The team news ahead of the Sunderland game.
“Vermaelen is out with his ankle, we thought it would be a question of days, it’s a bit longer.
“Koscielny had a reassuring scan last night, he have to make test today.
“Gibbs is out for 4-6 weeks.
“[Ramsey and Coquelin] Both should be available.
“Gervinho is back, he is back in training today. We gave him 5 days off and he is back today.
What Wenger will do if Koscielny isn’t available.
“The options are restricted, I will have to be creative, but we have Ignasi Miquel, we have Sagna who can play there and Jenkinson on the right, but we have very good hope that Koscielny will be available.”
On Jack Wilshere and the first time Wenger saw him.
“At a very young boy yes, he had a special talent of course, but when you see a boy of 16 years of age, you never know how he will develop.
“Lets not forget that he is only 21 now and he starts his career really, because he has been out for 17 months. So the influence he has already today on the England national team is absolutely something fantastic. Lets just hope that he has no injury problems any more, in the near future.
“For the rest I believe he can handle all the rest, he is fit on the ground, he loves football, he loves to play, he loves to improve, so that’s very good news for England of course.”
On Financial Fair Play, and its detail once carried out.
“I’m personally for financial fair play in the way that the companies and the clubs respect to manage their clubs with their own resources, and for the rest I’m for freedom, how you use your resources inside the club. I’m not in favour of a Brussels type of society and controlled from centralised complicated rules.
“I believe that every company should live with it’s own resources and for the rest, leave it to each company to manage their company like they want to do it.”
Wenger’s opinions on Jack Wilshere’s ‘over-commitment’, as Jamie Redknapp called it. Is it a concern for the future?
“No. Not at all. I believe that you make your career, and you are a bit special with your qualities and that’s one of the qualities that Jack has, that commitment, that desire to win and you shouldn’t take that off him, because he will not be the same player any more.
“You can only be a great player if you respect who you really are, and that’s what makes him special as well.”
Wenger’s thinking on Vermaelen travelling with the Belgium squad.
“Yeah, we have good relations with the Belgium team and their doctors. We send the players because they wanted to see what he really got, and they sent him back straight away because they saw he couldn’t play.”
On why we’re equal-top on just second-half performances.
“First of all, our technical quality sometimes demands patience because the teams fight very hard to stop us from playing and in the second half sometimes its more difficult for the opponent teams to stop us.
“As well I believe many times, there’s a nervous side in our game that gives our opponents chances at the start of the game and we put ourselves in trouble sometimes because we don’t believe enough in our qualities and start a bit, edgy.”
On the Youth Development future Head Coach.
“It’s 1 and a half years [away]?”
“We are starting a process of advertising the position, and we’ll choose the best possible person because that’s a very important department in our club, with regards to our philosophy and the way we run the club.
“The youth department is vital for us, for the future of the club and I’ll personally make sure it is a person with all the qualities to replace Liam.
“Maybe Patrick Viera can be a candidate if he wants to do it. All the former players are of course candidates, but what for me is the most important is the competence of the person, and the experience in this kind of department, because it’s a very specific and special job. You need to be a guide for the technical policy from 6-18 years of age, and of course experience plays a big part in that.
On the widespread Match-Fixing in football.
“It was absolutely a surprise, by the number of games that have been fixed. For me it’s a real tsunami and a real shock. I can’t accept it.
“I always was a believer that there is a lot of cheating going on in our game and that we are not strong enough with what happens. Nor with the doping, nor with the corruption of the referees, nor with the match-fixing, and it’s time that we tackle this problem in a very serious way, and that people who cheat are punished in a very severe as well.
“Sport is full of legends who in fact are cheats. We have a recent example again. We have all that responsibility to fight against that.
“You cannot accept, that somebody who works the whole week, decides to spend his money and go to a game and you cheat him because all is decided before he gets to the stand. I cannot stand up for that, and I think you cannot accept that.”
On Sunderland’s threat.
“You always get up in the north, what you know will hit you. Very committed, passionate performances.
“Sunderland has quite offensive potential because they have bought Johnson, they have bought Fletcher, they have Sessegnon, Maclean who are dangerous going forward. They have now bought Graham in and he might make his debut against us because it’s certianly the first home game.”
On Arsenal’s attacking threat, with Podolski, Walcott and Giroud’s combined 44 goals this season.
“Yes I was not convinced at the start of the season that I would play them all together, but I’m happy that slowly they understand each other well and that we are efficient in goalscoring because in some games we scored plenty of goals, and in fact we scored more goals than last year.”
Jack Wilshere’s potential to be one of the best in the world.
“I believe that you do not want to set any limit on the development of any player, especially when he plays at that level at his age.
“But the most important for me, will be to keep his passion for the game, and keep the attitude of wanting to become a better player. If he keeps these two ingredients that are not always easy, he can of course become a fantastic player. He is already one, but he can become of the best in the world, yes.”
Is Wenger worried about ‘burnout’ with Jack?
“Yes. Because it is not only the physical aspect of it, it is the mental pressure he will be under every time he plays. We will have to manage him well, physically, to be sure that he doesn’t face that burnout.
Will Wenger have to manage him and have chats with Roy Hodgson?
“Yes, I had in fact expected Jack Wilshere to only play a part of the game on Wednesday night, but it didn’t happen. Because of his quality he will be exposed to that, to overuse of his qualities like you can understand that but he has to be managed like everyone else.”
Football clubs can run while bankrupt?
“It is nonsense, because we live in a world where, if you look at Europe, most of the countries are in a different financial position. I believe the minimum we can do in our world is to respect the financial balance.
Is cheating a problem in English football?
“In sport in general, I don’t think at all that it’s a problem in the English game. That’s why maybe it’s a shock for us, because we are all convinced we live in a world here, in England, where I don’t say it’s a perfect world but I don’t think cheating is a problem in England, or match-fixing is a problem in England, at all.
“In fairness I give you some credit for that, because I know that the English media would be very, very harsh against that and people know that as well.
“I’m not sure other countries felt that before [that they were pure of cheating].
“I personally feel that English football is clean. 100%. I don’t think that referees are corrupt. It happened Europe before, that’s my belief that the referees were not always fair. The history, especially in some countries, but you have always to be very cautious, you have your own beliefs and after you have to prove it and that becomes much more difficult.
“I was faced with this kind of problems before [at Monaco], I know what was going on but when people say come on show us the proof, it’s always very difficult to come out with that.
“Well, you know how it is, if you support or manage a club, you spend sleepless nights on thinking how can I win the next game, what kind of team am I to pick, and in the end you discover that is all useless what you do because it’s all done. You feel it’s a waste of time and a waste of energy.
“I discovered it [the match-fixing in France] slowly, in the course of two or three seasons.”
On the top-four race. Will there be another big twist?
“It is possible, and that’s what of course I believe yes. But we are in a position where we do not have to look too much at the others because we just have to win our games because we have to make up ground because we are behind, and therefore we just can focus on to try and win the games.
“No [the gap is not big], not at all.”