Saturday, 12 February 2011

Wenger on Wolves - Wilshere deserves England respect - Christian Eriksen linked

Morning Gooners.

Finally we get back to real football. 90 minutes at the Grove... you really can't beat it. Today is a very big day for us in terms of where our league campaign will go. Win and we'll stay up there with Manchester United. Draw - it's not the worst result but it is two points dropped. Lose and we'd have to really hope things fell in our favour in terms of results our rivals didn't achieve.

The manager has set out his stall. The game with Wolves this afternoon is more important than our tie with Barcelona on Wednesday. 

Wenger said:
"The best way to be in a good position to beat Barça is to beat Wolves. That game is, in my opinion, more important by far. 
"We started in August to fight for every single ball to be in a position to fight for the Premier League and now is the time of truth. 
"We are in a strong position. It would be absolutely stupid now not to prioritise the Premier League."
Whilst many, many Gooners want us to show the Spanish club we are up to beating them in midweek and prioritise the Champions League over our domestic league, I'm with the manager on this one.

We cannot afford a slip up today. By the time we get underway at the Grove we'll know the result of the Manchester derby. Whatever the result from Old Trafford, it should inspire us to put in a performance and win the game.

The Champions League is a knock out competition where whoever is the better team over two legs wins through to the next round. Whilst the league is all about consistency. We've been good for the most part, so to play a weakened team this afternoon could prove fatal and leave us with our title challenge on life support.

The manager spoke about the impact of losing an unbeaten run.

He said:
"It's always difficult when you are on an unbeaten run and you lose it. It's very difficult psychologically to start again.
"For us it was 49 games, we lost as well the 50th game under special circumstances. It was even more difficult to swallow, the sense of injustice.
"I am like you. I will look at it and see how they respond. Usually, they respond well. It is a derby so anything can happen."
I don't really know what to expect of Manchester United today. They will be without Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, so that might make things tricky for them at the back.

The one thing I do hope is that the player go out on to the pitch at the Grove for a win. Never mind the result at Old Trafford. We need three points, whatever happens in Manchester could be a bonus for us.

The manager has spoken about Jack Wilshere's England progress. The Frenchman revealed he didn't watch Wilshere in action on Wednesday, mainly because he was in Paris taking up his role as a co-commentator for the France v Brazil game.

However Wenger is keen for Fabio Capello to ensure that now Wilshere is seen as a full England international he won't be played in the under-21s. He makes his views known in The Sun. Whilst Bolton boss Owen Coyle says Wilshere was close to signing for him this season back in July, but the 19-year-old made the most of the chances Wenger gave to him, so returning to the north-west was never an option after that.

There is more transfer malarkey around today involving Cesc Fabregas. The Sun say Real Madrid are prepared to offer £54 million for our captain. While in the Daily Star, we are linked with a move for Denmark's standout performer on Wednesday night, Christian Eriksen.

Ahead of Wednesday, Barca captain Carles Puyo is a major doubt for the tie according to the Daily Star

And finally, Harry Redknapp can't hide his disappointment in Tottenham losing out on the Olympic Stadium. He says the decision will give Arsenal fans the chance to laugh at our north London neighbours. He's right but it also gives his own supporter chance to celebrate the decision ho owen supporters never wanted to see made in their favour.

Anyway, Redknapp may have other things on his mind next summer and I'm not talking about a holiday with his wife.

I'll be back later with a preview of the game and who I think will be in the starting line up.

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