Date: 17th December 2016 at 1:03am
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Arsene Wenger has held his pre game press conference ahead of the Manchester City clash this weekend and a number of topics have been covered like normal.

Beginning with his team news update, Wenger told the Official Site as he met with the media that pretty much it was the same squad this weekend as we had for the midweek disappointment against Everton – so obviously he’s looking for better from each of them.

‘For the City game we should have approximately the same squad who went to Everton. Nobody’s back – Ramsey`s not back. He is the closest to coming back and we have some knocks and bruises but they should all be available again.’

Pressed on the word ‘closest’ Wenger went on to explain that he should return to normal group training next week and he also revealed that Danny Welbeck wasn’t far from a return to training now either.

‘Danny Welbeck is one week away from full training. But of course it will take some time for him to be fully fit because he hasn`t played for a long, long time.’

Of course there were going to be questions about the defeat to Everton – our third of the season and first in the Premier League since the opening day.

Wenger tried to look at it a different way by saying that it served as a timely reminder that we always had to be focused in games and it should serve as a motivation going forward given the disappointment.

He also said that people who like losing in football never last long and he knew the group were suitably hurting at the full time whistle – as was he.

‘In my job, people who like losing – believe me – they don`t last a long time. Yes of course it disappointed me. We looked in control and I believe we were in control even though we lost the game. When you analyse it, they had a good response between 20 and 45 minutes, but in the second half we were completely in control of the game and we lost it on bad luck. I believe because it was not a corner and some decisions when you watch the game again were questionable. That is just part of it.’

Wenger went on to say.

‘Could we have won the game despite that? I have to say yes. That is where we have to be objective and analyse it. We can only master what we an influence ourselves. That is where maybe we have to analyse that well and not look for excuses, but really see where we failed to win the game.’

Questioned further about his initial thoughts on the performance of the referee, Ronald Koeman’s reaction to those words – Wenger gave a little nugget of information about journalists themselves.

‘Yes, I don`t agree with the performance of the referee against us on Tuesday night but I didn`t say a word about it after the game. It`s the old trick that the journalists, young journalists who are very ambitious, do. They take a lie into the press conference question for the next manager and hope he responds to it. If you read well what I said after the game, you will see that I didn`t say a word about the referee.’

Moving on, he went on to say it was now about bouncing back and that was all that concerned him.

‘What is important is that we respond straight away. I feel we had quite a good game at Everton but were not repaid. Maybe we did not manage to transform our chances into goals, but the attitude was there. We want to go into the next game to respond straight away with a positive result.’

Turning questions to the opposition, Arsenal have a decent record against City – six games without defeat – and obviously Wenger was looking forward to making that seven, but he wanted it to come with a return of all three points and he confident we could that once again.

‘The key to big games against City is to defend well together and not be timid every time you get the ball. We have to have a go and try to attack, because that`s part of our philosophy. Overall that`s what you have to do but you have not to forget as well that City`s team is very strong going forward, maybe even more now with Pep Guardiola, so we certainly have to focus on defending well. What you want from the top-level games is that it responds to the level of expectation quality-wise. I hope that both teams achieve that. I think it will happen because I`m a positive man and I always expect big games to be something special. I expect a special performance and for it to be special for people who love football.’

Wenger will be meeting Pep Guardiola for the first time in a Premier League game following his arrival at the Etihad Stadium over the summer, and with City struggling Wenger was asked about their inconsistency and he didn’t have an answer giving their playing squad.

‘I don`t know why they`ve been inconsistent. Honestly, it`s not my main subject and preoccupation at the moment. I believe that in the Premier League every game is difficult and every game has its own difficulties and uncertainties and every game is a fight. The teams who are exposed in the Champions League, like they are, like we are, are a bit more exposed during this period because they played in midweek, we played in midweek as well at Basel.’

Wenger went on to say.

‘We`ve had three away games out of four. And I believe we paid a little bit the price at Everton like City must do sometimes when they go to a Premier League game, because everyone physically is at his top. I expected that Pep would bring his philosophy through and you have to accept that he tries to do that,” added the boss. “I respect the fact that he firstly has the philosophy and wants to play football that I respect. You expect him to put that print into his team.’

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