Arteta Out for Three Weeks
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta will not be available for the remainder of January due to a calf strain.
The 30-year-old playmaker picked up the knock in training before Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Sunday. He missed that game and is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the month, although an actual return date cannot be ascertained before the reports of his medical tests are examined.
“He [Arteta] has a scan on Monday. He will be out for approximately three weeks. It is a calf strain,” Wenger told the press earlier today.
Due to Arteta’s absence, the Gunners are now in the market for reinforcements, as they have a crucial run of five games in just 17 days coming up.
“We are in the market. We try very hard (to strengthen),” the Gunners’ manager added.
Wenger Frustrated with ‘Nervous’ Start against City
A frustrated Arsene Wenger felt that his side were ‘a bit nervous’ after Arsenal were handed a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Laurent Koscielny’s ninth-minute sending off and the resultant penalty gave City a huge advantage and although the penalty was saved, they fully capitalised on having more men on the field through first-half strikes from James Milner and Eden Dzeko.
In the post-match interview with Sky Sports, Wenger was visibly irked with his men’s timid showing as he said: “It was frustrating because we were down to 10 men with 80 minutes to play and you know it will be a difficult game. I felt we were a bit too timid at the start with not enough authority. We let them dictate the game to us in the first 10 minutes and we were punished. From then on, it became difficult but in the second half we had a good response and we had a chance to come back, but we didn’t.”
Regarding Koscielny’s red card, he added: “I haven’t seen it again. I was surprised by the decision but I’ve heard it was a penalty. We have to live with the decision and it doesn’t mean that you have to lose the game. I felt we gave away two cheap goals away and when you are down to 10 men, if you keep it 0-0, you never know.”
“The team gave a lot at the second half – you can’t fault that, but I feel we are a bit nervous at home and lack that authority that makes you strong, especially at the start of the game. There are a lot of positives. I feel some players had outstanding games – Jack (Wilshere) is getting stronger and has found a little bit of acceleration again. (Abou) Diaby also became stronger and stronger.”
Szczęsny Wants to Emulate Maldini and Scholes
Wojciech Szczęsny has once again talked about his desire of playing out his entire career with Arsenal Football Club and said that he wants to emulate the likes of one-club men like Paolo Maldini and Paul Scholes.
The Poland international, who joined Arsenal as a teenager in 2006, recently told The Sun: “I have an ambition to have a contract like that at Arsenal. I have a lot of respect for players like Paolo Maldini and Paul Scholes, who spent their entire careers with one club. I dream about the same.
“I hope in 14 years we’ll speak about my two decades at Arsenal. I know we haven’t won any trophies recently but I can’t change clubs because of that. I just must work even harder to help us win trophies.”
Wenger Highlights Importance of Gate Receipts
Arsene Wenger believes that while keeping ticket prices low is important, gate receipts are a major part of football clubs’ income nowadays and so they cannot afford to be too generous on that issue.
The subject of high ticket prices is very hot these days, as some Manchester City fans recently returned more than 900 tickets of their side’s away clash with Arsenal.
Wenger agrees that the ticket prices should be lower than what they are right now but he suggests that the fans should see it as a way to contribute to the income of their beloved club so they can compete with their rivals.
He said: “Ideally you want ticket prices to be as low as possible, but on the other hand the only way we can pay the wages and compete without any external help is through the ticket prices because it is our main income. Therefore we are in this situation where of course the prices are high.
“I am really worried they are high for our supporters. For the visitors, it only happens once per year, so that is less of a concern. We sell out our games, but ideally you want ticket prices to be affordable to everybody. It is a very delicate subject.
“It is down to every individual to decide ‘Do I spend the money or not to go anywhere to watch anything?’ If you want to go to a concert tomorrow, you look at the price of a ticket and after if it is too high for you, you say yes or no. That is everybody’s individual responsibility.”
Gunners on ‘Good Road’ with Walcott
Arsene Wenger is confident that Theo Walcott will soon end months of speculation regarding his future by signing a new contract with Arsenal but he won’t breathe easy until things are finalised completely.
Multiple media reports recently claimed that the England international is on the verge of signing a new £90,000 a week deal and while Wenger’s latest comments support those claims, he is still taking a cautious approach on this particular subject.
When asked for an update on Walcott’s deal, Wenger said: “We are on a good road. In this situation as long as nothing is signed, you are cautious. However, I am optimistic we will get to a happy conclusion.”
“Discussions are progressing slowly, but smoothly,” he added.