Wenger to make announcement on future ‘very soon’

AFP-JIJI

Arsene Wenger revealed he will make an announcement about his Arsenal future “very soon” after his side’s problems multiplied in a 3-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

“I know what I’ll do in my future, so you will know very soon,” Wenger told reporters after Arsenal’s fourth loss in five Premier League games.

Wenger, Arsenal’s manager since 1996, is under heavy pressure after his team was thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and fell five points off the top four in the Premier League.

Gary Cahill’s 87th-minute winner earned leader Chelsea a 2-1 win at Stoke City that sent it 13 points clear, while champion Leicester City’s resurgence continued with a 3-2 victory at West Ham United.

Craig Dawson scored two headers at The Hawthorns as West Brom condemned Arsenal to a sixth defeat in nine games in all competitions.

Dawson’s 12th-minute opener was cancelled out by Alexis Sanchez — who was later injured — but substitute Hal Robson-Kanu restored the hosts’ lead before Dawson headed in his second goal.

Rival groups of Arsenal fans paid for two planes trailing banners to fly over the ground during the game, one reading “No contract, Wenger out,” the other “In Arsene we trust.”

“You will see,” Wenger added on the subject of his future. “Today I do not necessarily worry about that. We are in a unique bad patch we never had in 20 years.

“We lose game after game at the moment and that for me is much more important than my future.”

Arsenal also lost goalkeeper Petr Cech to a muscular problem and Wenger revealed talisman Sanchez’s ankle was in “an absolutely terrible state,” raising fears of ligament damage.

Chelsea was missing Eden Hazard at Stoke’s Bet365 Stadium due to what manager Antonio Conte termed a “little problem” affecting his calf.

Chelsea took the lead in the 13th minute when Willian’s free-kick from wide on the left caught out Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant at his near post.

Jonathan Walters levelled with a 38th-minute penalty awarded for a push on him by Cahill, but the England defender atoned to smash in a late winner from Cesc Fabregas’s free-kick.

Stoke’s Phil Bardsley was sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offense.

“I am pleased because to play Stoke at this point of the season, you have to be prepared mentally and physically,” said Conte.

“We have a 10-point gap, 13 at the moment, but I like to think our opponents will win tomorrow. We have to look at ourselves.”

Chelsea provisionally moved 13 points clear of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s games.

A day after being drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals, Leicester won at West Ham to record a fourth straight victory since Craig Shakespeare succeeded Claudio Ranieri as manager.

Leicester led 2-0 inside seven minutes, Riyad Mahrez’s cross from the right curling straight in before Robert Huth headed in a cross from Marc Albrighton.

Manuel Lanzini’s 20th-minute free-kick reduced the arrears before Jamie Vardy slammed in Leicester’s third.

Despite Andre Ayew pulling a goal back, the visitors held on to move six points clear of the bottom three.

“We showed all the attributes to win a game. We started really well and got the goals, but it was backs to the wall at the end,” Shakespeare told the BBC.

“We have important league games before the Champions League game with Atletico Madrid. We needed something from today, heading into the international break. We can recharge the batteries now.”

Everton drew level on points with fifth-place Arsenal, albeit having played two more games, after a 4-0 win over Hull City.