Date: 28th October 2016 at 10:51pm
Written by:

Manager Arsene Wenger has said that the aim this weekend as we face Sunderland is to extend our unbeaten run in the Premier League, but he’s expecting David Moyes’ side to put up a very stern test.

Speaking to the Official Site in his pre game press conference as he met with the media, Wenger explained.

‘We have a good solidarity, we play away from home with a full desire to win the games and we`ve improved our defensive quality as well. But it`s in question every time – we have a tricky early game tomorrow and we have to be inspired by what we have realised until now, and continue to improve.
‘The pressure is on every week on everybody. It is very tight at the top – two points difference between five teams – so every game of course becomes important. On the other hand, you have not to be fooled – you win the games when the performances are good, so let`s focus on what is important, which is the quality of our performance. Last week we had 75 per cent of the ball and could not score so we know we need to use the ball better, in a more efficient way.’

Making the trip to the Stadium of Light, Sunderland are propping up the table but Wenger also knew it wasn’t as simple as that, especially with Jermain Defoe in their front line.

‘Honestly, you have to admire Defoe for what he has done. You think when a guy like him at his age moves to the United States that it was the end for him in the Premier League but he came back, had a huge impact and certainly it is down to him that Sunderland stayed in the league last year. There must be a big passion behind that. I don`t know Defoe well but he is absolutely amazing. Their main danger is Defoe but they are good on set-pieces with Khazri, and they have Kone and O`Shea who are dangerous on set-pieces as well. They are a team who are in a bad position at the moment, but it`s early in the season. It`s very tight at the top and very tight at the bottom as well, so there are no differences anywhere.’

In terms of team news, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal all featured.

‘From Tuesday night we`ve lost Lucas for a while with an ankle injury. I think he`ll be out for six to eight weeks. We have Giroud back available and Aaron Ramsey will be in the squad. We are almost in November, they have not played so it`s good to have them back. We have a few uncertainties over Walcott, Monreal and Cazorla, but they will all have tests today.’

Giroud and Ramsey were up for selection though, he just hadn’t made his mind up on whether they would feature.

‘They are available for selection. I have to be a bit cautious, especially with Aaron Ramsey, because he has not played at all yet. He has only had one week with the team so I will be a bit cautious with him.’

Having mentioned that Lucas was out for between six to eight weeks, he went on to say.

‘Yes it`s very frustrating because he worked very hard to get there. Of course he is absolutely gutted, because it`s an injury coming from nowhere, and a stupid one, because it was a deliberate kick. It`s a similar tackle to the one from Xhaka against Swansea, but there was no red card. But the red card would not have helped Lucas. What is most important is that he`s out for six to eight weeks.’

Ending he explained that Walcott didn’t have an illness, it was a slight hamstring issue and he was up for testing ahead of the game so a decision could be made, but in any event he expected him available for Tuesday’s Ludogorets clash.

He also confirmed Nacho’s issue was muscle tightness.

There were also questions about Santi Cazorla and whether he’d be available.

‘When Santi is out we miss the pass from deep midfield to high midfield, security on the ball, getting out of pressure. When we are getting closed down, he gets you out of tight situations and creates openings for the team. There is as well a good understanding between him and Mesut Ozil. Against Middlesbrough, people said ‘Santi did not play`, but I believe we had enough domination, enough quality to win the game on the pitch, and that`s where we have to find the solution even when Santi is not there. No matter how big Santi is, and God knows that I rate him highly, we have as well drawn and lost games with him as well. We have to find a solution with the players that are on the pitch.’

Arsenal Blogger
Join The Vital Debate