Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has suggested that Arsenal fans are wrong to blame Arsene Wenger for recent poor results.
Wenger was crucified by Arsenal supporters following the defeat to Stoke City, but the boss repaired the relationship with a good performance against Newcastle and the club securing a favourable draw in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Ox has admitted that he feels the frustrations of the fans but has revealed his belief that the players should be blamed and not the manager.
“I understand their frustration. I would definitely say that and they are completely entitled to their own opinion,” he told the Standard.
“I am sure they have supported us for a number of years so they are definitely entitled to their opinion and I can understand their frustration. But I wouldn't put that on the manager. We have to stand up ourselves as players.”
“On that day [at Stoke], it wasn't the manager's fault we went 3-0 down like we did in the first half. It was us as a group of players — we were not at the required level.”
It’s one of football’s longest running debates; who takes the blame, the manager or the players?
Wenger has been criticised for showing a complete and utter faith in his ability and his philosophy to attack teams and smother them with creative play.
That’s one of the main reasons attributed to why Arsenal have been caught on the counter attack so many times this season, with Wayne Rooney’s goal at the Emirates a classic example.
However, what Wenger can do nothing about is little situations which change and break out on the pitch.
Small movements, tactical changes and switches from opposition players are something that the players need to react to because it’s extremely difficult for the boss to restructure a side from long distance.
“On that day, it would have been harsh for a fan to completely blame our manager. As players, we are adults and we need to stand up and take some of that blame ourselves.”
Wenger has always been one of the best around in terms of protecting his players and it’s now time his players stepped up and protected him.