By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes that the Arsenal fans who turned on Emmanuel Eboue last season knew they had gone too far.

The Ivorian endured a nightmare in last season’s meeting against this weekend’s opponents, Wigan Athletic. Eboue was brought on as a second-half substitute and struggled in an unfamiliar left-midfield role that he was taken off in stoppage time.

As the 26-year-old left the field he was jeered by some sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd, a reaction which left Eboue in tears.

Wenger had a front-row seat at last December’s fixture and reflected on Eboue’s torment when he faced the media at his pre-match press conference on Friday. The Frenchman understands why some Arsenal supporters directed their frustrations at the Ivorian but he sensed at the time that a line had been crossed.

 “You would like everybody to respect everybody but I think as well you can understand that people pay and they want to see top quality behaviour,” said Wenger.

“But I think the incident worked for him [Eboue] because people think ‘come on we have gone too far there’.

“I believe as well the fans realise that they can go too far and in that case part of the public said ‘no, that is not right no matter what happens. We have to stand behind the players’.”

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18 Sep 2009