping up and hitting the bar. This was another dire away performance from Arsenal, for whom the only way to save their season will be by winning the Europa League to secure automatic Champions League qualification. But they face a semi-final against Atletico Madrid, who are second in La Liga, and based on this display at St James’ Park, victory will be a tall order. Arsene Wenger gave a Premier League debut to 18-year-old midfielder Joe Willock, while Hector Bellerin was not in the squad.

CSKA Moscow 2 Arsenal 2

Arsenal reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow despite a nervy 2-2 draw in Russia. Arsene Wenger’s side were trailing 2-0 and under pressure when Danny Welbeck’s second-half goal gave them breathing space. The hosts, who led through Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin, went close to drawing level on aggregate and leading on away goals as Petr Cech saved Aleksandr Golovin’s free-kick and Sergei Ignashevich shot narrowly wide. Arsenal, the leading scorers in the competition, did not have an effort on target in the first 70 minutes, and Laurent Koscielny wasted a glorious chance before Welbeck struck.

Aaron Ramsey’s goal in stoppage time made certain of their progress into the last four alongside Atletico Madrid, Marseille and Salzburg. Viktor Goncharenko’s men had dreamed of an upset when Chalov reacted before Shkodran Mustafi to score the opener after Cech saved Nabakin’s header. Cech was at fault when he could only parry Golovin’s strike from 25 yards and Nababkin reacted first to double the hosts’ lead. But Arsenal, who lost midfielder Jack Wilshere to injury, kept their nerve to enter the semi-final draw, which takes place in Nyon, Switzerland, at 11:00 BST on Friday.

Arsenal’s Europa League dream lives on – just – after a tense night in Moscow, and Wenger can still hope for his first European trophy with the Gunners. With CSKA leading and asking some severe questions of the visitors, it required Welbeck – who scored twice against Southampton after what Wenger described as a “dark” time in his career – to save the day. He latched on to a wonderful Mohamed Elneny pass to finish calmly 15 minutes from time. That goal knocked the stuffing out of an impressive CSKA, who recovered well from losing influential Russia midfielder Alan Dzagoev to injury in the first half. Ramsey, who needed treatment to a badly cut foot, showed similar cool when one on one with Igor Akinfeev with the local time past midnight. Arsenal will face Athletico Madrid in the semi-finals.

Arsenal 3 Southampton FC 2

Danny Welbeck ended a goalless run of 16 Premier League matches when he scored two and assisted the other as Arsenal overcame a spirited Southampton at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had made seven changes with Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against CSKA Moscow in mind, and trailed when Shane Long capitalised on a first-half mix-up between keeper Petr Cech and centre-back Shkodran Mustafi. But the hosts recovered to lead after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang prodded in his sixth goal since joining from Borussia Dortmund for £56m in January, then Welbeck – who created the leveller with a clever flick – got his first league goal since September.

Southampton then equalised when substitute Charlie Austin turned in Cedric Soares’ cross but Welbeck headed Arsenal back in front after both sides missed a string of chances, leaving the visitors deep in relegation trouble. Mark Hughes’ men, who had defender Jack Stephens sent off in added time before Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny was also dismissed, remain 18th in the table and three points from safety. The south-coast outfit also had a second Long goal ruled out for offside and defender Wesley Hoedt saw his header cleared off the line by Elneny. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy had kept the visitors’ second-half hopes alive with a string of impressive stops to deny Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi.

Arsenal won over their supporters with a display of grit to keep their winning momentum going as the focus shifts to Europe again. It is now six consecutive triumphs in all competitions and they sit sixth in the Premier League table. They seem almost certain to miss out on the top four again this season after that happened last term for the first time in 20 years. But even without the influential Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere in their starting line-up they had the mental strength to take all three points against determined opposition. After leading twice, two late red cards and and a surprisingly loud roar at the final whistle, there was certainly entertainment at the Emirates on Sunday despite the empty seats.

Arsenal 4 CSKA Moscow

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side have done “half a job” after a “spectacular” first-half performance saw the Gunners take control of their Europa League quarter-final by demolishing CSKA Moscow in the first leg. Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey scored two goals each as the Gunners hit four in 26 minutes before half-time. Arsenal were unable to add to their tally in the second half but they will head to Russia’s capital for the second leg next Thursday with a commanding lead. Ramsey’s side-foot finish set Arsenal on their way.

Aleksandr Golovin levelled with a sublime free-kick before France striker Lacazette, who has recovered from a knee injury, made it 2-1 with a penalty after Mesut Ozil was fouled by Georgi Schennikov. Ramsey produced a brilliant third with an instinctive volleyed flick, with Lacazette adding a fourth after being picked out by the outstanding Ozil. Arsenal, who have now won five straight games, should have triumphed by a more handsome margin in what was a cracking match. Mkhitaryan missed a great chance early in the second half, while Ramsey fired over the bar after keeper Igor Akinfeev had spilled the ball into his path. Ramsey’s hopes of a hat-trick disappeared when his curling 77th-minute shot hit the post.

Nevertheless, Wenger’s side will be confident of reaching the semi-finals of a competition that provides a team sixth in the Premier League – 13 points off fourth place with seven games left – with their most realistic chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Arsenal are certainly warming to the Europa League, collecting their eighth win from 11 games in the competition, scoring 27 times and conceding eight. Assuming there is no second-leg upset in Russia, they still need to negotiate a two-legged semi-final to reach the final in Lyon on 16 May. Yet the way they dismantled CSKA, who started their European campaign in the Champions League, was impressive – although victory came at a cost.

Wenger confirmed after the game that keeper David Ospina, who suffered an ankle injury on the eve of the game, will be out for between two and three weeks, while Mkhitaryan, who was substituted, will miss Sunday’s game against Southampton with a damaged knee.

Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late double set Arsenal on course for victory over relegation-threatened Stoke at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners were booed off at half-time by another sparse and subdued home crowd after seeing Aaron Ramsey clip the crossbar with their only clear chance of the first 45 minutes. Arsenal showed greater urgency after the break, although Stoke struck the woodwork through a Xherdan Shaqiri corner before the hosts were awarded a disputed penalty for a foul by Bruno Martins Indi on Mesut Ozil.

Aubameyang converted the spot-kick before firing home from an Ozil corner. And the Gabon striker passed up the chance to claim a hat-trick when Arsenal were awarded another penalty late on. Badou Ndiaye pushed Alexandre Lacazette in the box and the Arsenal substitute converted to round off a scoreline which flattered the Gunners. Despite having 17 days between matches – a result of the international break and being out of the FA Cup – Arsenal looked laboured in possession and had only just got into the ascendancy when the first penalty was awarded. Replays showed that Arsene Wenger’s men were perhaps fortunate as Martins Indi appeared to get his left foot to the ball before catching Ozil from behind.

Ndiaye then fired narrowly wide for Stoke before Arsenal clinched a fourth straight victory with the two late goals. They remain sixth in the Premier League table, five points adrift of Chelsea, in fifth, and 10 behind fourth-placed Tottenham before the London rivals faced each other (16:00 BST). Despite starting on the front foot, Stoke stay second from bottom, three points from safety, after their eighth game without a win. Petr Cech and Granit Xhaka had been ever-presents in the Premier League but they lost their record as Wenger left them out of the starting line-up. Laurent Koscielny was also left on the bench as he is nursing an Achilles problem.

Troy Deeney, Teeny Weeny

The chance of scoring a penalty fell to Watford captain Troy Deeney after Pereyra had been fouled in the penalty area by a combination of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi. However, Deeney, much to the delight of the home fans, had the resulting spot-kick saved by Cech.

After Watford’s 2-1 win over Arsenal at Vicarage Road in October, Deeney criticised the Gunners’ players and their character. After that match, he said: “There’s a reason they lost. It’s having a bit of cojones. Whenever I play against Arsenal, I’ll go up and think ‘let me whack the first one and see who wants it’. “They all just backed off. For me as a player, I just think ‘happy days’.” But Deeney, who had scored three times in his past four appearances, had a day to forget on Sunday as his penalty was too close to Cech in the middle of the goal, and the Czech saved it.

Where are your cojones Deeney? Or shall we just called you Troy Deeney, Teeney Weeney! You piece of shit, karma just came and bit you in the ass.

Arsenal 3 Watford 0

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his team had to “get the fans back on our side again” after ending a run of three successive Premier League defeats with a fine win over Watford. Despite an official attendance of 59,131, there were empty seats all around the Emirates with a number of season-ticket holders seemingly put off by the Gunners’ disappointing league season. Goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Wenger’s side their first league win since beating Everton 5-1 on 3 February. Watford, beaten for only the second time in six matches, saw Troy Deeney’s penalty saved by Petr Cech, who registered the 200th Premier League clean sheet of his career to become the first keeper to reach that mark.

The win leaves the Gunners sixth, 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham who are in the final Champions League spot. However, Arsenal could still qualify for next season’s Champions League if they win the Europa League, and that competition affected Arsene Wenger’s team selection on Sunday. With Arsenal holding a 2-0 lead against AC Milan and playing the second leg of their last-16 tie at home on Thursday, Wenger took a risk by making six changes. Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were rested, with Jack Wilshere only on the bench, but the gamble paid off for Arsenal. Those Arsenal fans who had turned up were almost celebrating after only two minutes when Aubameyang was clean through, but he was denied by a fine save by Orestis Karnezis.

But the Gunners took the lead only six minutes later when Mesut Ozil’s free-kick from the left touchline was powerfully headed in by Mustafi. Aubameyang, Ozil and Granit Xhaka were denied by Karnezis, before Aubameyang made it 2-0, collecting Mkhitaryan’s pass and taking the ball around the Watford keeper. After Deeney’s penalty miss, Mkhitaryan added a third when he shot past Karnezis following Aubameyang’s pass for his first league goal for the Gunners. With the Europa League on Wenger’s mind, the Frenchman was able to take Mkhitaryan off late on for Wilshere, although Mustafi is now a doubt for Thursday’s match after he limped off in the second half.

Arsene Wenger registered his 700th Arsenal win in his 1,222nd match in charge of the Gunners. Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil became the fastest player to reach 50 Premier League assists, doing so in just 141 games and breaking the record held by former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona (143 games). Petr Cech made his first Premier League penalty save since February 2011 for Chelsea against Fulham – it was also the 16th he had faced in all competitions for Arsenal and the first one he had saved for the Gunners. Cech registered his 200th Premier League clean sheet, the first goalkeeper to achieve this feat in the competition’s history. Henrikh Mkhitaryan now has the same record this season in nine appearances for Arsenal in all competitions as he did in 22 games for Manchester United (two goals, five assists).

No Trust In Wenger

Eighty-eight per cent of Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) members who responded to a survey say they do not support Arsene Wenger remaining in charge of the club beyond the end of the season. Why the fuck is he still here? The Arsenal board are a bunch of spineless and ball-less men who have their heads up their asses. They should get rid of Arsene right now! Now! Immediately and dump him on his ass.

FURIOUS Arsenal stars are stabbing each other in the back over the club’s dreadful run of form. The blame game in the Arsenal dressing room began after Brighton condemned them to a fourth successive defeat. Arsenal have no hope of finishing in the top four of the Premier League and face a tough Europa League clash with Milan on Thursday. Wenger is under massive pressure at Arsenal, but remains hopeful he can still get back into the Champions League if they can go all the way in the Europa. There is zero chance of that happening.

This team has no leaders and is desperate of having a voice in the squad. Sell Xhaka, Bellerin, Cech, Mustafi, Welbeck, fucking Iwobi and well Mertesacker is retiring so that’s ok. Sell, sell or trade away and bring in better players.

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Arsenal 1

Brighton beat Arsenal for the first time since 1982 to increase the pressure on Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. Lewis Dunk put Brighton ahead when he hooked the ball home from a corner after it dropped to him inside the six-yard box. The Seagulls added a second when Laurent Koscielny’s misplaced pass was intercepted and Pascal Gross teased a high cross into the box for Glenn Murray to head past Petr Cech. Arsenal pulled a goal back when Brighton failed to clear their lines. Granit Xhaka fed the ball into Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who cleverly flicked the ball home with the outside of his boot.

Arsenal dominated possession in the second half and had a late chance to equalise through Aubameyang but he could only shoot straight at Mathew Ryan. The Gunners were also fortunate not to have Sead Kolasinac, who had already been booked, sent off for a challenge that ended Ezequiel Schelotto’s involvement. Arsenal were meek in back-to-back 3-0 defeats to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley last Sunday and at the Emirates in the Premier League four days later. Losing to Pep Guardiola’s irresistible champions-elect is one thing, but to a Brighton side battling relegation will not be so palatable for Arsenal fans growing increasingly tired of Wenger’s reign. It was the first time the Gunners had lost four consecutive matches since October 2002 in a run that saw them beaten by Everton, Auxerre, Blackburn and Borussia Dortmund.

They were defending champions that season and ended the campaign as runners-up to Manchester United but retained the FA Cup. Over 15 years later and things are not quite so rosy for Wenger with the club seemingly in terminal decline. Wenger, initially at least, did not look like a man under pressure at the Amex as he warmly embraced Brighton counterpart Chris Hughton and shared a joke with a photographer. However, by early in the second half with his side 2-1 down his mood darkened and he nervously pulled apart a coffee stirrer as he sat on the bench.

The travelling fans, who held up ‘Wenger out’ banners at the final whistle, will want the Arsenal board to wake up and smell it.

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3

Manchester City produced a scintillating performance to comprehensively beat Arsenal for the second time in five days and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points. With just 10 games remaining, City need five victories to clinch the title. “We are close. It’s in our hands, we can’t deny it,” manager Pep Guardiola said. “These are the last steps to be champions. You keep going until the end.” After beating the Gunners 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, City dominated in a toxic atmosphere at a half-full Emirates Stadium.

Bernardo Silva opened the scoring in the 15th minute, beautifully curling in a left-footed strike into the far corner after Leroy Sane’s mazy run. David Silva finished off a fine team move in the 28th minute for City’s second before Sane did the same five minutes later. Arsenal had the opportunity to cut the deficit shortly after half-time but Ederson saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty.

“We played with low confidence, you could see that at the start of the game and we paid for it,” Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said. “We lost to a team that is the best in the country at the moment.” The result sees City pull further away from Manchester United at the top of the table and marks Guardiola’s 100th game at the club with a win. Arsenal, meanwhile, stay sixth, 10 points off the top four.

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3

Pep Guardiola secured his first trophy as Manchester City manager as they overpowered Arsenal to win the Carabao Cup in convincing fashion at Wembley. City responded to Monday’s shock FA Cup fifth-round defeat by League One Wigan Athletic in style as they swept aside Arsenal and now turn their attention to clinching the Premier League and continuing their Champions League campaign. Sergio Aguero gave City an 18th-minute lead when he took full advantage of Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi’s feeble challenge to latch on to keeper Claudio Bravo’s goal-kick and loft a cool finish over David Ospina. Arsenal were toothless apart from one early opening when Kyle Walker stopped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the six-yard area and the contest was effectively over when man-of-the-match Vincent Kompany swept in Ilkay Gundogan’s cross-shot just before the hour.

David Silva put the final flourish on City and Guardiola’s day with a powerful shot past Ospina before City closed out the most routine of victories. There was one contentious note which may draw further attention from the Football Association as Guardiola wore his trademark yellow ribbon, which he displays in supported of imprisoned politicians in his native Catalonia, despite facing a charge from English football’s governing body for “wearing a political message”. If one moment summed up Arsenal’s performance, it was the dismal manner in which Mustafi was left appealing limply for a foul after failing to deal with a routine long goal-kick from Bravo, a light-as-a-feather touch from Aguero paving the way for him to beat the onrushing Ospina.

Arsenal, quite simply, were overpowered with no answer to City’s quality once a lacklustre first 45 minutes gave way to a second half in which Guardiola’s side camped out in Gunners territory. Lightweight, loose in possession and defensively weak, Arsenal were no match for City. When the final whistle blew, the portion of Wembley where Arsenal’s fans were housed was virtually deserted, many taking Silva’s third goal as the signal to head for the exits and beat the rush home. Few could blame them as this was a painful experience. This was a chastening afternoon for Wenger as another trophy hope was ended – faced with the cold, hard reality that Arsenal look light years behind this burgeoning, developing Manchester City.

Arsenal 1 Osterunds FK 2

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said his side were complacent as they survived a huge scare against Swedish minnows Ostersunds FK to claim a place in the last 16 of the Europa League. The Gunners won the first leg 3-0 but one of football’s great shocks looked possible at half-time after the visitors struck two goals in 70 seconds. Graham Potter’s side, who have risen from Sweden’s fourth tier since 2010, were on top in the first half and led 2-0 thanks to Calum Chambers’ own goal – deflecting in Hosam Aiesh’s shot – and Ken Sema’s clinical strike. But the Gunners – who named a reasonably strong side only three days before their Carabao Cup final with Manchester City – improved slightly after the break and Sead Kolasinac finished from Hector Bellerin’s cross to relieve the sense of dread inside Emirates Stadium.

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. “I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals. “In the first half we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble. Arsenal, who have never won the Uefa Cup or Europa League, will discover their last-16 opponents at 12:00 GMT on Friday. Ostersund are only the second team to win a game at the Emirates in the Gunners’ last 28 matches – a run dating back to March 2017. Chambers was arguably at fault for both strikes. For the first, he turned home Aiesh’s shot and for the second he was beaten to the ball by Sema and then turned away from the winger’s superb finish.

Things got better in the second half, although had they got worse this would probably have gone down as Wenger’s lowest point as Arsenal boss. Granit Xhaka replaced young midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles at the break and the Gunners looked reasonably comfortable once Kolasinac took advantage of Ronald Mukiibi’s air-kick from Bellerin’s cross to lash home. Danny Welbeck had four chances to score, but he headed two straight at Aly Keita, chipped the other to the goalkeeper and shot straight at him again in the last minute.

Ostersunds FK 0 Arsenal 3

Arsene Wenger praised his Arsenal side for the way they overcame unfamiliar surroundings as they easily beat Swedish side Ostersunds FK to more or less guarantee their place in the last 16 of the Europa League. The game was played in -4C temperatures on a 4G plastic pitch at the Jamtkraft Arena, but the visitors made light of alien conditions to win comfortably. Left-back Nacho Monreal scored the Gunners’ first from close range when Ostersund goalkeeper Aly Keita fumbled Alex Iwobi’s strike. Then the home side’s centre-back Sotirios Papagiannopoulos diverted Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s cross into his own net after the Armenian seized on a loose pass.

Ostersund improved after the break but any prospect of a revival was ended by Mesut Ozil, who made a well-timed run into the area and squeezed his shot past Keita for the third, before the hosts had a late penalty saved. “I think we adapted quite well to the pitch,” Wenger said after the game. “[Ostersund] were maybe a bit cautious at the start and we took advantage of it. “I feel that at 2-0 at half-time, it was important for us not to concede a goal and win the second half. “The risk at the start was that I didn’t know how tough the pitch would be for our players. But overall we have no game over the weekend, so it was an easier decision. “The only risk was the injuries. I’m happy we had no problems.”

The 27-year-old Danny Welbeck has only made 12 starts this season, after the club signed France striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for £46.5m in the summer. With Lacazette out for up to six weeks after knee surgery, this was a chance for Welbeck, who has scored five goals this term, to remind everyone of his ability. He skewed an early header badly wide and at other times passed when he should have shot, frequently striking the ball without conviction. The Swedish club’s English manager Graham Potter, who has led them to three promotions since 2010, could at least reflect on a bright performance from striker Saman Ghoddos. The Iran international forced Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina into a couple of saves and led the line with pace and determination. Arsenal host the second leg of the last-32 tie at Emirates Stadium next Thursday (20:05 GMT).

Tottenham Spurs 1 Arsenal 0

Harry Kane’s towering header deservedly settled the north London derby at Wembley in Tottenham’s favour as their surge towards an end-of-season place in the Premier League’s top four gathers momentum. Kane soared high above Laurent Koscielny in the 49th minute to direct a Ben Davies cross beyond Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech and move Spurs up to third in the table. And it was only the defiance of Cech that kept a rampant Spurs at bay in the second half, producing a collection of outstanding saves to somehow keep Arsenal in contention as Mauricio Pochettino’s side threatened to run riot. It was a performance that almost earned outplayed Arsenal an unlikely point only for substitute Alexandre Lacazette to waste two last-gasp opportunities, the second when he was clear through on Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris but shot wide of the far post.

Spurs survived the scare – and such was their domination after the break that it would have been a travesty had Arsenal escaped Wembley with a draw. Tottenham were slow to get into their stride in a first 45 minutes characterised by Arsenal’s defensive discipline – but once they moved through the gears the Gunners simply could not live with them. It was only the outstanding Cech that stood between Arsenal and a second-half rout as Spurs simply swamped their opponents after the break with a formidable display of power, pace and sheer intensity. Spurs, at least until Liverpool play Southampton on Sunday and Chelsea meet West Bromwich Albion on Monday night, have now moved into third place in the Premier League and right to the heart of the battle for places in next season’s Champions League.

And on current form, having beaten Manchester United in equally impressive fashion here in their last home league game and performed with such measure and authority to earn a point at Liverpool last weekend, Spurs are making a strong case to be the best of the rest after runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp would mount their own arguments against that but this was Tottenham’s third powerful statement in less than a fortnight and the perfect preparation for this week’s exacting Champions League last 16 meeting with Juventus in Turin. Once the cobwebs of a lack-lustre first half were blown away, Spurs were irresistible and Arsenal were simply unable to cope with the power of Mousa Dembele in midfield and the creation and running of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli – combined with the inevitable goalscoring prowess of Kane.