Date: 28th October 2016 at 10:52pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger’s pre Sunderland press conference ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light this weekend also featured questions about Safe Standing and Mesut Ozil.

With the issue of Safe Standing never far from the headlines with a large chunk of fans wanting clubs to look into rail seating that would give them the choice of seated or standing areas, the clash between fans at the London Stadium between West Ham and Chelsea in midweek has served to catapult the issue back into the headlines.

Asked about this incident, and his wider thoughts on standing areas being reintroduced into games, he explained about midweek firstly.

‘I`m surprised even more than disappointed, because West Ham is usually a very strong fanbase, very motivated and as well we are not used, in England, to face these kind of problems anymore. Personally I am in favour of the resurgence of standing opportunities behind the goals and that is not a very good advert to come back to standing opportunities for people in the stands, so I am surprised. Hopefully West Ham will get rid of the problem very quickly.’

Wenger also admitted that with him in favour of standing areas coming back, scenes like those would damage the argument of fans, but he didn’t believe isolated incidents would see games being played behind closed doors.

‘Yeah, of course. It gives an argument to people who are against it. No. There is nothing more dull than that. I prefer not to play than playing games behind closed doors.’

As for his support of standing areas, he went on to say.

‘I feel the closer you are to the positions of the players, the more passionate you are about it. As well because it would allow lower prices because you could get more spectators inside the stadiums, and maybe a more passionate atmosphere.’

And overall he ended by saying that people shouldn’t blow an isolated West Ham incident into something it wasn’t.

‘I don`t believe there is a problem with hooliganism in England. You cannot say that one minor incident, I heard about 200 people, is a general problem in the country.’

As for Mesut Ozil with ongoing contract negotiations, Wenger also explained that they continued to progress nicely, but he did have a few thoughts about the Sunderland match as well.

‘I try always to learn and if I have one quality, it is that I try to learn from everything. Every year I learn things, more or less. I think what we learned last season is that a team like Leicester can win the title and only lose three games. Nobody could have predicted that before the start of the season and that is why it will be very tight again this season.’

So moving onto Ozil.

‘There is nothing really concrete enough to talk about, but it is moving along. We have a big squad, you know. We have a big squad and I believe a competitive squad is where the competition is fair inside the squad. If you have too many, there is no competition because some players will never play. If there`s not enough, there`s not enough competition so it`s detrimental as well. We have opted for a short number and quality, that disrupts less the way we play football and the technical stability.’

There was also praise for his opposite number this weekend.

‘David Moyes is an experienced manager who has 15 seasons in the Premier League. I think he will adapt to the strength of his team and organise it so that it defends very well and can catch us on the break and take advantage of situations where they have set-pieces.’

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