It has been revealed that the Arsenal players organised a secret meeting without manager Arsene Wenger, following the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
According to the Sun, it was club captain Per Mertesacker which called a meeting to discuss Arsenal's terrible cup final performance and to also rally the troops to ensure a strong end to the season.
The Arsenal players were reportedly critical of each others performances and attitude during the EFL Cup final. Mertesacker, who was an unused substitute for the match, also warned the squad that they could now be playing to save Wenger's job.
Paul Merson on Arsenal’s defeat to #mcfc: “One team was playing in a cup final, the other team looked like they were playing a testimonial. I know people say the manager is responsible, but the players have got to take part of the blame now, it’s not always Wenger’s fault.” #afc pic.twitter.com/2rZ070EWlL— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 28, 2018
The German defender will become Arsenal's academy manager at the end of the season, but seems to have already got a good taste of player management after holding this crisis meeting. He called for the players to settle their differences and come together for the crucial last stage of the season.
Arsene Wenger himself has challenged the players to turn their season around, and warned it could be all change in the summer if they don't. This is the most pressure the Arsenal boss has been under during is 21-year-tenure. The club have apparently starting listing up some potential replacements with former Gunner Mikel Arteta and Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim said to be in the running.
It has been a disastrous week for the Gunners. Their Cup final thrashing was preceded by an embarrassing defeat at home to Swedish minnows Ostersunds FK in the Europa League. Providing the weather does not change things, Arsenal will play City again on Thursday night.
Mertesacker fears that morale and team spirit is at breaking point. With a top-four place growing even further out of reach, all attention must surely turn to the Europa League. However, Arsenal face a tough test in the round of 16 where they face AC Milan who are undefeated in 2018.