Nearly one third of all seats at the Emirates have been empty at recent home Premier League matches, with Arsenal languishing in sixth place and already out of the battle for a top-four spot.
Arsene Wenger said the empty seats at the Emirates Stadium are “not a big concern” and insisted Arsenal have a “very faithful crowd” despite low attendances at recent home games.
But Wenger pointed to high demand from season-ticket holders to renew their seats and the fact that every game has been sold out.
“It’s not a big concern because our crowd is very solid at the moment,” Wenger said at a news conference on Thursday. “We have played on some special days, we don’t go for the league [title]. I believe we have a very faithful crowd, very faithful fans, who will always be there and support the club. When you look at the renewal numbers for next season, they are absolutely outstanding.
“We are sold out in every single game so I don’t know where the problem is at the moment. If you feel like next season it will not be the case, then we’ll have to face it. But I believe that, if you look at our numbers and how much people want to renew tickets for next season, I don’t believe that we have a major problem. We have a major problem at the moment because we’re not in a position to win the league. That’s our biggest problem. The biggest problem is not the number of fans who are behind the team.”
A low attendance is expected for Sunday’s home game against West Ham United, with Arsenal’s main priority in the league now to stay ahead of seventh-place Burnley.
Wenger, though, promised to field his strongest team against West Ham and use the game as preparation for next Thursday’s Europa League semifinal against Atletico Madrid.
The manager has rotated his team heavily for the last two league games in the wake of Europa League matches but said there’s no need to do so this time.
“I would say this weekend is as well a preparation for Thursday. I rested some players after the Moscow game, and they will need a game,” Wenger said. “It’s not so much rest, it’s more preparation.”