Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires has backed Arsene Wenger to continue as Gunners manager next season.

Wenger, 67, is under increasing pressure to step down at the Emirates Stadium after a poor run of form that has seen Arsenal crash to four defeats in their last five league matches.

The Gunners exited the Champions League at the round of 16 stage after a humiliating 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich, leaving the FA Cup – where they face Manchester City in the quarter-final on 2 April – as the only realistic piece of silverware they can win this season.

Some pundits and fans have urged Wenger to call time on his Arsenal career at the end of the season, but Pires believes the Frenchman is still the right man for the job.

"I love Arsenal and I love Arsene Wenger and I hope he extends his contract, [although] I know some people, some fans, don't want [that]," Pires told Sky Sports.

"Arsene Wenger is very strong and has a good mentality. He loves Arsenal and has built things in his long time at the club.

"He will want to finish in the top-four with the club and all the players believe in Arsene Wenger."

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger has led Arsenal to three league titles and six FA Cup wins Getty Images

Pires added that Arsenal's upcoming Premier League showdown with City was a key game in the race for Champions League qualification.

The Gunners are sixth on the league table, seven points behind third-placed City.

"You know it's a special game when you play Man City. At the beginning of the season, Man City and Arsenal want to fight for the title," Pires said.

"Now it is different, because Chelsea are on the top of the table. Arsenal and Manchester City need to finish in the top four to play Champions League next season.

"For Arsenal, it is difficult, they are not in a good moment. We lost against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and we lost to West Brom. I want to see a good reaction and a good spirit."