Arsène Wenger tells Arsenal fans that he's fed up with player sales too

Manager instructs team to ignore any unrest in the stands in today's north London derby

Discontentment among supporters has been a persistent undercurrent at Arsenal this season but Arsène Wenger insists the environment is no excuse for failure in the north London derby against Tottenham.

The disgruntlement voiced at several matches this season translated to a stormy Annual General Meeting last month with a section of the club's fans taking to singing "we want our Arsenal back" and aiming vitriolic abuse at chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

An awkward dichotomy of seven trophyless seasons combined with the highest ticket prices in the country has widened the gap between fans watching leading players depart and a board speak of ambition and the most solid financial footing in world football.

The derby against Spurs therefore comes at a pivotal moment for Wenger, who has not been immune to criticism himself. Last season, chants of "you don't know what you're doing" rang out in January's home defeat to Manchester United and Spurs arrived the following month threatening to open a 13-point lead in the table.

They raced into a 2-0 lead amid howls of derision from Arsenal supporters – many targeting Theo Walcott after a poor individual first-half display – but roared back to win 5-2 and change the mood.

Wenger is hoping for an equally ebullient experience this lunchtime with supporters of both clubs also urged to avoid anti-Semitic chants and the biannual abuse of the Arsenal manager and Emmanuel Adebayor.

"You think I'm not fed up [with losing the club's best players]? I want them as well to stay," said Wenger. "We have to deal with the crowd. That's our job. We cannot say we are professional and we are affected by any reaction of the crowd. It's our job to deal with that.

"If you want to be a top-level professional you have to understand that your crowd wants you to win and you have to deal with the fact they are not always happy. That's where you see the personalities and the sense of responsibility of the players.

"I understand the logic of it, you know. It's not that the guys are against you as an individual. They want you to win the game and you represent the guy who can make them happy, so that's part of it, but we haven't done too badly. We have finished every year in a good position.

"What affects me is that our fans are not happy. It doesn't stop me from doing what I do on the football pitch, but if you ask me, my biggest desire is to see our fans happy – like the players as well."

Arsenal have finished above Tottenham every season since 1994/95 – a year before Wenger took charge of the Gunners – but have won only two of their last seven Premier League meetings.

Asked if Spurs were closing the gap, Wenger replied: "I get that question every year. For some time, we were winning championships and they were not in the top four at all, so of course they've got closer in recent years. But fortunately we managed always to get above them.

"They have a good side every year and they are always a team who are now fighting with us and it's important in the end, the consistency, and certainly the results in the two derbies can have a big influence as well on the qualifying spots for the Champions League."

Wenger will make a last minute decision on the fitness of striker Olivier Giroud, who returned from international duty with France complaining of hamstring and calf problems, while midfielder Mikel Arteta (hip) will also undergo a late fitness test.

Derby day thrillers: Great goal gluts

Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham, 26 Feb 2012

Third-place Spurs took an early 2-0 lead and were set to go 13 points clear of their neighbours before Arsenal scored five in 27 minutes. Tottenham's season fell away.

Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal, 20 April 2011

Arsenal surrendered a 3-1 lead to fall out of title contention, Rafael van der Vaart scoring twice.

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham, 20 Nov 2010

Trailing 2-0 down at half-time Tottenham hit back to win at Arsenal for the first time in 17 years, Younès Kaboul heading the winner.

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 29 Oct 2008

Two goals in the dying minutes saw Spurs rescue a point in Harry Redknapp's first game in charge.

Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, 13 Nov 2004

Defending took a back seat as nine players found the net, Arsenal winning on a ground where they won the title seven months previously.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable