Quick summary of Wenger’s press conference to make do with today, as my elves have quit I have to wrap all my xmas pressies myself.
Terrible state of affairs and should have known never to hire an elf to do a fairy’s job.
Of course all (well, most) of the focus of today’s press conference was about our match in four days time, something about a holiday or something between now and then as the reason it was being held so early.
First up and Wenger he confirmed that Vermaelen will be out for another month “We have to live with that” but we cannot complain about our injuries apparently as we are in a relatively good position compared to recent years. Pity the journalist who said that didn’t see fit to recognise that this time last year.
“Our home form in these types of games will be decisive” Wenger said prophetically meanwhile Pat Rice was reportedly on his way to the North Pole to personally ensure Santa knows exactly what we expect on Monday.
“What we want is to produce a game, an intelligent game, full of energy and dynamic, and that’s the only way you can win these big games” Wenger added before being asked at least 100 times if he cared about our record against the other ‘big teams’ if he considered the results against the other big teams, and every other variation of the words ‘games’ against’ ‘other’ ‘big’ and ‘teams’ that the journalists could think of.
When asked if it was a good time to play Chelsea (do they know Arsenal, do they not realise that no time is ever a good time for us to play them?) Wenger replied “Chelsea have gone through a period where their results are a bit less good, that can happen to anyone in this league. You have seen that any team, just when you think they are on the brink of breaking through, they have the hiccups. Maybe it is just the quality of the league.”
Of course, should we win it, the quality of the league will be the worst it has been since at least 1903.
Some smartie in the assembled journalists thought it might add to the festive cheer to remind Wenger of the five games we’ve already lost this season. His response got in a nice dig at Spurs: “Firstly I am surprised that we have lost five games, three of them at home against teams who would not normally challenge for the championship. The good news is that we are in a good position and that we have not paid a high price for that but of course our home form in the second half of the season will be a decider.”
And it’s true. Our home form will be a decider (as long as it isn’t at the expense of our away form). We only have Spurs from the top six teams last season to face away and it wil be when the big boys come to the Emirates that we will get to see how much this team – and crowd – want this title which is just sitting waiting to picked up by the first team that shows it can be bothered.
Apparently Nani has changed his mind as prior to the Man U match he said it was between us and them for the title. Now he says it is between Man U and Chelsea. Maybe he just picks who United are due to face next and is quotes are from last week/ When asked about this Wenger said “We live in a society where everybody thinks they know everything. I personally I don’t know who will win the league and I have managed 1600 games, so if Nani knows he must be 1600 times more intelligent than I am.”
When asked about Balotelli’s comments regarding Wilshere earlier in the week, Wenger played another blinder. First up he asked the reporter to repeat Balotelli’s name by saying ‘who’ and then said he didn’t know what he had said, forcing the journalist to paraphrase Balotelli’s comments.
“It is impossible to comment on every comment. I feel that Jack Wilshere will be a great player, at the moment he is just starting his career so you have to let him work, progress, improve and be more concerned with the potential I see in him and if he keeps the right attitude that will come out.”
What else is there to add to that?
When asked if it was a good time to play Chelsea by a journalist who had obviously missed it the first time it was asked, Wenger confirmed that Chelsea do have less confidence than they did in October but stressed that we must play to the best of our ability. He was then asked, again, if he dwelt on the statistics of the games between Arsenal and Chelsea he replied
“No, no, not really, because the statistics are history and as I’ve just told you every game is a new start where we have an opportunity to show, every guy before us has lost and then one day he wins, we have to make sure that is us on Monday. Three years ago we lost the small games but didn’t lose the big games and we didn’t win the championship. We have to combine both sides of it, we are in a good position now in December and we know our home form against the big teams will be the decider for the Championship.”
Do you look at this as a game you ‘have to’ win “Yes, yes of course. We have mixed feelings because we came out of both games against Chelsea and Man United that it was possible and that there was not a difference between the teams and we have a good opportunity to show that in the coming months and to show that our improvement is bigger than any of the other team because we are a very young side so it is how well we respond to what happened to us at Chelsea and at United that will be the decider for our season.
“Football is magic because it is a team sport. Chelsea are a top team and we know that on Monday we will be playing against a top team and we don’t expect any weakness of their side.
“What do we need to change? Add that fraction of belief and transform the frustration we had in both games into commitment and determination. It is good to feel there is no difference between the two teams but it is better to beat them and we are conscious that we have to add something that is called attitude, determination, and belief which was missing a little bit. Having said that at Chelsea and Man United we conceded first unbelievable goals so we have to be a bit better defensively.”
When asked if we were due luck Wenger stressed that he didn’t like ‘luck’ as you are relying on something outside yourself and he prefers ‘to make your own luck’.
Then, finally, a question that wasn’t about Chelsea, and actually about our players and Wenger confirmed that Cesc and VP are ready. As for Vermaelen, well, he “had a few setbacks, the decider is now because he is starting plasticising again. If he now has a setback I don’t know what the medical staff will do with him but overall they look quite optimistic that in January he will be back.”
Of course, this lead to one unimaginative journalist asking if we would be buying in January. Wenger replied “we have 25 players and you cannot have more. unless players move out no-one can come in”
Then it was back to the game on Monday. Is this a defining month for the title? “It is an important period that is sure but I would say that for us January is a vital month because we play many games, we are involved in the FA Cup, Carling Cup, Champions League and the championship and the way that we can focus in every single game will certainly decide our season.”
Do you think you have a point to prove on Monday? “Of course, of course, you show that you are up to the level that is expected from you in these games and that is the obstacle we have to get over, at home, the big game, you want to win it”
Yes we do Arsene, yes we do.
(all quotes may not be 100% accurate as I was typing as fast as I could as might have misplaced a word or two.)
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