Wenger ready for second leg

06 Apr 2010 by Lewis Doe in News
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has said that his team are ready to dry and do the unthinkable by beating Barcelona in the quarter final of the Champions League.

The teams are tied after the first leg ended up 2-2. However, the manner of the display from Barcelona has led many to say that Arsenal stand no chance of winning as they prepare to meet for the second clash.

Barcelona have been praised by all sections of the football community after their display in the first game at the Emirates. Arsenal managed to hang on by their fingernails and they seem up for a huge task.

Wenger said: “At 2-0 down, I felt we needed a miracle but always had hope,” Wenger said. “The players have come back from the dead once and can do it again. They know they escaped being out of the competition and we have a chance we have to take tomorrow. It’s Easter you know, a time of resurrection. That’s what we want to do.”

“The late comebacks this season show that this team has character. We’ve shown that consistently throughout the season. We were written off before the season started, but there are five games to go in the Premier League and we are still in there. In the Champions League, it’s the same. People have written us off, but we’re halfway through and will give a good game to Barcelona.”

“This team has character and when you have character you always have hope. What gives me belief is the quality of players I still have on the pitch. I still have some good players to leave out. They can turn up with a massive performance. With character and quality, you can fight anywhere in the world.”

“This Barcelona team are the best I’ve ever faced because they play at a higher pace collectively. And I don’t think we have ever been dominated so much at home. At the moment, Barcelona are the best team in Europe and we have to show that we can beat them. We have won away almost everywhere in Europe, but Barcelona is a place where we have not done it. I am confident despite the injuries we have that we can do it. This team has such a great mental strength and I believe they can fight against the odds.”

Arsenal will be missing some key players for the match, who would have ultimately given them a better chance of winning in Spain. Captain, Cesc Fabregas, will not play due to a broken leg, which will come as a bitter disappointment to him and fans of the club he is tipped to join this summer.

Arsenal will have to work very hard to keep all areas of this Barcelona side very quiet. How they get on remains to be seen but they are expected to give the match a good go in front of a very expectant and excited crowd.


Wenger wants perfect run in

25 Mar 2010 by Lewis Doe in News
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, has confirmed what all Arsenal fans were probably afraid to hear.

The Frenchman has said that his side must not drop another point in the current Premier League campaign if they want to have any chance of getting their Premier League crown back.

Arsenal have been well in the spotlight and many have said that is about time they are taken more seriously. The club have surprised many this year with the way they have hung onto the coat tails of Manchester United and Chelsea.

Wenger said: “There are three teams in the race and it is down to the team who are the most consistent. We can only focus on our own performances. We know our route has to be perfect. To be perfect it is important we focus on our performances.”

“We need some help from the other teams, but we know that will only work if we are consistent and keep our momentum. We have created a fantastic momentum and we have created a great belief within our squad. The consistency of our run is the most important.”

“We want to keep the spirit, the hunger, the desire and the intelligence we have shown until now. For a long time we have fixed ourselves targets. We play every game like our life depends on it and it has been like that for a long time now.”

“We need to bring consistency to our attitude. We have a remarkable attitude, a remarkable spirit in the team, and must just continue like we do.”

Arsenal’s chances of not losing a single point will have been helped by the fact they have the easiest run in on paper. However, no game is easy when the business end of the season arrives.

Wenger will know better than anyone that his side have to prepare for each game in exactly the right way. Teams will want to take points from Arsenal in order to improve their own situations.

This means the club may have to rely on one or two results going their way if they are to win the league. If they keep things tight at their own end, then they will be giving themselves the best possible chance of success.

The club haven’t been helped by the fact that injuries to key players have kept them out of the Arsenal side for long periods of time. On the other hand this has meant chances for fringe players in the Arsenal squad, who have clearly proved they are good enough to compete at the very highest level.

Will Arsenal fail to drop a single point? It’s highly unlikely. Then again it is equally unlikely that the other title contenders won’t drop a single point. End of season football has a strange way of working and no one will know that better than the managers of England’s best sides.



19 Oct 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

arsene-wenger-jpgArsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, reacted furiously after his club’s win against Birmingham City at the weekend. For once the reaction had nothing to do with the performance of his side as the Frenchman said he was furious about some of the chants that were aimed at his striker, Eduardo.

Many people will not remember that Eduardo badly broke his leg playing against Birmingham the last time they were in the Premier League. Martin Taylor was the player responsible and that was the name being chanted by a number of Birmingham fans as they watched their side lose miserably.

Wenger said: “They will not be remembered for the quality of their taste with that kind of remark. Eduardo was here. I don’t know how he felt about the chants. I just put that in the ranks of stupidity.”

“That’s fantastic. It shows first that everybody goes forward and when everybody scores, the team has a good collective base. On a longer term, some will score more than others, but to know that everybody can score is fantastic.”

“After the last international break we lost at Manchester City. It’s difficult away from home.”

Birmingham boss, Alex McLeish, added: “They’re a beautiful footballing team. I threw the gauntlet down to the strikers, the McFaddens of this world. Cameron’s had experience in the Premier League and he’s now got to show that he’s a Premier League striker.”

It is not clear whether the Football Association will bother taking a look into the incident in order to try and work out who started the chants in the first place. The Birmingham boss certainly does not condone them and the fact is that the chants were made by a small few. There were probably fans sitting in the same section that told whoever was signing that they were out of order in the first place.

Sometimes the atmosphere and passion at a football match can go straight to your head and you start chanting or saying things that you would not have done when given the benefit of turning back the clock. This is probably one of those situations. There was no reason for the chants as Eduardo had not done a single thing to warrant the negativity from Birmingham fans.

Wenger will be happy that his side won the match and muted the chants of the idiotic fans. It is certainly not something that should be remembered and if Eduardo scores against them this season, we’d all forgive him for doing an Adebayor.


Wenger defends money policy

30 Sep 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

arsenewenger1-jpg_0Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, says that he has no plans to spend big despite the fact that his club have just announced record profits. Arsenal could spend up to £80 million on players if they needed the money in a very short time frame.

However, Wenger appears to be sticking to his guns and will not sway from his philosophy that pace and youth is the way forward. If you go and ask any Arsenal fan in the country what the one thing they dislike about their manager is, they will all say his reluctance to spend money.

Even more will tell you that this reluctance to spend money is the very thing that has held the club back from winning big trophies in the last few seasons. Even one or two of the Arsenal players, Andrey Arshavin and Robin Van Persie, have said that they wish their manager would spend more to bring in more quality.

Consistency seems to be the main problem for Arsenal. Against fringe teams in both the Premier League and Europe they are very good but once the opposition increases in quality, they are sometimes found lacking in many areas.

Wenger said: “There is money to spend but at the moment I am very happy with the squad I have. It’s not because I’m against spending money; I have nothing against spending money. It is not a personal thing, it is just that I have a squad that is strong enough to compete.”

“I do not spend money because out of tomorrow’s squad is [Samir] Nasri, [Theo] Walcott, [Nicklas] Bendtner. And people want me to buy strikers, but where do I put them? I don’t know. I have to then lose players who, for me, are world class.”

Arsenal’s Chief Executive added: “We anticipate it is likely we will make a profit out of that [Highbury Square] development, which will then be available to the football side. Exactly what the profit will be, and when it will be realised, will depend on the strength of the property market.”

So the current squad at Arsenal will be the one that wins any thing within the next two or three season, maybe with the odd addition but there should not be any expectations for expensive signings.

Wenger has never spent big money on a player and although he says that this is not against his nature, the fact is that he’s never forked out £30 million for anyone and instead likes to settle for a nice profit when he does eventually sell players on.


Arsenal youth caught up in sending off row

23 Sep 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

arcenal-jpgOne of Arsenal’s next generation was caught up in a row over insulting a West Bromwich Albion player in Arsenal’s Carling Cup win last night. Jack Wilshere, is said to have insulted Jerome Thomas to the extent that the West Brom winger reacted angrily before being promptly sent off.

It was a strange dismissal and a shame because for the majority of the night, West Brom had carried themselves well but tempers were raised when Wilshere was seen to be shouting at Thomas just before the player grabbed him around the throat.

West Brom manager, Roberto Di Matteo, said: “It was a red card. My player went to shake the Arsenal player’s hand, he refused and then reacted. There was an exchange of words, then there was a reaction. I know what was said, but I’m not saying that. I’m disappointed that Wilshere didn’t accept his hand. He wanted to help him get up, actually.”

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, added: “My eyes are not great and my ears are even worse. I couldn’t hear anything from the touchline, but I don’t know. He looked like he responded, reacted, and in these cases you always need to control your nerves. I don’t know if he has any excuses or not, but Jack was upset as well. He said he was kicked.”

“Jerome was a bit impulsive, very talented, sometimes nervy and impatient as well. He lacked confidence when he was younger, but he seems to have found that now.”

Besides from this single incident which obviously ruffled a few feathers on both sides of the fence, it was the football that did the talking. Carlos Vela and Mark Randall scored the goals that have put Arsenal into the next round and the side have proved that their youth team is still a lot better than the first team of a highly rated Championship team.

Di Matteo has said that the club may appeal against Thomas’ red card and submit the words that were said as evidence of provocation on the part of the Arsenal player. However, unless the referee says so in his report, the matter is unlikely to be a great one for debate at the Football Association.

The point is that young players are passionate and they get very excited at times during a game. Although Thomas is now a lot more experienced he should have known better and given back the verbal volley instead of reacting to it physically.


Wenger vows to be more careful

22 Sep 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

wenger-jpgArsenal manager,Arsene Wenger, has admitted that he will take much greater care this season in handling a number of his younger players. Wenger has been criticised in recent times for subjecting young players to too much pressure at an early stage in their careers.

One such player is Jack Wilshere, a highly rated teenager that is being tipped for club and international success in future seasons. Wilshere has performed in the Arsenal first team when many said he would not be able to handle the intensity and pressure of the massive situation that Wenger had dropped him into.

The Arsenal boss said: “I believe last year he paid a price physically for a very demanding start. This year he is strong, more mature, and I’m sure that he will show that tomorrow.”

“It’s difficult to treat players completely the same because you want to speed up a little bit their progress, but physically I will still treat them like anybody else. Most people once they get to 19 years of age without injuries are over-used. A big injury can always happen because you get over-use of the players.”

“We have four centre backs and he is one of the four because [Johan] Djourou is out for nearly the season. We know how good he is, but it is a new start, let’s say. He is still very young for a centre back. He’s 24 and he has the future in front of him. The best ten years are now coming for him. Philippe is an intelligent boy with a very good attitude and you don’t ever question that.”

Wilshere is still a very young man and his body is developing on a weekly basis. It is impossible for Wenger to think that he should be thrown in at the deep end against a lot of players who are physically big and strong.

On the one hand you do have to respect and admire Wenger’s football philosophy because it is a clever and smart one that is based on investing for the future. This is the way that he has developed every Arsenal side so far throughout his managerial career at the club.

On the other hand he needs to listen when people start telling him that certain players are too small or not maturely developed enough to be able to cope with the pace and pressure. The old age argument is that if you’re good enough you’re old enough but this does not detract from the obvious facts.


Arsenal centre back Thomas Vermaelen dominates

21 Sep 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

thomasvermaelen-jpgArsenal seem to have signed a fantastic new centre back in Thomas Vermaelen. May pundits and former players of the game said they doubted whether he would be able to make the grade as an Arsenal player but following his two goals against Wigan at the weekend, Vermaelen has pushed himself into the Arsenal spot light.

He is also not a bad defender and one of the things that Arsenal have been lacking in recent times is a player who can come in and dominate the defence and help the side take a step in the right direction instead of everyone focusing entirely on their problems.,

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, said: “We watched him from that moment on. He was 21 and maybe he wanted to show he was committed. I liked him when he played against us, I remembered the name, put the name in my brain and kept it in there.”

“Let’s not dream, he won’t score 25 goals this season but has scored more already than I expected. He is, first of all, a defender. I would like clean sheets first but on set-pieces he looks strong and he can maybe get six or seven goals.”

“His leap makes up for his height. He’s taller than you expect him to be and has a very strong upper body. His leap is very sharp, he jumps very quickly and that is important on headers because if you analyse two players, the one who jumps quicker heads the ball first. We’ve not had someone of his type before. He is left-footed as well. That allows us to play [William] Gallas on the right side where he wants to play. It gives us a natural balance in our passing out from the back.”

Arsenal still look a fair way off the best sides in the division but the point is that they now have a player through which most of their energy can go. They have got the type of centre back that can defend to the death and then pop up with a few goals as well, this is a priceless commodity to any football side and something that adds to Vermaelen’s value.

For Arsenal to win a trophy this season then this player will have a large role to play in how it comes about. What remains to be seen is whether the defender can keep up the high performance levels as consistency is the only thing that Arsenal lack. If they get that back again then they will be a phenomenal side.


Wenger launches attack on Man City

18 Sep 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

arsenewenger1-jpgArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has launched a scathing attack on Manchester City in the wake of the incidents that surrounded their match at the weekend. Wenger is thought to be furious because of the way that former Arsenal player, Emanuel Adebayor reacted to him personally as well as his side and the Arsenal fans.

Wenger said: “Did you watch it? If you’ve watched football for 20 years, you know as well as me what a player can do. You can ease off or not ease off. The biggest thing is in a challenge.”

“I played football and I know exactly, in a fraction of a second, where you leave in or move out. You know exactly at that fraction, I can injure somebody or I can not injure somebody, and you ease off or you leave in. I have seen some challenges where if you do that in the street, you go to jail. It [the challenge on Van Persie] looks very bad. You ask 100 people, 99 will say it’s very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes.”

“In football, everybody is free to have an opinion. If somebody stamps on your head in that way, you wouldn’t say: ‘Thank you very much. Can I turn the other cheek?’ Only Jesus Christ did that.”

“What people say is that sometimes a striker makes the most of it because he wants to cheat. Sometimes because he wants to protect himself and sometimes because he wants to show the referee that he has been touched. Sometimes it is a reflex. It doesn’t mean that the player is always cheating.”

This is not the first time that Wenger has come out publicly with some strong views but it is one of the very few times when a lot of people have actually agreed with him. How Mark Hughes can defend how his player behaved at the weekend is very strange and it does not reflect well on him or the club.

City fans should be ashamed, instead of sitting with some sort of sick satisfaction. The club is quickly going down the route of being hated and have taints associated with every thing they now achieve. When you are not the most fond of football clubs in the first place you need the players to work hard and grind out the victory, not behave like an animal and an idiot.


Wenger says ban won’t work

11 Sep 2009 by Lewis Doe in Arsenal

arsenewenger-jpgArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, says that banning football clubs from buying players under the age of 18 will make the transfer situation worse and not better. Wenger’s point is based on the fact that football clubs are businesses and established organizations.

Banning clubs from buying players may lead to complications when it comes to agents who may be presented with the opportunity of buying all rights connected to a player, which could prompt a repeat of the Carlos Tevez saga that eventually saw West Ham United paying a settlement of £30 million to Sheffield United.

Wenger said: “If you ban players from moving before the age of 18, you know what will happen? The player will be sold anyway. To whom? To agents. At what age? At 13, 14. Where will they go? Not to top-level clubs with top-level education. They will go to clubs who have been bought by business people, of a very low level, and will stay there until the age of 18 waiting to be sold. The money will go out of the game.”

“If your players cannot move to the best clubs, I believe they will not improve. If you have a child who is a good musician, what is your first reaction? It is to put it into a good music school, not in an average one. So why should that not happen in football? If a player goes to Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, it is all [above board] and he gets a good education.”

“Clubs will just make future agreements with the clubs to sign them at 18 when they are 16. Are they really going to wait? England is in a weak position for taking young players because they inflict a big handicap on themselves by the fact that they have no access to Asian players, no access to South American players, no access to African players [because of work permit regulations].”

Wenger’s critics will say that the Frenchman will react badly to the possibility of a ban because his football philosophy has been based on buying young players over the last two or three seasons and now that it is under threat he will say any thing to stop it from happening.

Football is a very lucrative business and there are a lot of people in the game who are just trying to make a few extra pounds by capitalizing on the inexperience of a lot of younger players.