Wenger Urges Arsenal to Bounce Back at Liverpool
Arsene Wenger believes that after two damaging home defeats in the span of a week, it is now imperative that Arsenal beat Liverpool in their upcoming Premier League clash.
The Gunners lost 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League at the Emirates last week and were again second-best on their own turf last night when Chelsea secured a comfortable 2-0 win over them in their League Cup tie. Losing in succession at home against big sides could be damaging for the team’s morale, which is why Wenger is urging his men to bounce back against the Reds on Saturday.
Commenting after the defeat to the Blues, the Frenchman said: “It’s better to win. It’s difficult, but that’s part of the season. We know the games. We have to respond well against Liverpool. We are in a strong position in the league and have a good opportunity at home, and we have to turn this round. Away from home we are very solid, but at home you know it is important and vital to win the big games.”
For the second straight cup game, Arsenal were defensively naive and conceded an avoidable goal through poor defending. While disappointed at the cup exit, Wenger told his charges to not let these setbacks get to their minds.
“It is not easy to correct at 1-0 down, but it is feasible,” he said. “We have not to let that play too much on our minds. Just go to the next game, play good football and be focused. We were a bit nervous. Tonight we kicked some balls out that were not needed at the back.”
Then telling the press to not be harsh with their assessment of his players, Wenger added: “Let’s not go too quick to a conclusion. If you take the points we have made since 1 January, it’s more than anyone else. On a longer distance, you’ll see more of the quality of the team than in the last two games. It’s difficult to swallow what happened to us in the last week, but the mistakes are so big they can be corrected. We have to keep the basis of our game and go into the next one.
“In football It is always difficult to be definite. People go quickly to definite conclusions. After the first game against Villa we were relegated. Today we are in a strong position in the league. It’s how we rid ourselves of these mistakes without losing the belief in our qualities. That is what is at stake.”
Fellaini Claims to Have Rejected Gunners
Marouane Fellaini has claimed that he rejected the opportunity to sign for Arsenal FC in the summer transfer window before securing his deadline day transfer to Manchester United.
The 25-year-old midfielder joined the Red Devils from his former club Everton in a £27.5million deal, but he says he could have been plying his trade for the Gunners had he accepted their overture.
Explaining that it was the presence of David Moyes at Old Trafford that influenced his decision, Fellaini told The Sun: “I knew United were interested in signing me – just as Arsenal were. But it was United who snapped me up. David Moyes did everything to get me. I leapt at the chance to work with Moyes. I spent some fantastic times with him at Everton.”
Wenger Rates Ibra Higher than Even Messi and Ronaldo
Arsene Wenger believes that Paris Saint-Germain superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic is currently operating at a higher level than even Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and deserves to win the 2013 Ballon d’Or award.
The enigmatic Swede has been named in the 23-man shortlist for the prestigious accolade, and if it was up to Wenger, he would be the recipient of this year’s title.
In an interview with TF1, the Gunners boss heaped praise on Ibrahimovic, saying: “Right now, he’s better than Messi and Ronaldo. At 32, he knows how best to exploit his talent.”
Flamini Out Injured
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mathieu Flamini will miss the next two to three weeks of football due to a groin injury he picked up last weekend.
Flamini, 29, injured his groin in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and is now expected to remain on the sidelines for the next few games. The Gunners have a number of important matches coming up, and the Frenchman’s absence could be a huge blow for them.
Wenger said: “When we get the results we will know how long he will be out. It doesn’t look like a bad muscle injury but it is his groin.”
Podolski Returns to Training
Arsenal FC were handed a major injury relief as news emerged that their German forward Lukas Podolski has recovered from his hamstring injury and is back training with the club’s first-team squad.
Podolski, 28, has missed the last two months of football but will now soon be seen back in action. The Gunners’ shortage of options up front are well-known to everyone, and so the German’s return will be music to their ears. The player announced the news through his official Facebook account by posting a picture of himself at Arsenal’s London Colney training complex with the caption: “Back on the pitch. Great feeling.”
Rosicky Sees Big Future for Gnabry
Tomas Rosicky is confident that his young Arsenal teammate Serge Gnabry will realise his massive potential at the club under the guidance of coach Arsene Wenger.
Gnabry, 18, recently signed a new five-year contract with the North London club after impressing with his performances this season, and Rosicky believes the German youngster has taken the correct decision for his footballing development.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, the experienced Czech said: “He has a manager here who will develop him and who has a history of developing young players. Nothing better could happen to him than being offered a new contract here.
“He is a good dribbler and can take on you on in the one-on-one situations. That can be his strong point in the future and for an 18-year-old he is doing very well. He is a very talented boy and he still has plenty of things to learn and he will find no better place to learn than here. I think it works very well for both sides that he stays here.”
Artera Wouldn’t Settle for Just fourth
Mikel Arteta has made it clear that just finishing in top four is not the target for Arsenal this season and is adamant that he and his teammates are fighting for the Premier League title.
The Gunners currently top the PL points table, but Liverpool legend Alan Hansen recently claimed that they would eventually slip down to their usual position of fourth as the season progresses. But Arteta disagrees with those predictions and is confident that the North Londoners can end their eight-year-long trophy drought this season by winning the league title.
In an interview with talkSPORT, the Spaniard said: “No, I wouldn’t take it, I always expected us to do better than fourth place. It’s very pleasing [to be top] and it takes a lot of pressure off. We know how we’ve been over the last few seasons and how difficult it is to go into every game knowing how far away you are from your opponents. This is where we want to be and we will fight hard to stay where we are.
“You need that degree of toughness, we have had difficult moments in different periods of games, and when you manage to get the points at the end despite that, it increases your confidence and makes a massive difference. We want to maintain where we are now, it’s the most open Premier League title in years because of the quality of the players and the teams. We want to challenge and I think we’re able to do it because we have the quality and the desire, but there’s still a long way to go.”