Everton boss Roberto Martinez has slammed the critics of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, stating that the London outfit remain strong contenders for the title, ahead of their trip to Goodison Park.
Arsene Wenger has come under widespread criticism following a dismal run by Arsenal that has seen them win just 2 out of their 9 Premier League games since January 4th.
With Leicester City now 11 points clear of the Gunners, a defeat at Goodison will see Arsenal a whooping 14 points adrift of the top spot, and psychologically out of the title race, if not mathematically.
Martinez defends Wenger, hails him as a modern great
The run of poor form does not seem to have stopped the eminent colleagues of Wenger from hailing him. Everton boss Roberto Martinez is only the latest one to launch into a defence of the Frenchman.
Ahead of the game against Arsenal, Martinez, who has found himself in the midst of heavy criticism with Everton looking likely to miss out on a European place, spoke against the rampant criticism directed towards Wenger. He said that the ruthless nature of the game in modern times means that it is easy for people to forget the good work that has been done, the moment the team starts losing a few games.
“It’s the modern times there’s almost a need to have an opinion and criticise the losing team,” the Spaniard was quoted as saying by ESPN FC.
“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.
“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.”
Arsenal still a strong contender for the title: Martinez
The Everton manager went on to add that he believes that the Gunners are very much in the title race, and remain strong contenders.
He said: “Arsenal, with the experience that they have, the know-how, the clarity and the way they play football – it doesn’t matter what pressure is on them they will always play with a certain style and be very, very good in that style.
“I just feel Arsenal are still strong title contenders and that’s what we’re going to be facing at Goodison.”
Is criticism directed at Wenger justified?
While Wenger was instrumental in ensuring that Arsenal survived a financial crunch in the past, it will not be entirely wrong to say that he has failed to take Arsenal to the next level subsequently.
He would have found acceptance among the fans and critics if Arsenal had shown signs of progress, but it seems like the London outfit has only been repeating the same mistakes year after year.
Many see it as the arrogance of the man, some see it as his blind-side. What cannot be ignored is that it is not the first time that Arsenal were leading the league and faltered under the pressure of being the leaders. 2 wins from 9 games since reaching the top of the league, and an exit from all other competitions is bound to raise questions over a manager’s ability to lead a club.