English Premiership

Wenger protesters clash during Arsenal game

2016-04-30 20:00
An Arsenal supporter holds a banner 'Time For Change... (Getty)

London - Arsenal fans opposed to long-serving manager Arsene Wenger were drowned out by supporters backing him during the north London club's Premier League home game with Norwich City on Saturday.

In a pre-planned protest, hundreds of fans held up A4 posters bearing the words "TIME FOR CHANGE" in the 12th minute of the game at the Emirates Stadium, in a nod to Arsenal's 12-year league title drought.

But in response thousands of fans chanted "There's only one Arsene Wenger!", with some holding aloft placards in support of the under-fire Frenchman.

There were also reports of pro-Wenger and anti-Wenger factions being separated by stadium stewards.

With Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool all toiling and Manchester City inconsistent, this season was seen as a prime opportunity for Arsenal to end their wait for the Premier League title.

But instead they have been left behind by champions-elect Leicester City and local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and now find themselves in a familiar battle to secure a top-four finish and a Champions League place.

Speaking before Saturday's game, Wenger said: "I can understand the frustration of our fans. But despite that, they want to support our team. The best chance they can give our team is to be behind them.

"Some groups of people try to manipulate our fans and I believe apart from an agenda, a personal agenda, a big ego, there's not a lot behind it."

Wenger, 66, became Arsenal manager in 1996 and led the club to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in his first nine years at the helm.

But they have only back-to-back FA Cup wins in 2014 and 2015 to show for their efforts since then and have gone out of the Champions League in the last 16 for the past six seasons running.

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