Southampton v Arsenal

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Press conference

Wenger - This is the most mature Jack I’ve seen

The sight of Jack Wilshere in full flow is always a thrilling one for Arsenal fans - and we were treated to another masterclass from him on Thursday night.

The England international scored his first goal of the season against BATE Borisov and impressed with a dominant showing against the Belarussian champions.

Arsene Wenger was delighted with how Wilshere performed - and said he expects the midfielder to be challenging for a place in the Premier League now.

“You will see more of him because he had a little fracture [before] the start of the season, but now I would not even say he is coming back - he is back,” the manager said.

“The next step is for him to be competitive in the Premier League and to fight for his place in the team. He will get games, he will get the opportunity to show that Jack Wilshere is back.

“I would say this is the most mature Wilshere I have seen, in the game and outside the game. He is not excessive, he has taken a distance from the pressure that was always around him.

“He is a special talent  and since he was 17 all the attention in the country was on him. He has gone through huge disappointments, but now he is a father and a happy father.

“You can see he thinks with a different perspective and I personally feel this is the most mature, balanced Wilshere I have seen.”

Press conference

What does the boss make of our packed schedule?

We kick off at Southampton on Sunday roughly 62 hours after the final whistle was blown against BATE Borisov.

Our December schedule is pretty packed - Thursday’s win was the second of nine matches we’ll play over the course of the month.

What does Arsène Wenger make of that?

on kicking off at midday against Southampton…
Yes, but we had that last week. I have nothing against the fact that we have to do that, as long as our opponents have the same recovery days. That was not the case last week and will not be the case again. Between three days and five days is a big gap on the recovery side. If we have to play every day I don’t mind as long as our opponents do as well.

on if he’s spoken to the Premier League…
No, but I think there is a job there to respect the fairness of the competition. If you look at it, I think many teams don’t fight on an equal front on the recovery side.

on if he feels a disadvantage…
What I would like is that the teams who have tight schedules are faced with the same problems. I don’t mind, I can understand what we have to play all the games, you just want to play teams with the same problems as you.

on if he has to pick team up given performance v Man United…
It was a difficult defeat to take. In football when you should win the game, you want to take the points. All the numbers went for us and the result went against us. That is always difficult to accept but we have to go into the next game and respond straightaway again. 

on refusing to rule out the title…
I just said that at the moment we have different worries than the title. After such disappointment, you have to think about winning the next game. We are too far from the title at the moment to speak about the title. It’s not realistic. Let’s try to win our next game and over a longer distance see if we can come back.

on if anyone can stop Man City…
Shakhtar Donetsk! Man United have an opportunity on Sunday. 

Press conference

Wenger - The reasons behind Debuchy’s resurgence

Mathieu Debuchy crowned a convincing performance with a fine opening goal in our 6-0 win over BATE Borisov on Thursday night.

After an encouraging start to life in north London, the France international has seen first-team opportunities curtailed in recent years, largely due to a string of injuries. 

Arsène Wenger is impressed with the way in which Debuchy has handled those disappointments - and is pleased to see the 32-year-old impressing on the pitch again.

on Debuchy’s resurgence…
Yes, because he’s mentally strong. I’ve said many times in this job you can never give up, no matter what happens for you and always be ready in case you’re needed. Not many can do that, but Mathieu can do that. 

on whether Debuchy has a genuine future…
He is under contract. That’s down to his performances now and I opened the door for him many times because he didn’t play and because he has Bellerin in front of him. We have as well Ainsley now who can play right and left, but I consider him like anybody else and I must say I have a huge respect for his professional side and how much he did fight to come back to the top. He’s a tough, tough guy. Tough worker.


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