Empty Emirates worries Wenger

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang performs a celebratory somersault after scoring Arsenal's second goal during the Gunners' 3-0 Premier League victory over Watford at Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday.

Manager Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal is struggling to win back its furious fans after thousands stayed away from Sunday's 3-0 Premier League win over Watford.

For the second straight game at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal played in front of vast swathes of empty red seats.

The club blamed heavy snow for the low attendance in its recent loss to Manchester City, but the no-show against Watford could only be put down to a combination of anger and apathy after another miserable season.

"Must be - 4 and snowing again at the Emirates," Manchester United great Gary Neville, now a prominent TV analyst, tweeted sarcastically soon after kickoff.

Wenger conceded he could understand why Arsenal fans are so frustrated by their team's wretched run.

"There is a lot of negativity. It is like rain in England, it is easy to get," he said.

"Of course I worry because I want our fans to be behind the team, but after what happened in that week it is understandable.

"We want to have the fans on our side and we do everything to make that happen. I respect everyone's opinion but I focus totally on my job."

The stay-aways missed a solid Gunners performance as goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ended a run of three straight Premier League defeats.

But the win did little to improve Arsenal's prospects of a top-four finish - which brings qualification for the Champions League - and won't carry much weight with supporters who feel ending Wenger's 22-year reign is the only way to get their club back on track.

Without a league title since 2004, Wenger is clinging to the hope that reaching the Champions League by winning this season's Europa League will spare him the axe.

But the drab atmosphere at Sunday's game gave it an end-of-an-era feel that will persist until Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis decide Wenger's fate when the season finishes in May.

For now, all Wenger can do is focus on leading Arsenal on a long winning run, starting with protecting a 2-0 lead when AC Milan visits north London in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.

'Nightmare week'

Wenger is encouraged by the way his players have stayed united in a difficult time.

"We suffered a bit at the start of the second half but after that with our spirit, we stuck together and in the end it was a convincing win," he said.

"It gets us out of this negative spiral a little bit. We had a nightmare week. There is still some work to do, but overall we are in a good way."

In a dismal year, there was a rare moment of vindication for Arsenal when Watford captain Troy Deeney saw his second-half penalty saved by Petr Cech.

Deeney had disparaged the Gunners for lacking "cojones" after Watford beat them in October, and Wenger said a desire to prove the striker wrong had motivated their performance.

"Cech had to wait a while to save a penalty. It's quite fortunate that it was against Deeney," he said.

Afterward, Watford boss Javi Gracia tried to play down the Deeney factor.

"Troy was concentrated on playing well and helping the team," Gracia said. "He had a chance to score the penalty but he didn't do it. I don't know what Arsenal was thinking, but I'm happy with him.

"I'm responsible for my words. I respect all the teams, Arsenal as well."

Kane injury overshadows Spurs win

Son Heung-min ensured Tottenham Hotspur didn't pay a heavy price for an ankle injury sustained by Harry Kane as the South Korean scored twice in a win 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday.

Spurs move above Liverpool into third in the Premier League, but it was a bittersweet victory with concerns over Kane's fitness for both club and country.

England boss Gareth Southgate will name his squad for World Cup warmup friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy later this month on Thursday.

"We are concerned because still we can't know what will happen to him," said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino of Kane.

"We have to wait until tomorrow or after tomorrow for the scan. I hope it is not a massive problem. That is my wish."

Tottenham was dumped out of the Champions League by Juventus in midweek but bounced back in style, with Dele Alli and Serge Aurier scoring either side of Son's double.

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