Wenger talks contracts, Vermaelen, RVP & Marseille

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Arsene Wenger has spoken briefly to the travelling English press ahead of Arsenal’s tricky away Champions League tie with Marseille and touched again on the positive news that Thomas Vermaelen has signed a contract extension and the unity it helps bring to the squad.

The Frenchman also reflected on the key to Robin van Persie’s brilliant form, gave an update on team news and offered an insight into the fanaticism that surrounds Marseille.

On Thomas Vermaelen signing a new deal…

It’s a privilege to play for Arsenal Football Club and many players understand that. On our side we are of course happy to extend his contract because he has shown he has the quality to play for us.

You do not often find left footed players who are central defenders. It is important in this position to have a player who has a good first pass with his left foot. He is as well a player who is versatile. You could even imagine him sometimes playing in midfield or even at left-back in an emergency.

He’s a young boy as well. People forget if you take Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Vermaelen they are all 25 or 26-years-old which means as centre-backs they have ten years in front of them.

On the message Vermaelen’s new deal sends out…

Well [it says] that we are very positive. I believe if you look at our strength in depth we have a very positive future. As I just mentioned, our centre-backs are young.

You can also look at the players who are coming through like Chamberlain, Wilshere who everybody knows, Ramsey, Frimpong, Coquelin…we have fantastic young players and many more that you don’t yet know. Overall it is good for the club.

[Vermaelen’s deal] gives to our environment a different message. When you listen to people you think it’s an exodus, when you read about Arsenal everybody is leaving the club.

We are a happy club who didn’t have the start of the season we wanted. Overall the atmosphere inside the club is very solid, very united and very positive. We want to turn the results around. The fact that some players extend their contract with us in this period is a positive sign for us.

On Arsenal’s defence being weaker without Vermaelen…

I don’t know. I believe that Mertesacker had to adjust to English pace and commitment, but I feel in every game he gets stronger. Let’s not forget that we’ve missed Koscielny as well. I feel the defensive frailty we’ve had very recently was more down to other departments in the team rather than our defenders.

On the unity inside the camp…

That’s down to our mental strength. The club has traditionally always shown good strength under pressure. I would just like to say we were under a lot of pressure since the start of the season, but in the big games we always managed to find the resources to respond well. The biggest games we’ve played since the start of the season have been the Champions League qualifiers, certainly recently against Sunderland where we had absolutely to win the game and the game tomorrow.

On the captaincy inspiring Robin van Persie…

He takes his role very seriously, but what is inspiring, touch wood, is that Robin van Persie has been a consistent presence and has not been disturbed by injuries. The biggest problem with modern sport is to be in and out because it takes so much time to regain your sharpness. I think he has scored 27 goals in 34 games – that is absolutely exceptional.

On not being banned from the touchline…

In Marseille you’re more comfortable in the dugout than in the stand!

Team news for tomorrow night…

Gibbs is out with a muscular strain in his stomach – he’ll be out for two weeks. Ramsey is fit. There were no knocks from Sunday and everybody else [not already injured] are available.

On memories of Marseille…

I don’t think I’ve been there since I left French football. I have memories of some big battles there though. When I was at Monaco we always fought with Marseille for the championship and there was massive passion around the games. It is the football city in France and OM [Olympiquede Marseille] is part of the culture in Marseille. The life of every family is really linked with this club, maybe more than anywhere else.

On the importance of getting a good result…

A positive result would put us in a strong position to qualify because you could see until now that there are three contenders, Marseille, Dortmund and us. It will be interesting to see how strong Marseille is tomorrow, because after we play them at home. For us to get at least four points from these two games would put us in a very strong position.

On dealing with the atmosphere in the Stade Velodrome…

I’m convinced that you don’t find a better atmosphere than in Dortmund. It is one of the hottest places in Europe [atmosphere wise] with 80,000 people in the stadium and all positive.

Marseille at the moment are rebuilding their stadium for Euro 2016 so tomorrow night there will be less of an impression of the complete Marseille atmosphere. I think one stand, the one opposite to the dugout, is completely empty at the moment. It will be a little bit of a strange feeling.

On playing better in the Champions League…

We’re a bit less under pressure than in the Premier League where we are always absolutely in need of winning games. We’ve played a little bit with more freedom. This one though is a game with pressure. These two games will basically decide our future.

_______________________

Arsenal 18-man squad travelling to Marseille

Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Alex Song, Theo Walcott, Gervinho, Yossi Benayoun, Francis Coquelin, Andrey Arshavin, Aaron Ramsey, Robin van Persie, Marouane Chamakh

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Seb

Was waiting for a Gibbs injury, was getting worried that something wasnt right after he was fit for more than 3 weeks

Scribblers

I prefer Santos anyway tbh. Always good to have a cliche worthy Brazillian in the side, doing ridiculous things with his weaker foot.

Good celebration after his first goal, seems like a genuinley happy guy thats pleased to be here. And he’s better than Gibbs.

Ace McGoldrick

Good to see the return of mental strength. Long overdue in my opinion

Ace McGoldrick

Players signing new contracts? Not just TV5 then

saurabh

Good catch man.. i was thinking about it myself. Hopefully its our captain fantastic.

RocCityGunner

Park not named to the squad traveling to France…I’m starting to think it wasn’t Wenger who wanted Arsenal to sign Park. So now the manager isn’t even naming him to the squad, let alone playing him. Either that or he is total shite in training.

GunnerDareMacedonia

I think park is left out and will start against stoke on Sunday, RVP will get a breather he will be on the bench . Anyway he will surely start in the CC against bolton.

Goonerific

I noticed it too, I wonder if it was a club signing to get more money from the asian markets. Nice to know our ambition is still intact!

wimbledongooner

he’s can’t try out a new striker in such an important game … as rubbish as chamakh is at the moment.

arseblog

No way will Park start on Sunday.

Frog

You know what? I kind of like the idea of park starting against stoke. Not to sound like a pussy or anything, but I would be ok with not having rvp kicked to shit by those mouth breathing orcs. He( rvp) could use a rest anyway.

Ob1

10 more years of Djourou? Say it ain’t so *passes out*

tobi

where is park? did he not travel with the squad, or is he injured? The guy is quite good in my opinion but i just wonder why all of a sudden, wenger doesn’t seem to rate him at all

Scribblers

He scores plenty of goals for Korea. He scored plenty of goals for a shit team last year, I don’t get it, sure he was a bit malaria against the shrews but the guys just settling.

An we gave him the No9 shirt for cryin out loud, surley now we have a no9 we should through him on for the odd goal.

Mooro

The more I think about the TV5 thing, the happier I get. In and of itself, it’s a fantastic boost, but then it also seems a really smart move as it shows clear intent to others – we have a great player and we’re looking after him and keeping him here. Presumably TV5 got a salary boost as part of the deal and, if he did, I hope it was significant and he’s now the best paid player at the club. Again, it shows an intent – if there is/was a wage structure, we’ll go beyond to keep a player.… Read more »

Belfast Gooner

Where is Frimpong?

Plev

Le Coq hasn’t put a foot wrong yet in my opinion and deserves to be Song’s back up at this point. Out of the two is the more complete player. Frimmers has massive potential but is still so raw. Love his energy though

Scribblers

Frimmers?
I’m staying with Lord Frimpong, or indeed: YOU’VE BEEN FRIMPONG’D

Here's Waldo

The Pongster is what I prefer to call the Frimster.

Pele of Romford

Bac, tv5, mert and santos
Jack, song and arteta
Gervinho, rvp and Walcott /arsh

If you listen to some people you’d think we’re shit.
That team, few games together and Roberts your mothers brother.

adawg

jack, song, diaby …if ur including injured players thats our first 3 in midfield

AZGooner

For all the hate that goes around on Chamahk, watch this video of him (mute the crappy music) and you’ll remember how good he can be for us. Play a 4-4-2 and we’d get the best out of him. He cannot replace RVP up front alone because RVP is too good, but his game is all about headers and setting people up, which is something that we need from our current squad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj9WDEvDkWQ

[…] a struggling start to the season with just 9 points from 10 games, but the boss is hoping we can contribute further to their troubles: A positive result would put us in a strong position to qualify because you could see until now […]

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

“in the big games we always managed to find the resources to respond well. The biggest games we’ve played since the start of the season have been the Champions League qualifiers, certainly recently against Sunderland where we had absolutely to win the game and the game tomorrow.” This is very good. He’s saying “forget the results against Man United, Liverpool and Spurs. (They’re just small clubs and) the games against them weren’t really very important in terms of our overall season” Quite right too. Those games haven’t knocked us out of the running for a European place next year, they… Read more »

[…] a credible team out there playing. There are no fresh injuries apart from Gibbs, who is set to be out for two weeks. The 18 man squad sent to Marseille […]

reminders

Excellent job! Love your post. Goodluck stay humble.

online moderation

Good job. I love your post so much. Break a leg and stay kind.

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