Mkhitaryan urges Arsenal players to fight for Wenger

Arsene Wenger has faced renewed speculation over his Arsenal future, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan telling team-mates to fight for the manager.

Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan   -  Getty Images

Henrikh Mkhitaryan says Arsenal's players have to "fight" for Arsene Wenger, with the manager under increasing pressure after successive defeats.

A shock home loss to Ostersunds in the Europa League did not prevent the Gunners from progressing to the round of 16, but that result was followed by a 3-0 battering at the hands of Manchester City in Sunday's EFL Cup final.

The Gunners have an immediate chance to get revenge on City, who visit the Emirates Stadium for a Premier League game on Thursday, with Arsenal claiming the match will be played despite heavy snow in London this week.

And with speculation suggesting Leonardo Jardim of Monaco, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Germany coach Joachim Low are being considered by Arsenal's board as potential replacements for Wenger, Mkhitaryan issued a rallying call to his team-mates.

"It's not the easiest time for the club, but we are here to help, do our best, and put Arsenal on the level that it was before," Mkhitaryan told Sky Sports.

"I know it's not going to be easy, but we're trying, and doing our best.

"It's a pleasure to work with [Wenger]. He knows a lot about football, he can give you good advice, and I'm very happy to be here.

"Of course it's not very easy for him either, but we have to play for the club, play for him, because he is a big role model for this team, big person at this club, so we have to do our best to show we are ready to fight for him."

The January arrivals of Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have added to Arsenal's attacking potency, but Wenger's men have conceded five goals in their last two matches.

"Every player has to defend," the Armenia international added. "It doesn't matter if you are a striker, winger, attacking midfield, you have to defend, you cannot just defend with four or five players, the whole team must defend.

"I'm doing my efforts to help the team to defend, sometimes it can work, sometimes it doesn't. But I always try to do my best for the team first of all, and then I'm thinking of myself. I'm not an ego player to think of myself first. Then when I get the ball I can create."

Aubameyang, a club-record signing from Borussia Dortmund, scored on his debut in a crushing Premier League win over Everton, but the Gabon international has since drawn a blank in consecutive Gunners appearances.

But the 28-year-old still believes Arsenal was the right move at this stage of his career, the striker having been strongly linked with a switch to the Chinese Super League.

"It was the next step for me, it's a big club," Aubameyang told Sky Sports. "For me it's a bit bigger than Dortmund, and this was a good step for me and my career.

"I didn't want to go, for example, to China, because I want to do a lot of things here in Europe before I think about China or America. Arsenal were the only club who made an offer - a real offer - and I'm really happy, because it's a good club."

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