Arsene Wenger (file pic).

Neville leaps to Wenger's defence and hits out at 'embarrassing' Arsenal fans

The former player turned pundit feels aggrieved that supporters are calling for the club’s long-serving manager to be culled

Updated at 10.30

FORMER MAN UNITED man Gary Neville has leapt to the defence of Arsene Wenger in the wake of the criticism directed at the Arsenal boss following the Gunners’ 3-1 loss to Chelsea.

Wenger’s side were torn apart by the English table toppers at Stamford Bridge, and fans of the north London club are showing signs of frustration and deja vu as they once again endure a Premier League title push falling to pieces.

With supporters tired of falling near the final hurdle, calls are being made for the French boss to resign and make way for a new boss with new ideas that could finally get the Gunners over the title line for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

And Neville, perhaps an unlikely source of support for Wenger, has called for people to appreciate the bigger picture at the Emirates.

Wenger’s biggest challenge is that he’s been there a long time,” he told Sky Sports. “If Wenger was Jurgen Klopp and was above Man City and Man United — clubs that have spent £200m between them — people would say he is doing a great job.

“If you were to imagine Arsenal without Wenger, they could end up seventh or eighth given the budgets they have. If Wenger were Klopp now, we’d be saying he is doing a good job because he’s 18 months in. Actually, isn’t Wenger not doing a great job full stop?

It was embarrassing seeing Arsenal fans slating Wenger after the Chelsea game. He doesn’t deserve that, he has done an unbelievable job. If he were to announce his retirement, everybody would plough in with tributes and in 10 months’ time they might be thinking, ‘I wish he was still here’.

“There isn’t a part of me that wants Arsenal to replace Wenger when the club have supported him for so many years. I feel very uncomfortable suggesting the grass may be greener and that he should move on.”

Neville subsequently argued with The Times’ Chief Football Writer Henry Winter over the Sky Sports pundit’s description of a fan calling for Wenger to go as an “idiot,” while also offering to go on Arsenal Fan TV and debate the issue with Gunners supporters.

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