Arsene Wenger in snippy mood ahead of Fenerbahce clash
Adding to Gunners’ woes, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for three months with ligament injury
HIS TEAM will need some fight inside them tonight when they run out in Turkey against Fenerbahce, and Arsene Wenger has tried to set an example with a spirited defence of his transfer policy. "If we do a transfer, we will announce it. We always inform you. As for the rest, you have to leave us to do our own things,” said Wenger, when asked by reporters if he would beef up his squad in the next fortnight.
The Arsenal boss has been sharply criticised by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew in the wake of the Gunners’ £12m bid for Yohan Cabaye – not for the offer itself but the timing, coming as it did on the eve of the Magpies’ clash with Manchester City on Monday.
But to the disappointment of the attendant press pack, Wenger was in no mood for contrition. "There is nothing to explain," Wenger retorted when asked for an account of the Cabaye bid. "First of all, you don't know what we have done, you don't know if we did bid and you have come to a conclusion without knowing everything that has happened.”
When reporters kept on at him, however, Wenger snapped: "I won't explain to you what happened. It is not down to me to explain to you everything I do. It is impossible… it is quite amazing that all of the people don't know and yet they always have opinions about things they don't know.”
Warming to his task, Wenger then reminded reporters of some of his past achievements in the transfer market. "I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers. If you look at the players who play tomorrow [Wednesday], they are top quality players, and you should never forget that."
The fans won’t forget it should the Gunners slump to defeat in their Champions League play-off clash with Fenerbahce. But the good news for the Arsenal faithful is that Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal all travelled with the squad to Turkey having passed fitness tests.
The bad news, however, is that scans have confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be sidelined for at least three months after suffering a strain to his posterior cruciate ligament during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa.
Wenger admits tonight’s game in the Sukru Saracoglu stadium is of “vital importance” to Arsenal but he's confident his players will pass their Turkish test. "We respect Fenerbahce highly but in the history of our club we have gone everywhere, all over, and always had a desire to win and that is what we will do again,” said the Frenchman.
But Fenerbahce scent the blood of a wounded animal and manager Ersun Yanal had this message for Arsenal: “The pressure is on – I trust my players and I think we will finish the first leg with the advantage.” ·