Sky Sports Pundit Charlie Nicholas believes Arsene Wenger will make a key decision on his Arsenal future following the Europa League round of 16 tie against AC Milan on Thursday night.
The north London outfit ended a four-match losing run in all competitions with back-to-back victories against AC Milan and Watford in the Europa League and Premier League respectively, but there is still negativity surrounding the manager’s position.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Nicholas backed his former side to come up triumphs against the Rossoneri in the return leg as they already hold a 2-0 advantage from their San Siro trip.
However, he feels that Wenger may make a key announcement over his future on Friday or during the weekend, where he may confirm his decision to step down from the head coach role by the end of the season.
“After the shambles of Arsenal’s last home game in this competition, when they nearly blew it against Ostersund, Arsene Wenger will play a strong line-up [against AC Milan] with a free weekend to follow,” he said.
“This team still have issues despite the 3-0 win at the weekend but they are slowly getting a response.
“However, I also have a feeling that there might be an announcement by the manager either on Friday or over the weekend to confirm that he is going to step down in the summer, perhaps going upstairs, easing the tension and allowing the team to have a go for the Europa League without the same strain.”
Should this be the case, Nicholas believes there would be a much better atmosphere around the club, and this may leave the team in a better frame of mind to compete in the Europa League, which remains the main priority.
The north London side are very much out of the top-four race with a 12-point deficit to Liverpool with just eight games in hand, and winning the Europa League is very much the best route to Champions League football next term.
Wenger opted to play a weakened line-up during a surprise Europa League defeat versus Ostersund last month, but the fans can expect a stronger XI this time around with the likes of Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin in contention to return after respective injury setbacks.
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