Wenger under scrutiny as Arsenal plays Villa

STEVE DOUGLAS AP Sports Writer Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Mired in a "vicious circle" of poor results and increasing unrest among fans, Arsene Wenger's position as Arsenal manager has rarely been under such scrutiny heading into Saturday's home match against Aston Villa in the Premier League.

With the club on the verge of making it eight seasons without silverware, even Arsenal's players have been forced to defend the credentials of their esteemed coach, whose record of qualifying for the Champions League every year since 1997 is under threat.

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott says "we've got the best man in the job to get our heads back to where they should be."

Arsenal is four points behind fourth-place Tottenham in the fight for a finish in the Champions League positions, which Wenger views as the equivalent of winning a trophy.