Arsene Wenger's press conference yesterday ahead of this weekend's home game against Southampton provided enough material to make up for the dearth of Arsenal news for the past two weeks while the international break lasted. He never disappoints when he has a microphone (or a bank of them as in this instance) stuck in his face. As usual he shot from the hips.
He modestly played down talk of his contract extension beyond 2014 just a few hours after Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis publicly championed same,
'I have two years to go. What is important for me is Southampton and I think I have shown my commitment to this club in the past...At the moment I am not in the mood to think about the long-term future. We want to do well this season, that's all...
One doesn't have to look too far into the response to that question to find the real answer to that question. "I'm an Arsenal Man". That says it all. When the time is right he'll renew his contract. Any other answer right then might have drawn more criticism amidst the recent uproar about the club's inability to deal effectively with player contracts considering that most blame him for this. He's still got two years to run. A lot has been said in recent times about the best time to start negotiating players' contract extensions in light of the likes of Walcott and RVP whose contracts were allowed to enter its final year. He's sensible enough to realise his own contract situation can not take center stage right now.I am an Arsenal man. I think I have always shown that. I have to consider if I do well or not...."
It was inevitable that he'll face questions about Sagna's public dissent last week when he told a French newspaper about his concerns about Arsenal losing its best players season-after-season. As he is wont to do, Wenger refused to criticize the player publicly and went so far as to assert that the report was not a true reflection of Sagna's love for the club. This I found a bit curious considering that Sagna himself had confirmed to the club that the published report was a fair representation of the interview he had granted L'Equipe.
Most importantly though, he used the opportunity to read the riot act to the players,
“I believe any player or any employee always has to defend the company he works for.“And if he is not completely happy with it, then he has to go somewhere else..."I discussed this here. It's simple logic really. Whatever misgivings an employee may have about his employer, public criticism should never be an option. That's straight out undermining your employer. Sagna has been a good servant of the club and if half the team had given the total commitment he goes into each game with during the time he's spent with us, trophyless will not be a synonym for Arsenal FC. That's why I'll hate to see him attract the ire of the fans like RVP did after he exited the club because of the circumstances under which he left. Players come and go at each club all the time, the fans understand that. The manner of exit though can destroy any legacy the player may have left.
Anyway, football is back tomorrow, I mean the real deal and we line out at home against Southampton. Diaby was declared a 50-50 at the press conference yesterday to reiterate what had been said earlier about the injury he picked up on international duty not being a serious one. But Wenger went on to say he won't gamble on him because of his injury history. We can safely assume he won't be in the squad tomorrow. No disrespect to Southampton but I think we don't have to risk such an asset in the long term to get the required 3 points. So we can expect to see Ramsey or Coquelin fill in that spot.
Sczezney is back and despite Mannone's best efforts with three clean sheets in three games, my guess is that Sczezney will walk right back into the team and pick up his shirt. The results during Mannone's time in the squad will do a lot for his confidence and he will just have to be patient and bide his time.
Walcott missed Monday's game not due to injury but because of a virus. He will be assessed by tomorrow to determine his fitness levels ahead of the game tomorrow.
Okidoki now. Have to go but will be back tomorrow.
In the mean time, you can go ahead and cheer, Its Southampton at home tomorrow at 3pm!
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