Arsène Wenger hit out at fans after the north London derby, saying the negativity in the stands can get to the players.
It’s down to Arsenal fans to encourage as much as possible at this stage of the season more than any other: every point matters and we really can be a 12th man for the side.
However, the crowd turned on the team with half an hour left last Wednesday. It was long before Swansea scored a winner through Ashley Williams, and it was absolutely needless. Every decision was booed. Joel Campbell being subbed off, players making a particular pass or not shooting from distance. There’s frustration and then there’s stupidity.
“I prefer that the fans are happy but I’m more worried that it can get to the players’ confidence level,” the Arsenal manager has said. On Monday, I saw plenty of criticism for this particular comment, but I just don’t get it.
Nobody is asking you to be pleased with poor performances, and nobody is saying the fans are the sole reason Arsenal haven’t been winning games. However, some fans (if Twitter is to be believed) genuinely believe players should be immune to jeering.
No matter how well-paid footballers are, they are human. We all know Twitter is full of idiots, but I was still shocked to see so many people turn on the boss for his criticism. It’s as if there’s a belief players shouldn’t make mistakes because they earn a lot of money.
Look: playing Premier League football is difficult. It’s made easier when you feel confident and have 55,000 people appreciating your work. Amazingly enough, it becomes more difficult when 55,000 people boo you, tell you what to do, criticise no matter what you decide on.
Grow up and stop being so tetchy when football matches have ages remaining.