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Wenger on Giroud, Gerrard and abuse

Olivier Giroud’s chances of starting. The potential advantage of finishing second in our Champions League group. The atmosphere at Emirates Stadium.

They were just three of the topics covered during Arsene Wenger’s press conference.

Scroll down for some of the key quotes from Friday’s media briefing.

on whether Giroud has earned a starting berth…No, it’s just game by game I choose a solution. I’ll make a decision for the next game. I thought in this game [against PSG] that his physical presence could give them a big problem at the back so I decide game after game. We need everybody on board now and it’s just the next game that matters.

on whether it won’t be so bad to finish second in Group A…Well, yes. You don’t know, but I wanted to finish first because you feel less guilty if you have a bad draw than if you finish second. But it’s not over. Ninety per cent now, I think that Paris Saint-Germain will finish top of the group on this famous rule of away goals that I am against for a while now.

on Steven Gerrard’s retirement…For me he was a huge player who stops his career a bit surprisingly, because I thought he had two or three more years in his legs. He had such a huge physical talent at the start that I thought he will play until 40. Maybe he has some joint problems, only he knows that.

But overall, you can just salute a fantastic player who has shown that he had the qualities that every midfielder dreams to have. He could score goals, he could cross the field, he could shoot from distance, he could cross the ball, he could dribble, he had pace, he had commitment, motivation. It’s a massive player, Steven Gerrard. And on top of that, he was loyal to Liverpool. So that’s as well a quality that you don’t find a lot nowadays.

on if the crowd at Emirates has been subdued…I always maintain the same opinion about that. It’s down to us to create the momentum in the crowd. It’s not down to the crowd to create that. The crowd is behind us. We want to come back to our fluency, to the speed of our movement. I agree, it was not really in our team in the last two or three games.

on historical abuse at Crewe and his concerns…First of all I was surprised and amazed that that happens in our game. Secondly I think we try absolutely everything inside our club to keep that out of football. For the rest, you have just to trust the inquiry to do its job and punish people who didn’t behave well.

on how damaging it is that trust between coach and player may now be doubted…I do not think that from one example you can question the hundreds and thousands of coaches. It happened in schools, it happened in colleges, in the French church it happened as well. People complained 20 or 30 years later. What is good is that it comes out and people are not unpunished and conscious that there are things that cannot be accepted.

on Martinez’s new deal…He’s our No 3 at the moment but he has the potential to become No 1. That’s why we extended his contract. He learns a lot at the moment with Petr Cech and David Ospina. For me he’s certainly the future goalkeeper at Arsenal. The problem in his job is you have to be patient. When you see that Petr Cech is 34 and still plays… when you’re a young goalkeeper you need to be patient.

on whether it’s harder for a young goalkeeper to get a break…It’s harder because you can only play in one position. People want you to be perfect as soon as you come in and you don’t have time to make mistakes anymore. Every mistake a goalkeeper makes is noticed because most of the time it’s a goal.

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