By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has had better weeks.
The Frenchman was crestfallen after watching his side struggle to a 0-0 draw against Blackburn last Saturday. After that game he could not put his finger on why Arsenal were, in his words, "so flat", when they had so much to play for.
Criticism has rained down on Wenger ever since - from those who pay to watch his players and from those who get paid to comment on his team. Some of it has been pretty strong stuff.
When the manager faced reporters at his pre-match press conference on Friday some of those insults, those perceived shortcomings, were repeated back to him. Given his right of reply, Wenger insisted that he had too much to fight for to succumb to the doom and gloom.
"I'm not hurt at all, but I defend what we do here and the way we do it," he said. "I don't see why we should be negative when we're going for the Championship.
"If I cannot defend the fact that we're second in the league and fighting for the Championship then I should stay at home, but I'm in a fighting job.
"I'm a victim of nothing. I try to do my job as well as I can, and that's it. To be consistent at the top level is the most difficult and important thing in our job. We've been in the Champions League for 15 years, and there's only two clubs who've done that in this country. It's us and Man United."
Last weekend Wenger was asked if he had taken his current squad as far as he can, prompting suggestions that his future at Arsenal might be in doubt. He put the record straight on Friday.
"I don't think about leaving," he said. "I love this club and do the maximum for them. I don't think like that. When I make a commitment I give absolutely everything.
"At the end of the season I'll look back and see what we've done well and not done well. We should not go overboard. We're second in the league so it's not a scandal. Where is the common sense?
"I do as well as I can with the players I have. What's important for me is how well we do. All the rest I don't care about. I don't know where Arsenal would be without me, maybe better, maybe worse. I hope one day maybe better.
"I'm happy that the Club goes on and gets better. But we shouldn't think we have the right to be where we are."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source