Wenger: Henry can't judge Arsenal fans' mood from 'best seats in stadium'
Arsene Wenger has rejected his former striker Thierry Henry's assertion that the mood among disgruntled Arsenal fans is the angriest he has ever seen.
Henry wrote in his weekly column in The Sun on Friday that "I have never heard the Arsenal supporters as angry as they were at the Emirates on Wednesday night when their team lost at home to Swansea."
Arsenal were roundly booed after the 2-1 loss that further dented their Premier League title hopes.
The loudest jeers came during the game when Wenger decided to take off Joel Campbell, who had scored the Gunner's goal and been at the heart of most of the team's attacks. By the time the game ended, the Emirates Stadium was half-empty.
In a swipe at the team, Henry, who spent eight years as a player at Arsenal, added that "there is no smoke without fire and those flames were not started in the stands. They were lit on the pitch by the performance of the players."
But Wenger dismissed the comments of Henry -- who is currently helping coach one of Arsenal's youth teams -- by saying he could not accurately assess the fan sentiment from one of the VIP boxes at the Emirates Stadium.
"Thierry Henry has his opinions. He has not found the measurement of the fans' angriness of 60,000 people straight away, because he sits in the best seats in the stadium," Wenger said at his news conference ahead of Saturday's crucial North London derby against Tottenham.
And the Arsenal boss is also convinced that the away contingent will be as supportive as ever at White Hart Lane this weekend.
"The fans will be behind us, I don't worry about that. It's one game where the fans are always behind us," he said. "It's down to us to give them even more belief and make them more vocal by the quality of our game."
Wenger is under increasing pressure after three straight losses have put Arsenal on the brink of elimination from the Champions League and six points behind leaders Leicester in the Premier League.
The Frenchman also responded to comments made by forward Alexis Sanchez, who said after the Swansea loss that the Arsenal players lacked the "hunger" and self-belief needed to win the big games.
"You have to take this statement a bit into perspective," Wenger said. "That's always what's coming out, that belief comes with the last result that you have made. And maybe our confidence has been a bit jaded.
"But it's like always in football, we do 98 percent of the things right, and we have to add the two percent that are down to maybe finding our collective qualities and even put more effort in."
Arsenal will have to rediscover those qualities quickly if they are to avoid their first four-game losing streak since 2002.
Tottenham are three points ahead of Arsenal in second place in the Premier League standings, and a loss on Saturday would put Wenger in real danger of finishing behind the club's arch-rivals for the first time in his 20-year reign.
The Gunners will be without goalkeeper Petr Cech, who will be sidelined for up to a month with a calf injury in another big blow for Wenger.
"It's very difficult to predict what will happen tomorrow," Wenger said. "It's one of the few [North London derbies] where the title race is at stake, maybe the only one since I've been here."
Wenger also deflected questions about whether this season would be a failure if the team does not win a first Premier League title since 2004.
"Honestly, at the moment that doesn't go through my mind," he said. "If you say that to me, then yes, because we want to win it. But it will go through the mind of six or seven other teams as well. It's normal that you see it like that. If you interview the fans everywhere, they will tell you exactly the same in the other six or seven teams."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him @MattiasKaren.