Arsene Wenger blamed the fact that it was Easter Sunday for the large number of empty seats at Ashburton Grove on Sunday but is the manager just fooling himself?

When asked about the empty seats after the game, Wenger replied, “It is explicable by the fact it is Easter, a family happening.

“We’re not going for a lot in the Premier League in people’s minds. We had a break, the last two or three weeks we faced that problem.”

First it was the snow against Manchester City, then it was Mother’s Day against Watford. Now it is Easter and not the poor standard of football being served up that is keeping fans away.

Daily Mail 2 April 2018

Arsenal haven’t played at home on Easter Sunday since 2012, when they beat Manchester City 1-0.

City went on to win the title that season while Arsenal finished third, 19 points behind them. Eight years on and Arsene Wenger’s men are 33 points behind City in the first week of April having lost 10 games to City’s one.

There is, of course, no comparison between a match against Manchester City and Stoke, but if Easter was so important to Arsenal fans that it kept them away from the stadium in their thousands against the Potters, you’d expect to see at least a couple of gaps in the crowd from that Manchester City game.

So I looked at some photos to see if there were any and if you look at the crowd in the images below, you will find that empty seats are hard to spot:

This certainly wasn’t the case on Sunday:

Arsenal, as they do, announced attendance based on tickets sold (59k) rather than bums on seats.

Wenger would get far more credit if he admitted he knows why fans are staying away.

As it stands, he just sounds ridiculous as he tries to convince us all of something we know is clearly not true.

Trumpish.