In what appears to be a fairly obvious attempt to rouse the teams that will be facing Man City and Liverpool this week, Arsene Wenger has questioned teams who don’t give their best right until the end of the season.
The Arsenal manager clearly watched West Ham go through the motions against Liverpool on Sunday, and knowing that we need one of the teams above us to drop some points, has tried to sting opposition into action with some choice words.
“Some teams turn up, some teams are on holiday,” he said. “We had to fight very hard at Stoke and Southampton, but some teams once they are safe have a breather which didn’t happen 10 years ago. The league has changed mentally. Morally it has changed a lot.
“It’s very difficult to plan. You just want your team to do well and to focus completely until the last. I think to be professional is to do your job properly until the last second of the season.
“It looks at the end of the season that many teams who have been assured to stay in the league have just released their focus.
“I think to be professional is to do your job properly until the last second of the season. It is vital.”
It’s worth pointing out that his comments could apply to tonight’s opposition, Sunderland, while there was certainly some of the usual intensity missing from Stoke’s performance at the weekend, so it works both ways.
For more thoughts on this, read today’s Arseblog.
Arsenal play Sunderland tonight, while Man City host West Brom. On Sunday Liverpool welcome Middlesbrough to Anfield, City are away to Watford, while Arsenal take on Everton at the Emirates.