Fans protest proves damp squib as Arsenal secure win over Norwich

Fans protest proves damp squib as Arsenal secure win over Norwich

A fans' protest calling for change at Arsenal fell flat as dissenters at the Emirates Stadium were drowned out by support for Arsene Wenger.

Posters reading 'Time For Change' and 'Arsenal is stale - fresh approach needed' were held up during the Gunners' 1-0 victory over struggling Norwich on Saturday.

A small minority of disgruntled fans, probably numbering in the low hundreds, displayed the signs in the 12th minute of the match, signifying 12 years since the team last won the Barclays Premier League title.

The overall reaction to the protest, however, was mixed, as first a chorus of boos and then a resounding chant of "there's only one Arsene Wenger" rang around the ground.

One supporter loyal to the under-fire Frenchman held up a placard that read 'Proud of Arsene, ashamed of "fans"'.

It created an atmosphere of division in the stands as pockets of spectators argued with each other while two fans near the press box were seen being ejected by stewards.

There was also a small group of protesters outside the stadium singing particularly abusive chants about Wenger before kick-off and holding a banner that read 'Love Arsenal, Hate Kroenke', in relation to the club's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

On the pitch, Arsenal struggled to offer much encouragement early on and when the half-time whistle blew with the game still goalless, there were more jeers from unhappy supporters.

Wenger's decision to take off the talented Alex Iwobi with 34 minutes left was also unpopular but his replacement Danny Welbeck more than justified the switch as four minutes later he drove home a half-volley to put the Gunners ahead.

Fans protest proves damp squib as Arsenal secure win over Norwich

The goal seemed to placate some objectors because when the second scheduled protest arrived in the 78th minute, 12 minutes before the end, the number of posters held up appeared to have slightly reduced.

Former England, Tottenham and Leicester striker Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: "As protests go, Arsenal's is non-league."

Wenger had suggested on Friday that a hostile atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium had contributed to the team's disappointing campaign, which sees them now nine points behind leaders Leicester having played a game more.

There was no mention of the fans' discontent in his match-day programme notes. Wenger began his message: "Of course it's very disappointing for us to be out of the title race, but we must remain focused in these last three games."

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