Friday, 24 December 2010

Wenger gives Nani both barrels and faces fight over Wilshere

Morning Gooners.

With the manager's press conference taking place yesterday, we can start to gear up towards Monday's game with Chelsea. However as the game is three days away still there isn't too much talk about it around so far. It does feel weird that we're not playing on Boxing Day, but Monday night it is and we'll have to hope the team produces a performance worthy of three points.

Arsene Wenger responded well to taunts from the Manchester United player Nani, who said in The Sun yesterday that only his team or Chelsea could win the league.

The Frenchman said:
"Everybody has a different opinion in this league and nobody is a prophet. We live a society where everybody knows everything and it looks like it's a shame to say 'I don't know'. 
"I don't know who will win the league. I managed 1,600 games so if Nani knows he must be 1,600 times more intelligent than I am."
And we all know Nani is neither a prophet nor more intelligent than Arsene Wenger. Really cutting comments by the manager. Lets just hope his team backs him up because some of their performances this season haven't lived up to his words.

Against Chelsea on Monday I have to be honest I'm not that optimistic we'll get a result. I feel let down by the performance at Old Trafford where I thought we could go and get a result. We were playing well on the road and there wasn't a reason we couldn't turn up there and give as good as we got.

However we saw how tame we were and how our side didn't really have a go at the opposition. I don't want to see that - no Gooners do. We want our team to at least fight for the honour of wearing the shirt - something I don't think they did.

Against Chelsea I hope it will be different. I want them to learn by their mistakes but I also believe the manager will have to switch things around if we are to take all three points. Bringing Cesc Fabregas back into the starting line up is one of the switches I would make as would starting Abou Diaby. 

I know the Frenchman divides opinion among Gooners, but I believe he steps up for bigger games and having his physical presence in the team will help. Whether he can last 90 minutes on Monday night in his first game for two months is another question.

The manager believes we can win and it is only time before we turn things around against the bigger teams.

He said:
"Every guy before he wins, he has lost. One day, he wins. We have to make sure for us that day is on Monday.
"We are in a strong position now in December and we know our home form against the big teams will be the decider for the championship.
"We've got to play Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool at home and that will be decisive. We've played them all away.
"We are confident of taking on Chelsea. We have a big challenge. What we want is to produce an intelligent game full of dynamic and that is the only way we can win these big games. That's the challenge of the team."
The one thing I worry about is the mental strength of some of these players to overcome the series of defeats we've had against Chelsea and Manchester United. It's hard to get over the fact we've been on a losing streak, but if these players put in a shift and show that they won't be bullied, we might get something from the game.

I don't go along with the manager's train of thought that this is a must win. Avoid defeat is my biggest wish for Monday. It's a small step but one we can take. Grind out the result and ensure we build on that.

Elsewhere the manager has sparked a new club vs country row over Jack Wilshere's possible inclusion with the England under 21 squad which will play in next summer's Under-21 European Championship in Denmark.

The manager tells the Guardian it's not a wise idea. And I fully agree with him there.

Wenger was also asked whether he'd be interested in taking David Beckham on loan until the new MLS season starts in March. As the Frechman does, he paid tribute to Beckham before saying we didn't need him. And he's right. We are over following with options going forward.

Finally, the manager has given his response to the English FA's decision not to appoint his old friend and former Arsenal vice chairman David Dein to the chairman's role. Quite a strange decision in my mind when Dein has so much knowledge of international football and getting things done.

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