Date: 4th November 2016 at 12:49am
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Manager Arsene Wenger has now held his pre Tottenham Hotspur press conference ahead of the clash on Sunday.

Speaking to the assembled media as he spoke to the Official Site in his pre game press conference, Wenger fielded a number of questions about the game, and how he rated Spurs featured.

‘It is an interesting clash. For us it is a very important game because we are in a strong position in the league that we want to strengthen. Overall Tottenham are in a good position as well, so it is very tight at the top of the league. We are more focused that it is a home game, and whether it is Tottenham or somebody else, we want to win our home games because our position in the league is very important. We go into a period where we play big games and we want to win the big games.’

With home games being played at Wembley and Spurs not having the best record at the national stadium, their struggles came up, and Wenger tried to be diplomatic.

‘I don`t know. I didn`t put our problems specifically down to Wembley. At the time, when we lost it was against Barcelona. Barcelona are Barcelona. We lost one game against Fiorentina as well and we lost a game against Lens too, but the game had less meaning. I`m not sure that we lost because of Wembley. We lost because we played against good teams.’

Pressed further on what he felt their problems were – well that’s not his job.

I don`t know, I`m not a specialist so I can`t give you my verdict on that. It`s not my job to do that.’

A question of whether Arsenal had the mental advantage over Spurs figured.

‘I don`t know, you should ask them that. We try to do as well as we can. At the moment I`m more focused on the fact that this is more than a derby. It`s an important game for us because it`s a big home game and we have an opportunity to show that we have an interesting role to play in this Premier League, and that we can win these kinds of games too. At the moment what is important is that we focus on ourselves, on the quality of our performances. We know that we have done very well away from home, and we can do well at home. We know as well that the success of our season will depend on how well we do at home.’

Wenger was also questioned about players being ‘Plan B’ for him in games, specifically in light of Olivier Giroud coming off the bench in midweek to tie the Ludogorets game up and he dismissed that suggestion.

‘There is no Plan B in any squad, I never thought about my players like that. The team who is the most effective for the next game, that`s what you pick and I consider everyone as a regular player. That is basically what a manager thinks, what is best for the next game. If he is involved in the next game in your mind, he plays. If not then he doesn`t start. He Giroud has shown he is a huge asset for the club and I have always supported him.’

Adding.

‘No matter who plays against Tottenham I have a squad of 25 players who are all top class and I think this game, a game of that stature, is not about 11 – it`s about 25. Everybody is focused, everybody is ready to contribute and everybody`s contribution will count on Sunday. We have show that recently in the games, the players we have just spoken about, Giroud for example, he came on against Sunderland and made the difference. It just shows that everybody`s contribution will be absolutely vital.’

With it possible that Granit Xhaka could make his north London derby debut, especially if Santi Cazorla isn’t passed fit for the game, questions about discipline came up and Wenger stated it was important everybody kept their composure in the game – not just Xhaka.

‘Discipline is important because we want to be effective in all situations we face and in the derby it is important to keep control of your reaction and to have a strong discipline. It is part of the effectiveness in these games. Normally Granit is a very composed and calm guy, sometimes on the field he has a reaction that is a bit impulsive and he knows that. He has to work on that and keep control of his reactions in the game.’

In terms of wider team news, Wenger ended by giving an update on Hector Bellerin, Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs and there were a few issues.

‘We have still some uncertainties at the moment because Kieran Gibbs has been touched on his shoulder and I don`t know how will respond to that. I will see. After, the players who did not travel like Cazorla, Monreal, Walcott – there is still some uncertainty today. The closest to coming back looks to be Walcott. We will have a test with him.’

Bellerin:

‘Hector has a test. I left him behind in midweek because I was cautious with him. We could have basically forced the issue, he could have played maybe in Bulgaria but he should be alright.’

Nacho:

‘He has tests today and tomorrow and then we will decide.’

Cazorla:

‘He is similar, he has not practised yet – he will try to go out today and we will see where we go from there. He is a doubt, yes.’

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