Wenger’s Full Post-Villa Press Conference

Q: Was the result more important than the performance today?
A: “Yes, the result was vital today, because we had absolutely to win this game, we couldn’t afford to drop points for two reasons. The first, we are in a catch situation in the Premier League and as well we come out of two massive disappointments. It was interesting as well to see, because we were focused, united, a bit nervous. You could see we played a little bit with the handbrake in some situations. The second goal didn’t come. But as well we were strong because when Villa came back to 1-1 we found the resources and responded again and won the game. Overall, I feel the regret we have is we could have scored many, many goals today. We created unbelievable number of chances but didn’t score. But I’m proud of the attitude of the team, we went through some difficult days, and we got through in a united way.”

Q: How do you assess the race for the top-four with a difficult game at Tottenham next week?
A: “We cannot drop points. I said that many times, after the Chelsea game, and that is what is in our mind. No matter where we go and who we play.”

Q: Have these been the most difficult days in your 16 years here?
A: “I don’t know, but it was the difficult, it’s not the critics, it’s the fact we lost two games. I’m not here to lose games, I want to win football games and what hurts me the most is that we lost against Blackburn here at home, and against Bayern at home and when people come to the Emirates they have not to go away with wins. After that, all the rest honestly concerns me less.”

Q: You lost those games, but they’ve not been good games, it’s been a dreadful few days?
A: “Yes of course, but you do your job. You do your job and you focus on the next game, and try to win the next game and that’s what I did. I am not 30 years, in this job at the top level, and be destroyed by people saying I don’t know what I am doing. Because I would have stopped this job a long time. What is important is we have responsibilities and we have to stand up for it and go in the next game and fight and get the team ready to fight, that’s all.”

Q: You have to put the pressure on Tottenham, and hope they slip up?
A: “We are in a catch up situation, we depend a little bit on the results of the other teams. But last year on our consistency. The key for us is to be consistent, and that’s why today a draw would have been a very, very bad result for us today.”

Q: Some great performances today, notably from Santi Cazorla and Szczesny.
A: “Santi Cazorla played very well and delivered in a game that was very important. He is a great player, what you have noticed already since the start of the season, straight away he has shown he is a great football player and I’m happy and grateful he delivered these two important goals today.”

Q: You played Wilshere further forward today, is that a role you see him in the future?
A: “It gives us a bit more security defensively. I believe he can play a bit deeper but he has a little burst in the final third and still has the quality I think to play in there, but you want him to score goals there, you want him to give assists, I think he can do it.”

Q: Does Diaby have an injury?
A: “Yes. He told me he got kicked on the hip, after he felt his calf. I don’t know how bad it is.”

Q: Has Cazorla exceeded your expectations with 11 league goals this season, joint top with Walcott more than a number 9, or your number 9, Podolski?
A: “I didn’t expect him to score so many goals, no, because there’s still I think 11 more games to go, so he could get a few more. For me he is the complete football player, because he has as well spirit. He did fight until last-minute, he was a bit tired in the end but he did continue to fight. He is a good example to follow, because everyday he is happy to come and play, practice, and when he is on a football pitch he gives you absolutely everything.”

Arsenal Beat Villa to Keep Up Good League Run

20130225-104812.jpg
Arsenal beat Aston Villa 2-1, with a brace from Santi Cazorla. The second of which came just 6 minutes from full-time to the relief of Wenger and the fans. The Spaniard brought his total for the season to 11, the fourth top scorer for Arsenal.

Despite getting the vital three points that would see us gain on those above us and move away from those below us, many were still critical of the way Arsenal played, saying that they still lacked a number of things in their performance.

Getting a goal early on was perhaps the most important thing that happened for us in the game. If we hadn’t scored, chances are Villa would have and we would have lost our confidence. Even by not scoring we probably would started feeling sorry for ourselves again and then all the fans would get on the teams back.

Fortunately this wasn’t the case. Santi tried to play the ball in along the ground to the far-post for it to be cleared straight at him. He controlled it nicely with his chest, pushing it beyond.a couple of defenders before slotting it away past their ‘keeper.

Villa had a few chances but Szczesny who has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks was matched to them. However, midway through the second half, Aston Villa broke on the counter attack from an Arsenal corner and with 4 against 3, Weinneman had plenty of choices. He went with the perhaps, less obvious one of shooting. Luckily for him it paid off but Szczesny yet again failed to save a shot he really should be able to.

The 22-year-old has a lot of learning to do still, but it seems he has become worse. Perhaps a huge knock in confidence? It wouldn’t surprise me with the constant critics of his performances and rumoured replacements.

For someone who was very promising and full of the almost arrogant nature a ‘keeper needs, he has certainly taken a step backwards in his career. Fortunately he’s just a kid in goalkeeper terms.

The defence haven’t exactly helped his cause, with the back-four, and midfield don’t forget, leaving him completely vulnerable at some point during every game.

The passion and commitment from them is poor, the quality in their defensive skills is also poor, and their organisation and structure is more often than not, non-existent.

With no real defensive midfielder, or anyone holding, the back-four are consistently exposed. The Villa goal is a perfect example, but unfortunately one of many every game.

A player in this position is a must-purchase this summer.

The centre-backs have also had a torrid time. It’s hard to nail a single cause or problem, it is just so wide spread it touches every aspect. The bottom line is they aren’t good enough. Vermaelen perhaps an exception, giving him the benefit of the doubt after his outstanding seasons prior to this one. Hopefully he’ll be able to overcome these “nerves” Wenger talks about, and his injury will be completely cleared up. It seems like a combination of these things is having a negative effect on him.

We have also seen in recent weeks, how poor our strikers are. We possess no real threat up front, no one is a concern for the opposition. Our striker doesn’t exactly strike terror in to the opponents eyes like van Persie (sorry), or Aguero, or Suarez and so on.

We need a man up there who can do the business. A Cavani, a Jovetic, a Falcao. It’s unrealistic it will happen, but the reality is it’s what we need.

These are more positions that we need to buy.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to no matter how much money there is if we don’t get top-four.

The attacking midfielders though, they are something to savour. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep them throughout the summer too!

BRING ON SPURS!