Arsenal Should Let Go Of Wenger, Says Ian Wright

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has called on cried out to  Arsene Wenger to step down as reports suggest his replacement task has already begun.

The Frenchman, under contract at the Emirates until 2019, is under a growing pressure following a devastating performance in Sunday’s 3-0 League Cup defeat against Manchester City their sixth loss in 12 games this year.

Arsenal are 10 points below a fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League and look likely to miss out on Champions League football for the second time

“There are excuses (from Wenger) and he is mollycoddling a team,” Wright told BBC radio.

“Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case. I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested.”

Wright also had harsh words for American owner Stan Kroenke.

“The owner has to take a lot of blame for this,” he said. “Kroenke does not care. If he cared, Wenger would not have got a two-year deal.

“Everyone else can start to see that is it getting to a point where Wenger needs to go. The owner has to be here, find out what is happening, how is this working, what are we going to do, how are  we going to get back to where the fans want us to be.

“The fans have been saying it for years but no-one is paying any attention to them. The owner has not done anything and has given Wenger carte blanche to carry on.”

Wright’s comments follow stinging assessments from the club’s record goalscorer Thierry Henry and former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville, who labelled Arsenal’s performance against City “spineless”.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Wenger’s position would be reviewed at the end of the season but said that Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and former captain Mikel Arteta were among replacements being considered.

The Sun said Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, Arteta and Germany head coach Joachim Loew were at the head of a seven-man list.

Henry, 40, who is a member of Belgium’s coaching staff, said after the Wembley defeat on Sunday that it would be a “dream” for him to manage Arsenal one day.

But Wright urged caution over appointing the man who overtook him as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.

“Arsenal are not in a position where they can go from someone like Arsene Wenger, who we love so much, yet who you mention to some people in the fan base and their faces screw up.

“They are so angry. I would not want that to happen to Thierry, because he has taken the job straight after Wenger.”

Arsenal’s Wenger Promises To Go Offensive Against Man City

Arsenal’s Wenger Promise To Go Offensive Against Man City

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger  on Friday vowed  to take the attack to Premier League leaders Manchester City as he challenges for the league Cup first time ever in his career.

Wenger having won the F.A cup for a club record of seven times have been defeated in the final of the League Cup, by Chelsea in 2007 and Birmingham City in 2011.

Now he faces the herculean task of taking on Pep Guardiola’s free-scoring team at Wembley, who will be desperate to bounce back and win a trophy after being dumped out by Wigan in the FA Cup, ending their bid for an unprecedented quadruple.

Wenger was asked at his pre-match press conference what was the key to beating City.

“To first of all have a strong belief that we can do it, be well-organised and take every opportunity to go forward and play our offensive game,” he said.

 

He acknowledged the threat from players such as Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne but said it was difficult to focus on shutting down individuals.

“One of the big strengths of Man City is De Bruyne of course, because he has become a very complete player,” Wenger said.

“He is a modern midfielder for me, he can be decisive in the final third, he works very hard, he is right-footed, left-footed and he is a fighter as well so overall I am not surprised he has done well.

“They have so many players that you have to stop that it is better to focus on the team plan rather than on any individual.”

Wenger said he was more motivated than nervous after a long career studded with success.

“I have the advantage that I’ve played many finals and I know how big a day it is…. Wembley is always special because the stadium is divided in two,” he said.

“It’s a special day. No matter how many finals you’ve played in your life, it’s always a special day.

“For us it’s an opportunity. We’ll play with all our regular players. We want to win it, we want our fans to go home happy.”

Forward Alex Lacazette is unavailable because of injury and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ineligible because he played in the competition for Manchester United earlier this season.

Wenger is likely to make a number of changes for the match after resting key men against Ostersunds in Thursday’s Europa League match. Arsenal lost the game 2-1 but reached the last 16 4-2 on aggregate.

Wenger said David Ospina would play in goal, continuing his role as the go-to keeper for cup matches.

He said Mesut Ozil was likely to play and he would make a decision on Aaron Ramsey on Saturday.

Wenger Admits Kane Is Europe’s Best Despite Derby Tension

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger put North London rivalries aside as he accepted Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane is the most in-form striker in Europe on Thursday.

Kane, 24, became the second-fastest player to ever reach 100 Premier League goals by netting his 31st of the season in just 32 games to salvage a point for Spurs from a thrilling 2-2 draw at Liverpool last weekend.

“If you look at the numbers, no, because he has high numbers,” Wenger said when asked if there was a better striker in Europe at the moment than Kane.

The England international spoke this week of how being released from Arsenal’s academy as an eight-year-old left him with a “chip on his shoulder”.

Kane has more than taken revenge with a fine record against Arsenal, scoring six goals in seven North London derbies.

Wenger broke Arsenal’s transfer record last week to add more firepower to the Gunners quest to beat Tottenham to a top-four finish by splashing out £56 million ($78 million) on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

And the Frenchman is hoping his new front line of Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan — who shone in a 5-1 thrashing of Everton in their first outing together — can outgun Kane when the sides meet on Saturday.

“I believe what you want in a game like that is to keep him quiet and for our strikers to express their talent.”

More than local bragging rights are on offer with Arsenal trailing fifth-placed Spurs by four points in the race for a return to the Champions League place with just 12 Premier League games of the season remaining.

“It’s a big game because we are behind on the table and we have to catch up,” added Wenger.

“It is more important for us to come back mathematically than it is emotionally-charged.”

Following their controversial draw at Anfield that saw Spurs win two late penalties and Dele Alli booked for diving, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino defended his players by criticising the fixation with diving in English football.

Yet Wenger, who also spoke out against Manchester City’s England international Raheem Sterling earlier this season, believes it is English players who have become the “masters” of diving.

“I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it but I must say the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now.”

AFP

Arsene Wenger: English Players May Be Diving Masters

Arsene Wenger: English Players May Be Diving Masters

English players may be the “masters” of diving, says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger said: “I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it, but the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now.”

The Frenchman following after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City in November said that Raheem Sterling “dives well”

Wenger, whose side face Spurs in the Premier League at Wembley on Saturday, said: “I don’t tell my players to dive at all. We have to get diving out of the game.

“Sometimes players play a little bit with the rules. How far can you go? That is down to the referees.”

On Tuesday Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said diving was a “minimal issue” in football, and that “tricking” an opponent was now part of the game.

This season the Football Association introduced new regulations to retrospectively ban players who dive.

A panel is tasked with looking for cases of simulation by reviewing footage every Monday, and any player found guilty is suspended.

In October Carlisle United forward Shaun Miller became the first player to be banned, for two games.

Everton striker Oumar Niasse was the first Premier League player to be suspended also for two matches – in November.

Niasse, 27, was charged following an incident during a 2-2 league draw at Crystal Palace.

A penalty was given after he was adjudged to have been fouled Scott Dann. Leighton Baines converted the spot-kick and Niasse later scored to earn Everton a point.

In 2012 former England striker Michael Owen blamed “the influence of players coming from South America, Spain and Italy” for the growth of diving in English football.

Iwobi Faces Disciplinary Action For Partying

Arsene Wenger says Alex Iwobi will be fined if it is confirmed he was at a party 36 hours before Sunday’s FA Cup loss at Nottingham Forest.

A video appearing to show the 21-year-old at the party in the early hours of Saturday morning was released on social media.

Iwobi played the full match as holders Arsenal lost the third-round tie

Arsenal manager Wenger said is it “impossible” and “unacceptable” to go out within 48 hours of a game.

The footage, which was uploaded to Snapchat, appears to show the Nigerian dancing at a party at a house in central London at 02:37 GMT, and was published in The Sun newspaper.

But Wenger said Iwobi was not involved in either taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

“First of all we have to be cautious with everything that is coming out,” Wenger added.

“When you read what is reported it is like he has taken drugs. He was not involved in that at all.

“He has been out at a birthday party and how long he has stayed? That is important. After, I will decide what happens.”

Wenger added: “You know that sometimes you want to prepare 100% but it is not always a guarantee you will be at your best. But that is what is requested from a top-level professional.”

Wenger Banned For Three-Matches, Fined £40,000

Arsene Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban and fined by the Football Association over comments he made about the refereeing of Sunday’s Premier League game against West Brom.

In a separate case, the Arsenal boss has also been asked by English football’s governing body to provide his observations on what he said about penalty decisions that went against the Gunners in both of their last two matches over the festive period, against the Baggies and Chelsea.

“Arsene Wenger will serve a touchline ban for Arsenal’s next three matches after he was charged with misconduct,” an FA statement said.

“It follows an independent regulatory commission hearing today at which the Arsenal manager admitted that his language and behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the West Brom game on Sunday was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee. He was also fined £40,000 ($54,000).”

Earlier, Wenger said he was unrepentant over his comments about penalty decisions against the Gunners.

“I maintain what I said in the press conference — 100 percent,” Wenger told reporters on Friday ahead of his side’s FA Cup third-round match at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

“I try to serve this game with honesty and integrity and when I have something to say I will say it.”

AFP

Sanchez Future Anyone’s Guess, Says Wenger

Arsene Wenger admits he is no nearer to establishing where Arsenal’s Chilean star Alexis Sanchez’s future lies.

Wenger praised the 29-year-old’s two-goal display that helped secure a 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace on an evening where the French manager equalled Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson’s Premier League record of 810 matches in charge.

Sanchez’s commitment has been questioned this season following his failure to reach agreement with the north London club about an extension to his current contract that expires at the end of this season.

Wenger believes the player’s performance at Selhurst Park showed there has been no let up in the player’s effort, but with the January transfer window about to open, has no idea about the player’s next move.

Sanchez scored his first goal in the 62nd minute but not all his team-mates celebrated the strike with him.

“First of all nobody knows what will happen really,” said Wenger.

“It’s difficult to speculate. At the moment we are focused on short-term, that means the next game (against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday) with the players committed and ready to fight.

“It’s not a guarantee of how long you stay somewhere. As long as you are somewhere, you give your best.

“I felt he was very good tonight from the first minute on, focused on the game. This kind of Sanchez is a great football player, as we know. That’s the kind of performance we want from him.”

AFP

Arsene Wenger Helped My Career – Liberia President Elect, Weah

President-Elect and Liberian football legend, George Weah has revealed what his former manager at Monaco, Arsene Wenger did for him while he played for the club.

Weah is thankful to the Frenchman for helping him to flourish in Europe.

Wenger brought Weah to Europe when he signed him for Monaco from Tonnerre Yaoundé in 1988.

The ex-Liberian international later played for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City and later returned to France with Marseille.

He won the Ballon d’Or, making him the only African to win the prize.

He also won the UEFA Champions League Top Scorer award, Coupe de France, Ligue1, Coupe de la Ligue, Serie A title, English FA Cup among others.

In all this, Weah appreciated the French tactician for helping him to surpass his own expectations.

Speaking in an interview with the Guardian UK, ‎he said, “When I started playing football, I never thought I would ever win the Ballon d’Or and emerge as the best player in the world.

“I just had a passion for the game and I worked hard. Every day, I would rather train than eat or sleep.

“When I moved to Monte Carlo [to play for Monaco from the Cameroonian club Tonnerre Yaoundé in 1988] I didn’t play for the first six months. But I was determined to showcase my talent, to prove to those back home, who thought that my coming to Europe was a waste of time, that I was a good player.

“He (Wenger) was a father figure and regarded me as his son. This was a man, when racism was at its peak, who showed me love. He wanted me to be on the pitch for him every day.

“One day, I was quite tired of training and told him that I was having a headache.

“He said to me: ‘George, I know it’s tough but you need to work hard. I believe that with your talent, you can become one of the best players in the world.’

“So I listened and kept going on. Besides God, I think that without Arsène, there was no way I would have made it in Europe.”

Arsene Wenger Breeds confidence Over Victory

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle will breed the confidence they need to cope with a hectic Christmas schedule.

After seeing his side end a three-match winless run thanks to Mesut Ozil’s spectacular first-half goal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Gunners boss Wenger has no worries about a potential lack of stamina.

“You could see that we had played three games in six days and the third game is a bit more difficult physically. Nobody else had to play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, but I still think we had plenty of chances to score more goals,” Wenger said.

“If you look historically, it happens every year that finishing is a bit cyclic. Sometimes you will score three or four, converting every chance, and sometimes you will have six or seven chances and score only one.

“I know that people are not happy with it, but it’s part of the game and you need to live with it.”

Ozil’s current form had Wenger purring in admiration and more desperate than ever to ensure that the Germany international does not leave the club in January or at the end of the season when his contract expires.

“It was a superb finish. He can deliver that. It’s important for him that he takes the risk to do what he did,” Wenger said.

“Usually he is a guy who, 99 per cent of the time, in this position, he controls the ball and gives it to somebody else, so I’m pleased he took the gamble to finish and I’m happy as well that he scored a very important goal.

“I am confident that he will stay here, but what does that mean? I don’t know.”

With Newcastle slipping into the bottom three for the first time this season, manager Rafael Benitez will no doubt be grateful for Wenger’s support.

The Frenchman and Spaniard exchanged a warm greeting pitch-side before kick-off and that mutual respect was echoed afterwards.

Wenger said of his Newcastle counterpart: “I think he is doing a good job because Newcastle is not one of the teams who invested hugely to compete at the top when they came up.

“His team overall looks to me to be organised, they look mobile and they look to have a good spirit.

“The job of a manager is to take the best from the potential of his team and I believe Benitez does that very well.”

Because it is unlikely the mooted takeover of Newcastle can be sanctioned and completed before the transfer window closes at the end of January, Benitez is aware he faces a tough task to keep the club from dropping back into the Championship.

First, he must halt a run of results that has reaped just a solitary point from the last nine games.

“Obviously, the last results haven’t given us confidence but I always said that coming back from the Championship, this team would be in the bottom half of the table,” Benitez said.

“We didn’t win games when we had them against teams around us in the table. Now we have to put everything right, playing better if we can, and hopefully bring in one or two additions in January to give a lift to everyone.

“The main thing is to stay calm, do our jobs properly and give ourselves the chance to move up the table if the team continues to work like they did today.”

Sanchez, Ozil Going Nowhere – Wenger

Manager Arsene Wenger says forward Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Mesut Ozil will be at Arsenal after the January transfer window “unless something unbelievable happens”.

The contracts of both players expire at the end of the season.

Asked if his gut feeling is they will stay, Wenger replied: “Yes, of course.”

The Frenchman also said it is in midfielder Jack Wilshere’s “best interest” to remain with the Premier League club.

Wenger added: “I will absolutely fight for him to stay here because he’s a top-quality player.”

England international Wilshere, 25, has struggled with injuries since making his Arsenal debut in 2008 and spent the 2016-17 campaign on loan at Bournemouth.

He has yet to make a Premier League start this season.

Both Sanchez, 28, and 29-year-old Ozil are key figures for Wenger.

Chile forward Sanchez, who arrived in 2014 from Barcelona, has scored 56 goals in 113 appearances, while Germany international Ozil has produced 45 assists since his debut in September 2013, more than any other Premier League player.

Wenger said: “As long as they are here, they give their best for the club.

“In my head, they stay until the end of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens I don’t see that changing.”

Asked if they will remain beyond the end of the 2017-18 campaign, he added: “I am not the only one to decide that. They have to decide that as well.”

Wenger Offers To Save Walcot’s Career

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger is ready to give Theo Walcott a fresh chance to rescue his Gunners’ career.

Walcott has a little more than 18 months left on his present contract and has been linked with a move away should his situation not improve.

But it is understood the forward’s preference is to remain at the club he joined almost 12 years ago, providing he is rewarded for his commitment to more regular opportunities.

Wenger said, “He looks back to a very good shape. I felt it took him some time to come back to his real level. He had a difficult start, maybe, but since the start of the season he looks highly motivated and focused. I am impressed with what he is doing and the way he’s coping with the situation.”