7th March 2016: Wenger on team news and growing pressure

Welcome back. Arsene Wenger held his pre-Hull press conference this morning, revealing the latest team news, as well as discussing the growing unrest among Arsenal supporters following a feeble run of form that has seen us fall eight points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City.

But first to availability for tomorrow’s FA Cup replay against the Tigers and the boss hinted at a strong selection for the game, whilst providing updates on the fitness of Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech. He said:

We lose Coquelin from his bad tackle on Saturday and everyone else looks available. I have to see how everybody has recovered today but overall we should have the same squad that went to Tottenham plus Alex Iwobi will certainly be added to the squad. Petr’s scans were better than expected, but it will still be four weeks for him. So after the international break. Laurent will be short for Hull. he has a chance to be available for the weekend, but I think even for then he will be short.

Nothing surprising in all of that and considering the Cup now appears our most realistic opportunity to secure silverware this season, I suppose the game takes on added importance. But more on that in tomorrow’s post when I’ll be playing Arsenal Manager again and trying to guess our starting XI, so tune in.

On to the swirling sh*tstorm engulfing London Colney at the moment and particularly the manager’s office. There have been numerous stories over the last week or so about Arsene’s future, with one paper going as far as to say the boss will be asked to leave if we fail to beat Hull tomorrow.

Then there’s rumours of legendary ex-players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp all supposedly being lined up to step in if the club decide to make a change, ignoring the fact all three of them have zero experience of top-level management (New York City doesn’t count). Anyway, the boss was inevitably asked about his future and pressure from irate fans and here’s what he said:

I feel privileged to have the confidence of the club for such a long time. On the other hand, I work seven days a week with full commitment. I’m not part time and since I have been here I have given full commitment and that is all I can do. I always have the same pressure, which is the same pressure I apply to myself. After that, people talk and you have more people talking than 20 years ago and more opinions. That doesn’t change the pressure. The real pressure comes from your desire to win the next game and that is the only one that matters really. I do my job and one day someone will replace me. That is part of life and as long as you have done well and given your best [that is what matters]. That is what I try to do. I try to do my best and leave this club in the best shape so the guy coming after me will have good potential to work with.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time we’ve heard these words from Wenger and they probably won’t be the last. He’s in charge and he’ll make the call on when to call it a day – that much is pretty clear. Whether that’s healthy or not is up for debate but it is what it is and unless results continue to disappoint, nothing will change at least until the summer.

If I were to guess though, I’d say nothing will change at least until the end of Arsene’s current contract which expires in May 2017, at which point, we may have just won the treble. Unlikely of course but the point is that trying to guess what the world will look like so far down the line is a fool’s errand. Just look at Leicester.

A bit short but I’m afraid that’s where I’ll leave it.

Back pre-game tomorrow.

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