Arsene Wenger was joined by David Ospina for his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with PSG. The pair gave the latest team news as well as discussing the goalkeeper’s role in the team and his competition with Petr Cech. As always, we have the conference in full.
Matchday: Team News – Predicted Lineup – Betting Preview
Match: Arsenal v Paris Saint Germain
Stadium: The Emirates Stadium
Kick-Off (GMT): Wed 23 Nov 19:45
Basically, everybody recovered from Saturday. We left Walcott in and Ramsey in on recovery but they should be alright for tomorrow.
He’s back training already but not with the squad. He’s ahead of schedule.
Winner takes all tomorrow – is it affecting preparation?
I believe that the two teams have done the job until now every time it was expected. We have done it away from home and now we can finish the job at home, we played a draw there and we have to win tomorrow to finish the job.
Finishing top of the group
Well, that we have done the job until the end in a convincing way. When you play 1-1 away from home and you play at home. It’s a luxury to be qualified after four matches, so last year we had to battle until the end and this season we can finish the job after 5 games and that would mean we’ve done well.
A long term contract. It just sends out that the media will have to find a different name for somebody who wants to leave the club. It show that the players we educated here are committed and that’s good. You give young boys a chance to play in the first team you want them to commit and that’s are an important quality we have at the club. We are very happy when they commit
At the moment I’ve given up on that a little bit. It looks like he’s making progress but as long as he’s not in full training it’s difficult to make targets. It’s not a big injury that will harm his future but it’s an inflammation at the back of his Achilles and it’s always very difficult to give a set time. My gut feeling is that it will be short now, two weeks. Even when he comes back it will take time before he’s ready.
Is Giroud an impact player?
No, I have only good players and every week I leave top players on the bench and I rotate a little bit. Giroud has been out a long time and he is ready to compete again and from game to game, it will change a little bit. We make minor rotations but he is not forever on the bench, he will play games, he will be on the bench sometimes, like everybody else.
Will he start v PSG
I have not decided yet.
Criticism over Manchester United game – were you too negative?
Look, we have to face the critics and accept it. What I accept is that we were not on the best side of our offensive game. We had not preset before the game not to score goals, we wanted to attack and in the first half we had a lot of possession but we didn’t make enough with it. After that, we were resilient, we came back, we have done that many times this season, but offensively we can do better.
Yes, he has recovered completely. He had a bandage before the game because he had some tightness in his hamstring but he was checked before the game. I follow all instructions of the medical staff and the player. If they declare he is fit to play. I never forced in my whole life anyone to play or to be injected. If the player he says he is 100%, after that I make my decision. The suggestions that we push him to play are completely wrong
If I had the possibility I would like to give it to everybody. I just had the luxury to do it with Özil because Germany didn’t pick him but Chile had World Cup qualifiers. In fact, he didn’t play the first game. When they played in Colombia he didn’t play so he wasn’t overloaded with games before the Manchester United match.
Sanchez and Giroud
The thinking is that they are different styles of players and that dictates a different style for us as well, the shape, the form of the players, their hunger. It’s a mixture of many things that you let go through your mind before you make a decision. My job is to select and decide and that is the same every week, every three days.
Exactly. It is a problem because we would prefer that Bellerin is ready to play but also an opportunity for the players to come in and prove they have the ability to play these types of games.
Have PSG made progress?
PSG played their best game of the early part of the season against us in terms of the previous meeting we weren’t on top, we needed a good performance from our goalkeeper and were able to draw. It’s an opportunity for us to prove we have progressed. I don’t think PSG always pushed to win their league matches so it’s hard to draw comparisons on that with their CL matches.
I think, to begin with, Emery tried to find some common ground with the previous playing style and what he’s trying to create. Between the first match between the two sides and today, I think he’s found that balance.
Different flavour to PL and CL
No, not at all. There’s so much at stake in every pl match that’s there’s no real difference to the Champions League. The attention is the same, every time you play a match it’s an important match. That’s what makes the Premier League so exciting but also very difficult. In the past, you could allow your players a rest but you can no longer do that.
He’s close now. He played only 70 minutes for the under 23. There’s still not enough competition that I can throw him in with the intensity of the Champions League and he’ll be comfortable. He needs a few weeks, if he can get through this week he can join the group.
Debuchy and Jenkinson
Look, Arsenal is one of the ten biggest clubs in the world you cannot think you don’t have competition. We are in a highly competitive world and we have to accept it. We cannot be pampered and think that they have a right to be there. It’s competition, that’s what we love and that’s what we go for. Debuchy has a fantastic mentality and will give a tough time even to Hector Bellerin when he’s back.
Is this match like a cup final?
Of course, because both sides are already through to the knockout stages and the winners will top the group. Yes, it’s a cup final over 90 minutes. We need to be serious both defensively and offensively. Both sides will be solid defensively, PSG like to take the game to their opponents and so do we. I think the first round was very open and a good game, I hope that will be the case tomorrow night.
Look it would be important to win the group and we can win a big game tomorrow too. November or December or June, you win football games and you perform, it’s as simple as that. When you go on the pitch you don’t look at the calendar, you just focus on the quality of our game. We have created a momentum, even if we are stuttering a little bit at the moment because we are not winning out games, but we want to strengthen that momentum with wins.
Yes of course. Every match is different, we know we are facing a quality side with quality players. We have to do our job and finish top of the group.
As the club’s Champions League goalkeeper, does it give you an extra incentive to do well?
Of course. We prepare to try and be fit in every match and every competition and when the coach picks you, you want to show what you can do. I want to give my all for Arsenal.
How do you keep your form when not playing?
I think you have to show what you can do in training sessions and show what you can do mentally. I have to compete with Petr Cech. He wants to play and I want to play and you have to be ready.
The rivalry is very important. He’s a very good goalkeeper, we’re all aware how good he is so that allows me to have fierce competition. As footballers, we want to play in every match but ultimately we respect the manager’s decision.
Koscielny leader of France
Laurent is a terrific defender. He’s one of the best defenders in the world in terms of his abilities. He always defends very well so it’s very important to have Laurent as a teammate here at Arsenal. He’s an excellent defender and we need to make the most of him.