Wenger on the North London ‘balance of power’, Kane and support

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Arsene Wenger insists that Arsenal have no reason to fear Sp*rs ahead of the North London derby, despite last season finishing behind their neighbours for the first time in his tenure.

Unsurprisingly, the ‘balance of power’ narrative came to the fore when quizzed by the media at today’s press conference. Here’s what the boss had to say about our local rivals, his message for the Gunners fans and why last season was disappointing, but not that disappointing.


On the derby…

First of all, it’s always the pride involved, the desire to beat your opponent, like all the neighbours in the world, there are always fierce derbies. As well to keep your nerve and focus on the game, have full commitment but as well be lucid enough and calm enough to focus on the game.

It’s one of the fixtures [I look forward to the most], yes. It’s very important for us, we want to win. But basically, as well, in the table we have to make some ground up with the top teams. At home we have been very strong and our home strength will certainly be vital in where we finish at the end of the season.

On whether Arsenal are underdogs this weekend…

No. Not at all. Tottenham is a good side but we have the quality to win this game and that’s what we want to show.

On a plan to combat Harry Kane…

To keep him quiet, yes. We have no fear, we are focused on nullifying their strong points and expressing our strong points.

On Arsenal not being the top dogs in North London…

We’ll see at the end of the season. The real motivation for me is to get to the maximum with the potential we have in the team. The target is not to compare to Tottenham.

His message to the Arsenal fans…

Support the team, stand with us for 90 minutes. That’s what you want from your fans and I’m confident that’s what they will do.

On there being an overreaction to Sp*rs coming above Arsenal given the FA Cup success…

Yes, we won the FA Cup and made 75 points. Our overall achievement was quite positive even if there was s disappointment for us not to finish in the Champions League for the first time in 21 years. I don’t know [if there was an overreaction], it’s difficult for me to assess that, I don’t know.

On the fans uniting behind the team…

In this fixture, maybe it’s less important, because it will be natural for them.

On the concept of a ‘balance of power’…

There’s only one way to answer that question and it’s on the pitch. The conclusion of people will be the comparison of the two performances on Saturday. We have a good opportunity to show we are the strongest, so let’s do it.

On whether the players were particularly disappointed to finish behind Spurs…

It was not because they finished below Tottenham, it was because they finished outside the top four. That was a big disappointment. Let’s be honest, it was the first time in the history of the Premier League that with 75 points you’re not in the top four, you can check that. I still feel it was very harsh on us because it was by one point. Overall, people forget that we have won the FA Cup in a very stylish way playing against Man City in the semi-final and Chelsea in the final. When a team is close to a Double, usually they make it and we finished the season in a strong way. Overall, it was a disappointment to finish outside the top four.

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38 Comments on "Wenger on the North London ‘balance of power’, Kane and support"

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Jimbo jones

When a team is close to a double???

The Limp Bar

He was talking about Chelsea.

Mein Bergkampf

I love the constant need from players and managers to express that 75 points was actually more than the previous year. The year the wheels came off Chelsea, Man City and Untited were appalling, Spurs could’ve won the league at one point (?!) and Leicester did (???!!!)

Good to know that in order for us to succeed the other big teams around us have to royally screw up. And Wenger knows it.

IamaGoober

Kind’ve bothered me that he said ‘they were so disappointed about not making the top four.’

Why wasn’t it ‘they were so disappointed they didn’t win the title, or get close to winning it.’

Cool Dude Reg

What are you struggling to understand James? They were close to winning the double, they weren’t at full time in the FAC final tho 🙂

Pedant

He makes good points about the 75 points. Also we can beat them and if he has been thinking on negating their strengths then that is encouraging.

Would love us to win and show them that we are strong.

yen

“If he has been thinking on negating their strengths then that is encouraging.”

Encouraging? More like “bare minimum” for the job he does.

yen

Ok, that apparently came out wrong. Wasn’t being negative, just tried to point out that “thinking on negating opposition’s strenghts” is something you would expect from any manager, and especially one managing a team in the best league in the world.

clins

He is such a good orator keeps on talking about not getting into the top four for the first time in 21 years or so . But is that what we should be aiming for , we should be at the very least challenging for the title which we havent done in 10 years .been spending millions for past few years and is now aiming for the champions league , what the actual fukk . no wonder sanchez and ozil is leaving.

Danny

We’ve got the scum on Saturday and you’re droning on about this shit. What sort of fan are you?!

If you can’t get up for this one you might as well just give up.

clins

yeah i’m talking about this shit because it is happening and i care about it. just because it’s not pretty doesnt mean we can close our eyes and pretend its not happening.

by the way for tommorows match most likely result would be draw or defeat , not because i can read the stars but “since 2014 wenger has only managed to beat spurs just ONCE ” and that was a league cup match . just goes on to show how far wenger has fallen down

Kwame Ampadu Down

Pedant..from 13-14 to 15-16 we went from 4th to 3rd to 2nd, while our points total went down both times. Arsene said that was progress and people said he had a point. In 16-17, our points went up again…but we dropped to 5th and he makes that sound like an achievement too. He can’t have it every way. I know he has to say these things to present a positive front but that doesn’t mean we have to believe him.

Bob\'s Mexican Cousin
Bob\'s Mexican Cousin

Here’s hoping that Kolasinac makes Kane cry

kafkush

what the f**k did he say about a double? Yup, talking about Chelsea.
But is that the barometer of our achievements? To prevent a team from doing the double?
How we have fallen. Sucks.

The Limp Bar

No no, he’s saying team close to achieving a double normally get over the line in recent history, so it makes us beating them, in the manner in which we did, even more of an achievement.

Andy Mack

The point was that we won the FA Cup and that we beat some top teams to get there. In no way did he imply any special pleasure or achievement in beating Chavski, just that it wasn’t easy as they had the extra incentive…

John C

We also had a bye all the way to the semi’s and were also very lucky to get away with beating City as the linesman ruled out a perfectly legitimate goal.

Beating non league Sutton United and Lincoln City really isn’t the barometer of whether we’ve had a successful season

Danny

You trolling?

harish

As Blog said in last week’s Arsecast Extra, ‘…they haven’t fucking one anything…..’

Amen.

harish

Won, not one.

Goonerink

I wish that point statistic had been spread about at the end of the season, it is a big ommission from pundits plaudits.

allezkev

There’s no doubt that that mob from Middlesex have a very good side, but as it has been mentioned numerous times, they’ve won nothing and my guess is that that will again be the case this season.
Wenger may not like to admit it but we’re the underdogs going into this game.
Just as we was the underdogs going into the Man City and Chelsea games last season at Wembley…

*boilk

I this this one: The target is not to compare to Tottenham.

Thaatarsenalguy

“stand with us for 90 minutes.” Tell that to the stewards mate

bendtnerschristmastree
bendtnerschristmastree

Tell that to Sterling mate

Loose_Cannon

I think the point statistic is a bit of a red herring. Our target isn’t top 4, it’s to win the league and 75 is generally too low to that.

As far as a balance of power shift is concerned, I’m mixed. It’s true that currently Sp*rs are closer to winning the league and champions league than us atm. But you feel that not only do they have to contend with players leaving for bigger clubs, they have to contend with their manager leaving as well. Can’t see Poch doing a Wenger or Fergie. At the same time they haven’t won a trophy for almost 10 years (remember when that was us?) and haven’t won the league for over 50! So it’s immature to talk of a power shift.

GoonerN16

@cannon
And premature, re power shift..

Loose_Cannon

I really meant premature lol

Gooner57

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you get 75 points or a million points, if you are 1 shy of what you need you didn’t get enough.

The fact we needed so many points to get 5th place shows how competitive the league has become, not how good we did last season.

Tim Schneider

And it’s not bad luck either when you lose to shit opposition and especially on the first day of the season every year.
But I promised myself not to get angry about that anymore ??

Cliff Bastin

At the moment teams know that if they harass Xhaka there’s always a chance to create some havoc. I’d partner Coq or even Elneny with Ramsey for this one. Really hope Xhaka develops the composure of Pirlo some day but right now he leads the league in terms of misplaced passes.

Jacob

The Xhaka thing is slightly misrepresentative. Second behind Xhaka in that list of players with the most misplaced passes is De Bruyne, who has probably been the league’s best player. Xhaka has attempted more passes than most, and his team mates don’t give him many options.

He’s been sloppy, no doubt, but our system does him no favours and it really expresses his weaknesses. Xhaka had one of his best games against spurs last year, I’d keep him in, play 3 in the midfield (Jack please) and play Sanchez and Iwobi either side of Lacazette.

Loose_Cannon

That’s not too dissimilar to what I’d do, but it means dropping Ozil which Wenger simply won’t do if he can avoid it.

As for comparing Xhaka to KdB, I think Xhaka is (or at least, was) top of the list of players who’ve made the most mistakes directly leading to a goal. Meanwhile KdB has created almost 3 times as many chances. Truth is it’s hard to compare them because Xhaka is nominally a defensive midfielder and KdB more of an attacking mid. KdB’s passes will generally be harder to make, but Xhaka is more likely to make a defensive mistake in his position. Saying that, KdB has attempted and won more tackles than Xhaka interestingly enough….

Tim Schneider

I do like him but he is so much worse than last season. After the FA Cup final I was hoping he would build on that form, together with Ramsey…

Gervinho

Spurs supporters: I feel bad for you.
Arsene: I don’t think about you at all.

COYG

Skinnyarse

COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!

Santori

We need someone to show the sort of gumption Sagna had when Spurs were telling us to mind the gap and we were 2 nil down thanks in part to everyone’s favorite villain Adebayor.

Spurs are ahead of us in CL and playing well.

Its a must win.

Billy Ripp

id rather us do the double over sp*rs than finish 4th to be honest. its been to long since we’ve give them a good hiding.