Sunday, March 23, 2014
Wenger backs Gunners to respond against City

Wenger backs Gunners to respond against City

Arsene Wenger says his team were a little uncertain during their 2-0 Champions League defeat to Napoli, but says they’ll be fully focused on Saturday when they travel to face Manchester City.

At 0-0 with less than 20 minutes to go it looked as if everything was on track for Arsenal to finish top of their group, but a goal from Gonzalo Hig-cry-in meant they needed to score to finish first.

In the end it was another late Napoli goal that added to the nervousness, and Wenger admitted his team were left a little unsure by the situation on the night.

“We prepared well and were concentrated but we were a bit in between ‘do we attack or do we defend’. It is difficult to cope with that problem.

“In the second half, I felt that our legs went a little bit and Napoli were sharper physically than us. Saturday was on our mind, we knew to come to Naples would be difficult.

“We have done our job now we will give absolutely everything on Saturday morning.”

The result means Arsenal face one of 5 tricky opponents in the round of 16, but the boss is hoping for a bit of good fortune.

“Of course to finish second makes the potential draw more difficult, in the last four or five years we have had very difficult draws, so maybe this time we will be more lucky.

“But if you look at the teams who are potentially there, at least we know we will have a difficult draw.

“On the other hand, we have now qualified for a 14th consecutive year for the last 16 and maybe number 14 will bring us a bit of luck.”

Not quite sure what luck he means, perhaps they’ll draw out Accrington Stanley instead of Real Madrid, but whoever it is, we’ll just have to get on with it.

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65 comments

  1. League has to be our priority this year, without doubt our best shot at silverware. Hopefully continue our good league form after the blip at Napoli.

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    • I totally agree with you. I don’t think we’re equipped to fight on two fronts this year (as good as our midfield choices are).

      I won’t mind if we got out of the CL as long as we continue our good form in the league.

      Might be a blessing in disguise.

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      • While I agree our depth is lacking a bit to realistically have strong showings on both fronts, We just qualified from the toughest group to the round of 16, there’s no reason at all to say we should give up CL right now… Let’s at least wait till the first leg is over.

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  2. Be nice to kick some Citeh butt on Saturday.

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  3. Hindsight is always a revealer… no? lol, i for one will stay positive.

    two things, the team picked tonight was capable, regardless of the substitutions made (or not made)unfortunately we lost. No point trying to ”over” analyse the game.

    second, it might have gone under the radar but i noticed we have lost that clinical edge (even prior to the Everton game) and we are actually going through a down turn in form. Masked by our position in the league i guess….

    all said and done, i feel we are still equipped to get a result come Saturday, as long as we keep our nerves (and Sagna re-emerges as the bionic man!).

    here’s hoping we get PSG come the draw on the 16th and if not as long as we avoid athletico we’ll be fine ;).

    UTA

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  4. Bayern was Man City’s Lord Mayor’s Show. Saturday will be, you know, after it.

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  5. Since the “same group/same association” rule applies for the Round of 16, we cannot be drawn against Dortmund, Chelsea, or Man Utd. That leaves Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona as our possible opponents. At this stage, any seeded team will not be an easy game. But personally if I could choose, I would like to see us play against PSG or Atletico Madrid and avoid Real Madrid, Bayern, and Barcelona at least until the quarterfinal.

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  6. ONE WORD.

    .SAGNA.

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  7. I’ve been so positive for months now but tonight we lacked the mental strength again. We played for a fucking draw when we had them by the balls. We had total control and we just time wasted into a nightmare. The only excuse for that is that we don’t think we are good enough to go all the way and prioritised. Wankers. I feel cheated.

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  8. To be the best you have to beat the best, I say roll on Barca, Bayern or Real Madrid

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    • Completely agree don’t buy into this seeding nonsense if we’re good enough we’ll win. simples.

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    • Yes, but it would have been better to face Schalke, Olympiakos, Galat, etc. first and then the best. I’m excited but long odds ahead. The team just isn’t clicking.

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    • bring on real, hell yeah…..

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    • Even when you beat the best, you still might not be the best.
      For me, some flukey wins wouldn’t make it less fun.

      I hope we’ll get either Aletico or PSG because Feb/March is usually our make-or-break month in all competitions.

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  9. This is being realistic rather than negative but it’s hard to envisage us coming away from anything at the Etihad. Their form there is always sensational meaning it would be a difficult task at the best of times, but instead it’s coming at a terrible time for us. They’ve had the luxury of an extra day off and in any case rested all of their best players against Munich. They still managed to beat Munich which will have given their club a massive boost, and they’ve managed to give the returning David Silva some game time before they play us. Momentum has swung nicely in their favour.

    We played near enough our strongest team but got caught out and have now surrendered first place in the table which will leave the mood slightly frustrated and dissatisfied in the dressing room I’d imagine. But we have to dust ourselves down and try and get a result in the most daunting fixture in the epl just 2 and 1/2 days later.

    The only thing that gives me hope is that despite losing, I don’t think this game drained us nearly as much as the game in Dortmund did. If we come away with any points from the Etihad it’ll be a massive bonus but it won’t be the end of the world if we lose and we’ll have a nice rest before the chavs come to the Emirates. COYG.

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    • This team has shown twice this season how it deals with defeats. Last night our minds weren’t in the game because we thought we were through and we were thinking about Man City on Saturday. The Petro-dollars United may be in awesome form at home at the moment but we already beat Dortmund at home already this season. Have some faith! Come on you Gooners!

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  10. Tbh I am concerned about city game..

    They used their second string yesterday and we ours first that already look jaded. Plus they are having a sublime season home.

    That’s why our selection didn’t make sense today.. If we were not trying to go for goal could we have used Walcott, bredtner and monreal atleast?

    Our team looked really slow today.

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    • We’re through. Shut up.

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    • It was our to lose, then we got nervous.

      Remember the Bayern away last season or Milan the previous. They got nervous because it was theirs to lose. We went their with all to win.

      City won in Munich also (mainly) because of that. Bayern’s not used to this kind of situations where they have all to lose and face an embarrassing comeback (this time by City).

      And the PL this season is OURS TO LOSE? Surely?

      So, a dose of perspective is good for everyone. We are still far away from being the best in the PL yet. Let’s focus on consolidating that position. PL is our childhood sweetheart. European is sexy and one-night-stand kind of fun.

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    • Have to say I was surprised wenger hadn’t brought on walcott, who is perfect at counter-attacking football, for giroud.

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  11. It was one of them games were u don’t know weather to defend not to lose 3-0 or attack as normal, so not to worried about the performance and you get who you get in the next round not many bad teams in the last 16 of Europe, hopefully the players are not to tried of down for city game and at least get a draw

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  12. Problem here is we’ve been setting such high footballing standards recently and tonight was a new low so pardon the outpour and over-dramatization. i’m sober now it was a bad result. end of. teams have that every now and then you know.

    How Fans are so negative you’ll think we’re 9th in the league and just lost to newcastle at homs the other day lol s

    we have a good thing going in the league let’s not give pundits something to smile about. gotta keep the strong form going!

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  13. Is he referring to Henry when he says that “maybe number 14 will bring us a bit of luck”?

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    • Or, like Ramsey in 2013, Theo’s going to have his breakthrough year in 2014.

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      • Theo’s the best judge of Theo’s ability!

        Sometimes I find myself struggling to understand what Theo really means.

        Stab home a few goals on Saturday and then say what you want, Theo.

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  14. There is really no point in worrying about februarys fixtures just now.Concentrate on the games as they come.We shall not face a better side in the round of sixteen this year than we did in the last two years.The potential to progress is still there.For now we must worry about city away

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  15. Just read on the independent ‘runners up spot in group F complicates the question of whether Arsenal can go on and win the competition itself’ yes, because topping the group would have meant safe passage to the final escorted by exotic bellydancers who would feed you grapes and shit.

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  16. Regardless if we finished first or second in our group we would end playing one of the big teams in the quarter-finals. Might as well take them on in the round of 16.

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  17. New contract to Sagna please

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  18. Hope poldi’s return to the squad against city to hammer paintingmon in the goal

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  19. I miss Bacary Sagna!!!!

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  20. Keep calm and love arsenal …we have the toughest fixtures of all teams ryt nw so it meant losing one game and drawing another …so am glad that the losing parr is done..arsenal are human after all!! nw we awaken again like after the manu game…..i have a feeling we will surprise haterz on saturday!!!! gunner4life

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  21. City will be hugely tough, but whatever happens we’ll still be top of the league come Sunday, so any points gained will be a huge bonus.
    Also I’m not one to moan about refs usually but I thought he was absolutely shite- didn’t favour either team but ruined what could have been a very good game by blowing for every little foul. Arteta’s second yellow was absurd.

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  22. Thought it was a physical, niggly match. We were perhaps a bit exposed down the flank and their pressing high up was effective. They deserved to win, however I always felt we were capable of turning up our performance a few notches if the situation required us to win

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  23. Ahh the No.14
    My favourite.

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  24. I bet UEFA pits us up against Madrid, what with Özil and all.

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  25. At this stage, I don’t think it matters much whether we topped the group or not. The best team will win the CL. Arsenal is the best team and we should not fear any team. Instead of Wenger hoping for luck, he should say “my team is good enough to beat any team we draw” If Wenger, as a comondo in chief is in doubt, what happens to the troops? Believe in your team Wenger. If we are to win the CL, we have to beat any team.

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  26. I feel that we have lost some of our incisiveness in the last few matches. Our ability to grind out a result and our position at the top of the table is compensating for that. To beat the best teams, the team needs to be playing at the top of their abilities but in the match against Everton and today they lacked that special something that we saw earlier in the season. AW needs to find out how to get that back. Trying to defend goes against the nature of this team and so the sooner we can get back in the “zone” the better we can beat the likes of City and Chelsea. We are like a F1 race car that is a bit out of alignment I feel. Perhaps fatigue is getting to the players.

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  27. Well… he backed us to respond after the draw against Everton too.

    This is a poor result and we have thus far tripped up on the first two of our 4 test albeit in perspective at least we are through and still with 5 points gap in the Premiership.

    City at home will be tough particularly with the extra day for them.

    Which was why getting all 3 points at Everton was preferable.

    Still no point crying over spilled milk. City next. Let’s hope Wenger can get it right this time. 6 points from the next to games will bring it all back.

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    • no one will credit us till we win the title. Even if we beat both manc and chelsea they will talk about the real test in january when FA cup takes place and after one more real test builds up in Feb . It will go on till we clinch the title.
      So just credit the side and believe in them they have not let us down so far why the fuck are we feeling low.

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    • P.S. Napoli along with Galatasaray is the worst of places for away teams. Napoli fans rob thier own players at gun point( its always like that there) . And then displaying Maradona flag in stadium like they respect them.

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  28. Come on boys. We drew Everton which was a neutral result for us we are thru to the last 16. Why r some of u making it out to be like we just lost both games.. lighten up. Its all good. If we draw city, I would be happy too. Who knows, sat might be the Theo show

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  29. U gooners are negative as hell! We wernt that bad yday. Weird circumstances last night. I know man city are a good team but at the end of the day were top for a reason. Things we have done this season as a team have worked. So lets keep the faith. Were more than capable of getting points away from home. COYG

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  30. Too bad we lost to napoli,but I think olivier giroud should seat out against man city & gimme B23 he’s sharper,can run with the ball,good in one on one & can shoot.cos our attack is dead with that french hansom boy..

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  31. Stupid Wenger doesn’t want to win champions league… He just want to qualify for it…

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  32. I think Wenger is dropping hints to UEFA on how he wants the draw to be lol coz there better be “luck” involved hahaha

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  33. We lost yesterday but we have to be honest. Napoli were pushing very hard and they were pressing us very much. It was a very big surprise that they could keep up that high tempo until the end. After first half I was sure that we would win. Napoliplayers were running as if they had to fight for their life. Until the first goal we were massive in defense (except the situation with WS and when the leftback went through our defense).

    The game against City will be very important but we can make it.

    I don’t care which team we draw but I hope that we will never have Kassai as a referee again. Arrogant asshole. How many fouls were made by Napoli in the first half?!? And how many yellow cards did they get? And we shouldn’t forget about the foul against Flamini in the first half maybe in the penalty area our outside.

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  34. I am still wondering what our best Xi is this season? Last night was an extremely difficult game to prepare for, mentally more than anything. Hoping for a trip to Paris, weakest of the teams and shortest distance to travel. Hopefully have new striker by then? (big fan of Giroud by the way)

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  35. i think we couldv got the same result resting giroud AND ozil and playing bentner walcott instead, the last thing i want to see is that we fail to top the group and see tired legs on saturday, we tare typically quite jaded after a wednesday fixture and thats normally against lesser teams, saturday is crucial if we are to assert ourselves on the rest of the league and have them kraping themselves when they hear arsenal are cominng to town, lets hope wenger injects something into the players in the next two days, i am quietly unoptimistic, but i hope ozil turns it on

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  36. I guess by luck he means we face Barca without Messi, Neymar and Cesc or Real without Ronaldo, Dimaria, or PSG without Zlatan and Cavani, or maybe we face Bayern again. Nobody wins consecutive CLs and Pep’s bayern should be relatively easier than Heynckes’ bayern?

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  37. Not really worried about who we face in next round podolski Walcott potential new arrivals should be firing in time for them biggest concern is man city Saturday they haven’t dropped points at home scoring plenty last night we had one shot on target and looked very leggy going in to the festive period will be extremely happy if we still top at Xmas but very concerned 3 point from next two games will make me happy

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  38. When we have a six goal lead in the second leg can we put frimpong on to dench that cunt who plays for real Madrid??

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