Week of woe looms large for Arsenal
Out of the Champions League. Out of the FA Cup. Out of the Premier League title race?
A miserable week for Arsenal would be capped on Saturday if the team fails to beat Everton.
The Premier League trophy, which the Gunners haven't won since 2004, will become increasingly unobtainable if their three-game winless league run continues.
At the start of the year, Arsenal were two points in front of Leicester in first place and in contention for three trophies.
Three months later, Arsenal trail Leicester by 11 points and are sitting third. Arsenal's FA Cup defence was surprisingly ended by Watford on Sunday, before Barcelona beat the Gunners in the Champions League.
As so often, barring a collapse by Leicester, Arsenal's season could come down to securing a top-four place and Champions League qualification. That's not enough for some Arsenal fans, who expect more from their wealthy team.
But as Everton manager Roberto Martinez prepares to host counterpart Arsene Wenger, he is amazed that a vocal section of Arsenal fans is calling for the Frenchman to leave after 20 years in charge.
"It seems it doesn't matter what you've done in a football club, how you've built it or if you've been the best manager in the last 20 years in European football, the modern game is ruthless," Martinez said yesterday. "On the back of a defeat, you are going to get criticised. Everyone has got
an opinion, everyone knows better than you and that's disappointing."
Martinez was playing for Wigan when Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 and two years later led them to the first of three Premier League titles.
"The management that he brought into the British game has changed British football," said Martinez, who has also coached Swansea and Wigan. "What he has achieved at Arsenal is a model that many, many football people have been inspired by. The short-term situation of one or two results sometimes overshadows the incredible work over the years.
DON'T PUSH ASIDE
"The style that Arsene Wenger represents shouldn't just be put aside. It's just a reflection of the modern times when we are easily led to criticise a manager who has done incredible things in the game."
Arsenal will be hoping Tottenham slip up at home to Bournemouth, given that their London rivals are six points ahead and have played a game more.
Leicester, who are five points ahead of Tottenham, face a Crystal Palace team which has dropped from sixth in December to 15th by winning only one in 16 games.