A look at Arsenal’s week in quotes.
Following Arsenal’s last minute 2-1 win over Burnley at the Emirates last weekend, everyone was talking about THAT penalty that Alexis Sanchez scored. Even the boss.
“That’s him – surprising!” Arsene Wenger said. “It never comes exactly out of him, what you expect. But he has the nerve.
“This guy is an instinctive competitor and it’s always very difficult to predict what he will do.”
Laurent Koscielny also hailed the team’s ability to dig in and keep fighting until the final second.
“It was hard because we conceded a goal [just after] the 90th minute and we knew we only had seven minutes to win this game,” the centreback said.
“We had one opportunity to get the goal from a penalty and Alexis scored. So 2-1, it’s important for our confidence, to keep our winning run and, with the results of the weekend, it was a massive three points.”
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup clash against Southampton, Wenger once again admitted that he was wrong to push the fourth official, Anthony Taylor, when we played Burnley.
“Yes [I will hold my hands up and admit my guilt]. I’ve answered that in the press conference, there’s not more to add. I’ve been in England for 20 years, I have seen a lot on the bench, as you certainly know. I think if I am after 34 years still in the job it is because I am big enough to stand up for what I do. And as well, I’m big enough to know when I do well and when I do not do well. So that’s it.”
Former Spurs boss, Harry Redknapp, wrote in his Evening Standard column that Wenger’s a manic and Xhaka is an idiot.
“What [Wenger] did against Burnley was unacceptable,” Redknapp wrote. “His players made mistakes, not the officials. Unfortunately for him, Francis Coquelin was clumsy and the referee made the right decision in awarding a penalty. They had been put under pressure by Granit Xhaka, who needs to stop acting like an idiot — how many times is he going to get himself sent off? None of that is the fourth official’s fault.”
Wenger also spoke more on Granit Xhaka and how he needs to improve his tackling after his second red card of the season.
“[I’m] more [concerned] about his technique, I think he’s not naturally a great tackler and in his decision-making I think he is quite intelligent on the pitch. But it’s more the way he tackles that is not really convincing. He doesn’t master well the technique of tackling.”
Pundits also started looking ahead to the FA Cup clashes and Paul Merson, who’s becoming somewhat notorious when it comes to wrongly predicting football scores, reckoned Southampton v Arsenal would go to a replay…
“Southampton will be confident after their phenomenal result in the EFL Cup semi-final,” he said. “They’re already at Wembley and I see them causing Arsenal problems. With that in mind, I see this one going to a replay, a replay Arsenal will not want.”
Wrong again, Mers’.
Elsewhere, former Gunner, Benik Afobe, admitted that he wants Arsenal loanee and best friend, Jack Wilshere, to stay at Bournemouth.
“Everyone wants him to stay,” Afobe said. “Everyone knows how good Jack is. We want to attract good players so we have to keep good players.
“It’s is just about him staying fit and showing everyone what he can do. Hopefully he can keep on doing what he can do.
“I think he would have liked a couple more goals, I think he has been unlucky in some situations. He is working hard every day, he is a top professional, and he has brought some life into the squad, not just on the pitch but on the training ground. He is quite loud and quite funny.
“It shows how far Bournemouth have come bringing these sort of player to the club and hopefully we can keep progressing and getting better.”
Wilshere has 18 months left on his Arsenal contract.