A group of Arsenal fans from around the world have teamed up to show their support for under-fire manager Arsene Wenger – by arranging a ‘respect’ banner to be displayed at Emirates Stadium.
Wenger's side sit 12 points off fourth-placed Liverpool with eight games left of the Premier League season, but have impressed in their last two matches including victory over AC Milan in the Europa League last-16 first-leg clash.
Large numbers of Arsenal fans have called for the long-serving Frenchman to leave the club this summer after disappointing performances on the pitch this season, but a group of 18 supporters from as far flung as Saudi Arabia to Japan have backed a new banner which will make its debut in the North Bank during the return leg against Milan on Thursday.
“We decided to design a new flag after Arsenal won the FA Cup last season as the old banner only had six cups on display,” lead member Abdullah Faiz told Goal.
“The new banner is not necessarily a ‘Wenger In’ banner, but it is all about respect and appreciation. There were around 20 people from different nationalities and backgrounds who helped to design and fund it.
“Arsenal fans who have the utmost respect for their manager wanted to stand up for him and say, 'We have your back in this turbulent period.'”
Arsenal's lowest attendance record has been broken twice this season, as games with empty seats are starting to become a familiar theme among an apathetic home support.
However, Wenger has urged his side to continue their recent upturn in form to ensure the stadium is at full capacity for the remainder of the season.
FA Cup number 7 for the great man, unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/gCzBiZCvmR— Thank You Arsène (@ThankYouAW) May 27, 2017
"If there are one or two games and the stadium is not completely full we have to look at ourselves and get the fans behind us again," he said ahead of Thursday's Europa League tie.
"This club is massive and the support is huge. It is just down to our performances."
Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey shared the comments of his manager and said the players will be focused on the target at hand with a place in Friday's quarter-final draw up for grabs.
"Hopefully there won't be so many empty seats," said the Wales star.
"But we're just focused on going out there and trying to win a football game. Hopefully, our performances on the pitch will encourage many to come back."