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Mar 132016
 

‘We didn’t deserve to lose’

'We didn't deserve to lose'

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Arsène Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup quarter-final against Watford. You can read a full transcript below:

on the defeat…
Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don’t think that we deserved to lose. We have to look at ourselves for the first goal. The second goal was a fantastic shot. I felt that it was a real cup game where they defended very well and took their chances on the break, the few chances they had. As long as we didn’t score the first goal they kept their belief. They were physically very strong but we had enough chances to win the game.

on whether their physical strength had an impact on the result…
We knew that before the game. We had enough technical superiority to win the game and to score goals. It was down to not making a mistake and keeping it 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. If we would have done that then we might have won the game. Unfortunately we made one. It is sad. We’ve come out of a very long run in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the FA Cup, you cannot guarantee you will win it.

on how difficult it will be to pick the players up…
It’s always difficult but it’s our job to prepare for the next game.

on confidence…
This had nothing to do with confidence. Of course there is confidence in the team. The recent results haven’t shown that but we’ve played against good teams and the recent results were 2-2 at Tottenham with 10 men and a 4-0 win at Hull. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have any confidence.

on Welbeck’s chance at the end…
It was difficult to understand how we didn’t score. I want to watch it again. It was a typical cup game against a team who comes here to fight and take their chances, with us trying to score. It was just like that, there’s not a lot more to say.

on how disappointing it is to be out of the FA Cup…
When we’re in it you [the media] say it’s only the FA Cup. You cannot say that it’s a disaster on the other end of the scale.

on whether he is concerned about Arsenal’s home form…
A little bit, yes. I agree with you that we do not make enough of our domination, of our possession in the final third.

on the impact it will have on the Barcelona game…
We have shown that we can always respond. This team has a great spirit and a very strong attitude. They play at the moment with the idea that you cannot afford any negative results. We can deal with that and we will deal with the fact that we have a good opportunity to show on Wednesday that we are up for it.

on Gabriel’s tackle…
It didn’t look [like a red card to me], I have to see it again. He won the ball. It looked to me like Deeney was [off the ground] as well. Gabriel was first to the ball. That’s how it looked. If his feet were off the ground then I will have to look at it again.

on whether he will take a full-strength squad to Barcelona…
We want to make the impossible possible. Barcelona are a very, very strong side and it’s very important that we go there, focus and show a good response.

on the triple substitution…
I wanted to give a bit more penetration because I felt that we were lacking a bit and were passing a bit sideways. We lacked penetration and an incisive game. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to make a substitution before they scored the second goal. I wanted to do it at 1-0 but then they broke and it was 2-0. It was much more difficult.

on Arsenal’s defending…
I don’t think we suffered a lot defensively. Watford are a team who are good on the break. They depend on Ighalo and Deeney and they are a handful to cope with. They were good and the rest work very hard. Overall we didn’t give many chances away in that game.

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source

13 Mar 2016

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Mar 132016
 

Arsenal were in FA Cup action against Watford on Sunday – and you can watch the highlights on Player from midday on Monday.

Press ‘Play’ to watch our 12-minute highlights package above, or our goals clip below, while you can also:

  • Watch the ENTIRE first half
  • Watch the ENTIRE second half

PLUS:

  • Get all the pre- and post-match news 
  • Read our match report
  • See the best pictures from the game
  • VIDEO: See what the boss had to say
  • LISTEN: Hear the goals on Soundcloud

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source

13 Mar 2016

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Mar 122016
 

‘Willock has what you don’t find easily’

'Willock has what you don't find easily'

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Arsène Wenger believes Chris Willock is destined for an exciting future because he has attributes “you do not find easily”.

The 18-year-old has impressed at youth level this season and, as well as training regularly with the first team, has been included in Wenger’s squad for two FA Cup ties.

Willock was an unused substitute at Hull City on Tuesday, and the boss is backing him to make his breakthrough next season.

If I had to play him then I would have no fear in doing so. Next season I think he will be a player who will get to feature in the team

“Chris is a very gifted player with natural strength and natural talent,” Wenger told the matchday programme. “He has what you do not find very easily.

“He can have a go at people, can get past people in one on ones. We forget sometimes that the basis of team sport is to first be strong one against one and Chris has that quality.

“I believe that he has the needed character when he has his back to the wall to always respond in a very strong way. That’s a very important quality, to be able to play under pressure.

“Overall I would be very comfortable to play him now but of course there is a lot of competition for places because there are players like Walcott, Alexis and Welbeck in front of him at the moment.

“If I had to play him then I would have no fear in doing so. Next season I think he will be a player who will get to feature in the team.”

Watford FA Cup programme coverWatford FA Cup programme cover

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source

Nik Brumsack 12 Mar 2016

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 Posted by at 5:39 am
Mar 112016
 

By Rob Kelly

THE QUOTE

“We have three huge challenges and we know it will be down to how much we will move forward and how much we will be capable of giving. We know there will be small margins in these games and we have to be sure that every small margin goes for us. – Arsène Wenger

THE PREVIEW

There was a telling moment in Arsène Wenger’s pre-match interview with Arsenal Player when he was asked just how much he enjoys the kind of defining week in the season that his side now faces.

After all, the prospect of an FA Cup quarter-final against Watford, a Champions League clash in Barcelona followed by a tough trip to Everton would appear daunting to most. But for a born competitor like the Arsenal manager, it simply represents an opportunity.

“There’s a lot of pressure and I enjoy it, because I believe real pressure is to play games without any importance – that’s boring,” the manager said. “I believe it’s a privilege for our club to be in position like this.

“You work very hard the whole year to be in these positions when March comes. It’s now down to us to be up to it and take it in a positive way and make sure we come out very happy after each game.”

Considering the week ahead, the Gunners’ first win in four games at Hull City on Tuesday night could scarcely have been better timed. Four unanswered goals, with two each for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, was the perfect aperitif ahead of the main event.

Team news

Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny (both calf), Wilshere (ankle), Rosicky (thigh), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Cazorla (Achilles), Ramsey (thigh)

Watford: Britos-Cabrera (hamstring), Cathcart (calf), Jurado Marin (calf), Ekstrand (hamstring)

“What pleased me most was our movement, our mobility, our technical quality, our patience as well, and our discipline offensively and defensively,” Wenger said.

“It was quite convincing and we showed the needed patience to beat a team like that. There were some individual satisfactions as well from players that we know less that slowly emerge and show that they have top quality.

“We go into a very important week now that means a lot to us. We go into the third consecutive year in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and that has a big meaning. We then have Barcelona, where we have not given up. Then we go to Everton on Saturday and we still believe we have a strong chance to fight for the Premier League.

“We have three huge challenges and we know it will be down to how much we will move forward and how much we will be capable of giving. We know there will be small margins in these games and we have to be sure that every small margin goes for us.”

ONE TO WATCH

When Wenger talks of those players who are “slowly emerging to show they have top quality”, it is clear that Alex Iwobi is at the forefront of his mind.

The Nigeria international has been one of the positive surprises of the season, breaking into the first team and impressing with his fluid attacking, range of passing and confidence in his own ability.

Iwobi impressed at the KC Stadium in midweek, and is likely to get his chance again as the Gunners resume their defence of the FA Cup against Watford.

Alex IwobiAlex Iwobi 

Wenger admits he has been taken aback by the 19-year-old’s impact, but says that despite being a quiet character, he has all the attributes to thrive in the first team.

“A modern, top, top player is a guy who has a good combination of humility and ambition – humility off the pitch and ambition on it,” the manager said. “That makes real champions.

“Alex is a guy who provokes in his game and provokes mistakes from the opponents with the vertical way he plays.

“That can be expressed on the flanks or through the middle. In fact when he was a youth-team player, he only played on the flanks and I put him in the centre because I liked the way he read the game and the speed of his understanding of the game.

“That is why I would put him in the middle, but he can express his talent in every single offensive position.”

THE OPPOSITION

While Leicester City’s exploits at the top of the table may be the story of the season, the ease with which Watford look like avoiding relegation demands respect.

Opta Facts

Arsenal have won four of their FA Cup meetings with Watford (L1), including their last clash in the third round, en route to winning the trophy in 2002

The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 21 all-Premier League home FA Cup ties (W15 D6).

Their last such defeat came against Leeds in 1997 Watford have won all three of their FA Cup games this season by a 1-0 scoreline

Quique Flores Sanchez’s side have had some fine results this term and their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup underlines their progress.

Odion Igahlo and Troy Deeney have proved to be one of the most effective striking partnerships in the Premier League, and their 24 goals between them in all competitions is 85% of the Hornets collective total.

Wenger is well aware of the threat the pair pose to his team’s ambitions on Sunday, and believes keeping them quiet will be vital.

“Deeney is a good link player and Ighalo is a good finisher,” Wenger said. “They have a good understanding. Ighalo moves very well when Deeney has the ball, and Deeney is a very physical player.

“He can upset defenders and create space for Ighalo. I think they are basically two characters who fit well together, and you could see that they enjoy to play together.”

Don’t miss the digital match programme for Arsenal v Hull City, on sale now for just 79p and packed with exclusive interviews and interactive features.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Arsenal App users – click here to watch our archive video

Watford (a) – Highlights

Watford (a) - Highlights

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Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source

11 Mar 2016

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 Posted by at 6:09 pm
Mar 112016
 

‘We are fully focused on Watford’

'We are fully focused on Watford'

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Arsène Wenger says Mohamed Elneny has proved he is ready to start for Arsenal ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Watford.

The Egypt midfielder has been a competition regular since joining from Basel in January, completing the full 90 minutes of the Gunners’ wins over Burnley and Hull City.

Elneny also impressed in the Premier League at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, and Wenger says the 23-year-old’s form gives Arsenal a chance to rotate in midfield ahead of another busy week.

I consider every formula that is possible to give us a balance. At the moment I think Elneny in central midfield can cope

Arsène Wenger

“He looks like he is ready to play,” the manager said. “I consider every formula that is possible to give us a balance. At the moment I think Elneny in central midfield can cope.

“We have Flamini, we have Coquelin who can cope as well. They have shown [that] already. The formula can change as well if needed but that depends on the games. Every game will be different now.

“In our job, you want to perform in the next game and the next game is an important one because we have fought hard to get there and that is our purpose. After that we deal with the next one.

“If you have a good run, you sometimes absorb them without any problems. If you have a bad result, of course there is no time to digest sometimes and to get the belief back in the squad. We want to do that and what is very important is to be in there and have a chance to show how good you are.“

Mohamed Elneny in action at Hull CityMohamed Elneny in action at Hull City

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source

Max Jones 11 Mar 2016

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 Posted by at 12:22 pm
Mar 112016
 

Read extra quotes from Arsène Wenger’s press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Watford:

on fans…
You want the fans to be behind the club and the team. We have millions of fans all over the world and we want them to be behind the team. If you are a supporter, you love the club, you love the team and you want them to do well. You’re disappointed when the team doesn’t do well but it doesn’t stop you from supporting the team.

on away tickets (Click to find tickets) being capped…
Yes [I welcome it] of course. I don’t have a problem with it. I’m happy with it.

on Arsenal giving an extra discount to fans…
I like that. It will keep them happy. Do you want some people to be unhappy? Nobody wants that. You want everybody, the whole world, to be happy. There was a famous writer who said that happiness only makes noise when it leaves you. We want to keep our fans happy and be conscious that they are happy.

on Rafa Benitez…
It’s a sad sign for Steve McClaren who I personally rate highly as well. Of course Benitez is a top-class manager.

on having the top managers in the Premier League…
I would like us to organise a game and see who does well. We have slowly gained – and I don’t speak about myself – all the top-class managers in England. I’ve been here a long time and slowly they have all come here and will enjoy life here. It will be very interesting next season but let’s take care of this season first. It’s not over so let’s start the next game in a strong way.

on Newcastle having 14 managers in Wenger’s time at Arsenal…
Yes [it astounds me]. For me the technical stability is very important for the results, for the long-term consistency and the values carried through the club. Values are an important part of football and everyone forgets that. The style of play and the way we want to behave is important and somewhere you need consistency on that front.

on if stability and continuity are vital for success…
No, because if you have enough money, you can buy your mistakes and make them right. If you manage your club with what you spend, what comes in, you have to minimise your mistakes. If you have a huge amount of money, you can afford more.

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source

11 Mar 2016

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 Posted by at 11:42 am