Patrick Vieira has strong words for Arsenal fans over anti-Wenger banner

The former Gunners captain claims supporters went too far with their protests against the long-serving manager.

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has told talkSPORT that the club's fans took their criticism of Arsene Wenger too far by displaying a banner in the FA Cup replay victory over Hull City last week, accusing supporters of forgetting what his former manager has done for the club.

Wenger, who is the longest-serving manager in a major European league, is coming under increasing pressure as the Gunners' challenges for trophies this season have begun to come off the rails.

After losing ground in the Premier League title race, the North London club are on the brink of Champions League elimination, and they were taken to a replay after failing to break down Championship Hull at the Emirates Stadium in their initial FA Cup fifth-round clash.

Arsenal ultimately won the replay 4-0 at the KC Stadium, but not before a banner, which has been displayed in previous years by the club's fans, was unfurled reading "Arsene: Thanks for the memories but it's time to say goodbye".

The banner has received criticism from players and pundits, and Vieira, who captained Wenger's side to an unbeaten title-winning season in 2003-4, insists that the manner in which fans voiced their discontent was disrespectful to his former boss.

The Frenchman, now currently manager of New York City in MLS, told talkSPORT: "Arsenal are going through a difficult period, but I was surprised and a bit disappointed [by the banner].

"Fans can be frustrated, but they forget at times what Arsene has brought to the club. He deserves a bit more respect. Fans can boo and show their anger, but the way they did it with that banner showed a lack of respect.

"This is the way it is, this is football, but it shouldn’t be like that. Arsene will know when it is time for him to go. He knows what he is doing. He has done a fantastic, unbelievable job for Arsenal Football Club and, with that message after the Hull game, the fans went a little bit too far."

In his two decades at the club, Wenger has led Arsenal to three Premier League titles and six FA Cup triumphs, as well as a Champions League final 10 years ago..

Meanwhile, Vieira was one of the most vital members of his compatriot's squad from the moment he arrived at Highbury from AC Milan just prior to the manager's arrival, making over 400 appearances for the Gunners in nine years in London.

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