Date: 18th October 2016 at 1:47pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger was holding his pre Ludogorets press conference earlier today, and here’s what he had to say.

Speaking to the Official Site ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League Group A tie, the latest fitness news on Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey was obviously a topic up for discussion.

The first thing Wenger confirmed was that the group of players available was the same as the Swansea City clash as we hadn’t suffered any additional knocks or issues.

‘For tomorrow we have a similar squad to the one that faced Swansea. There are no injuries and everyone is available.’

As for the injured duo in particular, he ruled them out of this clash but he was pleased with the progress they were making, and he expected both to be back sooner rather than later now.

‘They continue their preparation as they have been out for a long time. I think they need sharpening up now but they are not far away.’

In wider questions ahead of the game, he went on to say about Giroud.

‘He is an important player in our squad. The squad is not 11, we are 25 players and everybody will contribute at different parts of the season. What sometimes looks permanent in October is completely revolutionised in December. We all have only one target: to be successful together, no matter who it is.’

The red card shown to Granit Xhaka in the last match also featured in the questioning.

‘It is one red card. We are not responsible for the red cards he got somewhere else. Yes, he made a foul that could have got him a yellow card, that could have got him a red card and it was not meant to hurt anybody. It was just a late tackle to stop the counter-attack that has been punished. He is intelligent enough to analyse that as well.’

Even though it’s a Champions League encounter in midweek, title challenge hopes in the Premier League continue to be asked.

‘It`s difficult to say, to predict. But what you see after eight games played ? it`s tight. That shows that it`s down to how well you can play in every single game to keep up there and to fight for the championship. We have to show that we can be consistent, I think the team is focused, the team wants to play the football we want, they believe in what we do and with our good ingredients after we have to show the desire, the hunger in every single game.’

He also discussed player contract negotiations.

‘It was always difficult. Honestly, what has changed is the size of the numbers but the difficulty was always the same. It`s always difficult to keep the good players because they are wanted by other clubs and it`s normal as well that the players try to get the maximum out of their negotiations because they have 10 years to play at the top level if all goes well. So it has always been difficult, you know, just the numbers have changed.’

No doubt the next few hours will see other questions covered as well as more of his press conference filters through.

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