Arsene Wenger gave his regular pre-match press conference this morning ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Sunderland. The boss talked about everything from team news to safe standing and the Ballon d’Or. As always, we have the press conference in full.
Matchday: Team News – Predicted Lineup – Betting Preview
Match: Arsenal v Sunderland
Stadium: Stadium of Light
Kick-Off (GMT): Sat 29 Oct 12:30
Team news from Tuesday night we lost Perez for a while with an ankle injury, hopefully he will recover but I think he will be 6-8 weeks out. Of course as you have seen we have Giroud available, Aaron Ramsey will be in the squad tomorrow basically in November they have not played so they have not played which is good. A few concerns about players, Cazorla, Monreal, Walcott, they have tests today.
Giroud and Ramsey
They are available for selection but I have to be a bit cautious, especially with Aaron Ramsey because he has not played yet and only been a week with the team so I will be more cautious with him.
Resilient away form
The fact that we have a good solidarity and when we play away we play with a good desire to win the games, as well we have improved our defensive quality, it’s always in question, we have a tricky game tomorrow, overall we have to be inspired by what we have realised until now and continue to improve.
Their main danger is their form, they are good on set pieces with Khazri, they have Kone, O’Shea who are dangerous on set pieces, they are a team who is at a moment in a bad position. It’s very tight at the top and very tight at the bottom so there are no differences anywhere.
Are you annoyed with the Perez injury?
Yes it’s very frustrating. He worked very hard to get there and now he is close, he’s absolutely gutted because it’s an injury coming from nowhere and a stupid one. It was a kick, a deliberate kick and it was a similar tackle to Xhaka but it was no red card but anyway, the red card would not have helped Perez.
Are you unhappy with the tackle?
No it was not needed but I think it was more frustrated reaction from the player, he had no chance of getting the ball, sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you get a bad injury, but in this case it’s unfortunate.
Santi Cazorla’s qualities
The pass from midfield to high midfield and security on the ball getting out of pressure when we are closed down, he gets you out of tight situations and creates openings for the team, he has as well a good understanding with Mesut Özil.
Is he fundamental to your playing style?
Yes but for example against Middlesbrough people say Santi did not play, yes of course but I think we had enough domination and enough quality to win the game on the pitch, that’s when we have to find a solution when Santi is not there and that no matter how big Santi is – and god knows that I rate him highly – we have as well drawn and lost games with him as well.
Cazorla and Xhaka comparisons
He is as well a good passer of the ball from deep midfield to high midfield.
West Ham crowd trouble
I’m surprised even more than disappointed because West Ham has usually a very strong fan base, very motivated. In England we are not used to these problems any more. Personally I support the new waves of standing behind the goals and that is not an advert to come back to standing opportunities for people in the stands so I am surprised and hopefully West Ham will get rid of the problem very quickly.
Does it go against the argument for safe standing?
Yes of course it sets back the argument it gives an argument for people who are against it
Game behind closed doors
There is nothing more dull than that. I prefer not to play than to play a game behind closed doors.
The perks of bringing just three quality players in the summer
Yes of course we have a big squad and I believe a competitive squad has fair competition within the squad, with too many it is not fair because some players do not play and with not enough it is detrimental as well. We have opted for a short number and quality, that disrupts less the way we play football and the technical stability.
Yes you have to honestly admire Defoe for what he has done. A guy his age you expected when he moved to the MLS it was the end of him in the Premier League and he came back and had a huge impact and in the end it was down to him that Sunderland stayed in the Premier League.
No he is not ill, he has a slight hamstring, a very minor one. He will have a test later. Yeah he should be okay Tuesday
I am against it, it gets in the head of players, you see many people obsessed about the Ballon d’Or and not the team performance. Football is a collective sport and we live already in a world where everything is individualised and we have to respect what football is about
I encourage and congratulate the players who do well but when you look at the history, it is not always the most objective decisions. The players who are the best we know all about them, let’s take care of those who are not always in the glory, all the best we know all about them.
Without FIFA, is the Ballon d’Or less important?
I don’t know
Özil contract update
Nothing really concrete enough to talk about, but it’s moving along.
Yeah of course the pressure is on every week for everybody. It’s tight at the top two points with five teams difference, as well on the other hand you have not to be fooled by that, you win the games when your performance is right so let’s focus on the quality of our performance. Last week we had 75% of the ball and could not score so we know we have to be more effective with the ball.
What did you learn from last season?
I try always to learn and I think if I have one quality it’s that I try to learn from everything and every year I learn new things. Last year we learned that a team like Leicester could win the championship with only losing three games, nobody would have predicted that before the start of the season and that’s why I think it will be very tight this season.
David Moyes is an experienced manager who I think has 15 seasons in the Premier League so I think he will adapt to the strengths of his team and certainly they will defend very well and attempt to catch us on the break and maybe from set pieces.
Has he recovered from Man United?
I think so, I think once you are out of an experience you get ready for the next one. Why should he not have recovered? You dwell on it when you sit at home and have no job but once you have a job you focus on doing the best where you are.
The closer you are to the position of the player the more passionate you are. As well it would allow lower prices because you can get more spectators inside the stadiums and a little bit more passionate atmosphere.
Is everyone getting carried away with the West Ham crowd trouble?
Basically I don’t believe there is a problem with Hooliganism in England. One minor incident with 200 people isn’t a general problem with the country.
Any concerns with the game at West Ham next month?
No, honestly no.
It’s a little muscular tightness.