Backpage Roundup: Wenger Rues Lack of Focus, Gunners to Make ‘One or Two’ Signings, Mourinho Envious of Wenger, Chamakh Leaves and More

Wenger Rues Lack of Focus

Arsene Wenger blamed his Arsenal side’s lack of focus after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Swansea City in their FA Cup tie at Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

The Welsh minnows drew first blood when their star striker Michu scored in the second half. The Gunners then hit back with goals from Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs in the 81st and 83rd minutes respectively. But just when it seemed that Wenger’s men would clinch this one, they allowed Swans forward Danny Graham to score the equalising goal, leaving their boss frustrated.

In the post-match interview with Arsenal.com, Wenger said: “We should have won this game. I felt the first half was a bit locked and one-paced, as much as the second half became much more open. I think in the second half we created many chances and suddenly found ourselves 1-0 down. We have shown character and quality.

“I felt when we conceded the corner [that led to the second goal], we lacked a little bit [of] calmness and focus. It’s frustrating to concede a goal just like that on a corner where we couldn’t clear the ball before the corner. Even on the corner, we were first to the ball and didn’t win the ball. We have shown quality and heart and it’s quite good if we can repeat that.”

The draw means that the tie will have to be replayed and the addition of one more game to their season schedule frustrates Wenger even more.

I am frustrated because I wouldn’t want one, but if that’s the choice between going out or staying in the hat, I take the replay. They have many games as well. We have West Ham on January 23,” he added.

 

Wenger Reiterates Arsenal’s Stringent Economic Policy

Arsene Wenger has once again declared that Arsenal will not break the bank for any player amidst reports that the club officials have reopened contract talks with Theo Walcott.

The Frenchman revealed that the Gunners do and are prepared to be a little generous where necessary but it doesn’t mean that they will splash needless cash like some of their Premier League rivals do.

We get something that makes sense and that is defendable in front of every single player. We make exceptions as well sometimes, but the exceptions are maybe not as high (as elsewhere). If we want to keep making profit, we have to accept that. As long as our business is organised in a way where we do not need any help from anybody, and pay our people with our resources, it’s defendable economically,” Wenger said.

You can always say ‘is it enough? Is it too much or not enough?’, that becomes a more philosophical question. But as long as the economical balance is respected and you pay the people who work for the club with the resources you created, it makes economical sense. That’s why I always defend our model. We pay very well. I did fight all my life to pay people who work people for us well. I believe if you can afford to do it, you do it.”

 

Chamakh Secures Temporary West Ham Switch

Arsenal FC have announced that striker Marouane Chamakh has joined their city rivals West Ham United on loan for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.

The Morocco international hadn’t started a Premier League game for the Gunners for more than a year and wasn’t considered an integral part of coach Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad. Therefore, he has been allowed to make the temporary switch across London.

I want to play and give my best for this team. I can bring my heading, some goals and we will see what else. I didn’t have opportunities to play recently, but I did well before and I know I am a very good striker. We played only one striker at Arsenal, so I didn’t play a lot, so I hope to do so more with West Ham,” Chamakh said after joining the Hammers.

 

Wenger Looking to Make ‘One or Two’ Additions

Arsene Wenger has revealed that he is looking to add ‘one or two’ more players to his squad this month, having dispatched Marouane Chamakh and Johan Djourou on loan to West Ham and Hannover 96 respectively.

The Gunners drew their Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Swansea City 2-2, meaning that they would have to add a replay to their already hectic schedule. Hence, Arsenal could do with signing a few new players and Wenger has confirmed his intention to do exactly that.

“[Abou] Diaby’s coming back and if we find one or two on the transfer market, then [we can cope with the fixture list]. Let’s first keep the players we have and maybe add one or two. We lost Chamakh and Djourou now, so there’s some room,” he told Arsenal.com.

 

Mourinho Envious of Wenger’s Job Security

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has said that he would love to have the kind of job security Arsene Wenger has at Arsenal but believes that this kind of overly stable and pressure-free environment hinders a team’s chances of winning trophies.

The Sun have quoted the outspoken Portuguese as saying: “I would love to have [Wenger’s] stability at a club. But at the same time I think for my mentality I also need the pressure to succeed – and if no one imposes that pressure on me then I would impose that pressure on myself. The pressure to win things.

“Yes it’s possible to be one or two seasons building for the future and not being at the level to win things, but no longer, because my mentality is I always need the pressure of winning things. Maybe it could happen soon for Arsenal. They play good football and produce good players.”

About Arsenal’s chances of securing another top-four finish this season, he added: “So far this season Arsenal have been up and down – they’re good and not so good. They are not in the top four but they have always finished in the top four so you can say ‘Why not again this season?’ But it will be tough. They will be fighting with Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton so it will be very difficult.

“Tottenham has a fantastic squad, some brilliant players – some of the best in the Premier League. And now they have found consistency in their performances. [Chelsea’s] defeat to QPR has killed their chances of being champions but they have a game in hand and will fight for the top four again. So for me the top four will be United, City, Spurs and Chelsea.”

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