Date: 12th December 2016 at 11:30pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger covered quite a few non Everton related topics in his most recent pre game press conference and here’s what he said.

With his Arsenal specific and Everton team update comments dealt with elsewhere, as is usual, Wenger fielded wider footballing questions based on other games and the comments of others and one of the first topics to come up for debate was Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola talking about his desire to have the opportunity and option of using up to six substitutes across a 90 minute period.

Now I haven’t actually seen his comments in full, so for all I know he could mean six across the entire game, three per half, or even the ability to make three substitutes and then bring those that you took off back on.

All I’m sure of with all the talk of game changes thesedays is that eventually to protect players they’ll be wrapped in cotton wool and only allowed five minutes at a time with a maximum of 20 minutes if some people get their way.

Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media, Wenger explained that six wasn’t really for him.

‘Six is maybe too many. We`ve had that debate many times in Europe. You don`t want to stop the flow of the game too much. We thought about it. When you play extra time in the Champions League, we had that debate and it`s not easy because you have to reduce the substitutions then. You cannot have six substitutions.’

Extra time does allow the possibility of adding a substitute number but that has also been spoken of before, especially for sides who have used their maximum and a player gets injured or is clearly below par with cramp and what have you – so that’s not beyond the bounds really, but as Wenger rightly points out, how often would you then see a third of the team switched.

‘We see it in pre-season games. When you change player after player, sometimes you sit together before the game and say, ‘If we make the changes let`s make two by two or three by three`. He has a point. It`s good to think about it but it really has to be a bit sophisticated to improve it.’

With recent Football Association attacks from former chiefs in recent days, and ‘elderly white men’ headlines, that obviously featured especially with the Government now piping up about the subject.

‘My reaction is that football and politics should not deal together. Football is a very special activity that should be ruled by football people. Our target is to be adult enough to rule our own activity. I don`t agree with that. When you look at the history, when sport was linked with politics, it was not always for the benefit of sport.’

Wenger was also a little non plussed on the ‘frustrations’ being aired because whilst he knows there are issues in the game, the driver is always ‘how do England do’ more than anything else.

‘I don`t really know what their frustration is. Football is a sport that has values. You are journalists that love sport, I`ve worked in sport for many years and what we all want is that the values of our sport are respected. I`m not involved in how to manage a federation on a daily basis. I don`t know how difficult it is. Apart from the fact that England has not won the World Cup or the European Championship, I don`t see that there is a crisis in this country.’

Manchester City being hammered by reigning Champions Leicester City was also a topic, but Wenger went the clever road.

‘It looked like Leicester had come back to their old selves. They had a strong start – when you`re 2-0 down away from home after five minutes, you know you have a mountain to climb. That can happen to anybody.’

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