Leicester City v Arsenal

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Press conference

‘Yes, I’ve had offers. More than I expected!’

Arsene Wenger has held his penultimate press conference at our London Colney training base.

The boss was quizzed about his next move in football after leaving us at the end of the season, and as ever was asked for his thoughts on a range of other issues.

Read on for some of the key quotes from Wenger’s media briefing: 

on his abiding memory of Sunday’s game…
The goodbye, but first of all our game, the quality of our game. It typified our home season a little bit, that was outstanding, and the number of goals we scored. We didn’t score too many goals away but overall we scored 72 goals and we still have two games to go. Going forward, we played well. Also the fact that it all went well, from the sunshine to the final moment I left the pitch, it all went well. I had a good opportunity to say goodbye to everybody.

on whether he’s surprised to hear speculation about Claude Puel’s future…
Yes, but I don’t know if that’s the truth or not. I think he’s done a good job there and hopefully he can keep it.

on whether anyone on the board has told him who his replacement will be…
No.

on whether he would approve of Enrique or Allegri…
I know these guys are very competent and all good names. I will be like every Arsenal fan, I will wait until they’ve made a decision and then afterwards support the guy in doing well.

on if boss thinks the job suits an experienced coach or a younger one…
Look, I said I don’t want to come out publicly on that. If I say I go for this one, or this one, it puts the guy under pressure straight away. It’s better I stay neutral. If the club wants my advice, I will give it to them, but it’s better I don’t talk publicly about it.

on if he’s had offers yet…
Yes. More than I expected!

on how he’s dealing with the offers…
At the moment I focus on doing my job well. I didn’t analyse anything or consider anything. I want to work well until the last day of my contract, and then after, I will rest a little bit and go from there. What is for sure is that I will be active. My brain demands work and is active. I have a huge experience of management and people management. Overall, I will work. What will I do? I don’t know yet.

on if offers are from English clubs…
I don’t want to go any further on that or into any detail at the moment.

on if the boss will manage or if he’ll go to Fifa or Uefa…
Honestly, I don’t know. I have to think about that. I like green grass and I like to walk on it every morning. I don’t know if I’ll continue that, it’s possible.

on not having a point away from home in 2018…
Yes, it’s true, I want to win the last two away games. But I must say it was a bit special circumstances with the fact that we played in the League Cup final, the Europa League quarter and semi-final and away from home I rotated the teams to prepare for these cup games. Overall I would say I want to finish with two wins and that’s why I will go to Leicester tomorrow giving absolutely everything to win the game.

on his legacy continuing with youth team success this season…
Yes, that’s part of our qualities and of our values. That will continue. Arsenal is a very popular club, very respected all over the world. Part of that respect is down to the fact that the youth get a chance.

on his future…
I don’t want to work in the media!

on if he sees himself managing an English team…
At the moment that is difficult to me. I don’t envisage that at the moment. And I would like to finish one of my last press conferences by thanking David Dein, who brought me here. He had a special vision for the future, for the Premier League, and as well for me as a foreign manager, he gave me a chance when nobody knew me here. I would like to thank him. He was always a consistent support through my 22 years. He deserves a special thanks from myself because he’s a special man.

on if announcing a replacement before the World Cup is a good idea…
Yes, of course. I think the earlier, the better. People want hope and they need as well to prepare for the next season. I must say the squad doesn’t need much, because there’s a huge potential in there. There’s a good spirit, a good basis. It needs two or three additions and this team will compete for the championship next year.

on if he sees there being a lot of spending…
No, I don’t think so. It’s as well difficult nowadays because when you see that defenders go for £70 million, what is much and what is not much? Nobody knows anymore.

on players referring to him as a father figure and if they will feel after-effects of him leaving…
No, I believe that you are here to guide the players to get to their best. Some of the players, like Jack Wilshere, I’ve known him since he was basically 15 years old. Of course that builds a special relationship because you see them going from kids to men. You help them to go through some very difficult situations. Jack Wilshere has gone through being a superstar to suddenly being out for a year. At that age it’s absolutely difficult. They need as well some help.

on the criticism of Leicester and Puel...
I don't know what's happening inside the club, I just know that Puel is a competent manager. I had him as a player and he's a bit similar to what I do, that means he is a fighter and is ready to swim against the stream. That tenacity will get him through the difficult period.

Pre-Match Report

Leicester City v Arsenal: The Brief

We can’t finish anywhere but sixth. Leicester are likely to finish ninth. So, to all intents and purposes, Wednesday’s game is something of a dead rubber.

The real story, of course, is Arsene Wenger.
 
After an emotional farewell to our home fans on Sunday, the boss has two away trips before he waves a final goodbye to our club.

And then what?
 
“After Huddersfield I will take a few days to think about all that, how I feel really, what my deep desire is, the challenge I want next,” he told Arsenal.com.
 
“I’ve made one decision until now, that I will continue to work, that’s for sure. My brain is active and it would be terrible for me not to work. In what capacity? I haven’t decided yet.
 
“For me, my life since I was a kid has revolved around football. I think that will continue. I have interests in politics, economics because I studied that… but after one or two days it becomes boring for me. My first reflex in the morning is always, ‘Is there a game to watch tonight?’.
 
On Wednesday (and Sunday) he will have a game to watch. And, typically, the boss wants three points as badly as ever.
 
Stay on this page for a comprehensive pre-match briefing ahead of the Leicester game. Watch some classic goals, hear more from the boss, get the latest team news and test your knowledge.

Wenger on leaving

ONE TO WATCH… JACK WILSHERE

Jack Wilshere’s future has been up in the air for a while but the boss is convinced he will stay at Emirates Stadium.
 
“The latest conversation I had with Jack looks positive for the club,” he said. “I am not involved in the negotiations anymore but of course I am still in touch with Jack. If he wants my advice, I will give it to him. I’m convinced, like I always was, that his future is here.

“It was always my wish [that he stays] and I think it will happen.”

Jack Wilshere in training before the Leicester City game

Jack Wilshere in training before the Leicester City game


TEAM NEWS:

ARSENAL: Ozil (back), Elneny (ankle), Ospina (rib), Koscielny (Achilles)
 
LEICESTER: Diabate (illness), Dragovic (shoulder), Simpson (groin), Huth, Chilwell, Schmeichel, Okazaki (all ankle), Ndidi, Amartey (both hamstring), James (Achilles) 

Mesut Ozil

LAST TIME WE MET:


THE FINAL WORD… ON LIFE AFTER ARSENAL

“I need to organise my life a little bit, because at the moment I’ve organised the lives of others more than my own life.
 
“I’ve neglected many of the aspects of my own life. Also, I would say that a lot was organised for me because I have a structure around me that has done so well for me and taken care of me.
 
“The examples are when I travel, whether I will need a car or a cab, all the details… whether I will need dinner somewhere… I never had to do it myself, just to say what I wanted to do. I will have to organise my life in a different way.
 
“I didn’t have to do a lot, and now I will have to do it myself!”

Matchday Show: Leicester (a)

Gallery

The boys train in the sun before facing Leicester

Jack Wilshere in training before the Leicester City game

The first-team squad were back in training on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday evening's trip to Leicester City.

Our club photographer was at the session too, and sent over these pictures.

News

Follow Wenger's penultimate game LIVE with us

Matchday Show: Leicester (a)

Arsène Wenger takes charge of his penultimate game as our manager when we travel to Leicester City on Wednesday evening - and you can follow the match LIVE with us on Arsenal.com.

Tune in to the website from 7.15pm (UK time) for the following from our Premier League match: 

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up and audio commentary from 7.45pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip, extended highlights and a full match replay will be available from midnight on Wednesday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!

Press conference

Will we see Mesut Ozil again this season?

Mesut Ozil may have played his last game under Arsene Wenger.

The Germany playmaker sat out Sunday’s win over Burnley with a mild back problem and he is touch and go to make an appearance against either Leicester or Huddersfield.

At his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger was asked if Ozil’s season is over. “Maybe,” the boss replied.

“He was in yesterday [Monday] for treatment and he still has a back problem. Even at half-time in Madrid, he had that problem. I think it’s highly unlikely that he will play again before the end of the season because he doesn’t train.

“Football players [do not choose when to play]. I can understand that because you [the media] are all positive spirits who see everything negatively, but when he’s injured, he’s injured. 

“It looks like that sometimes, when a player can cover the pain for one game, but then after that there’s a recurrence of inflammation. That’s what happened to him. He wanted to play on Sunday. It was an enjoyable game to play but at the moment he’s injured.”

Ozil’s future at Arsenal was secured in February and the boss believes he will have a “huge influence” when he’s fully fit.

“The club made a big investment, basically because the player was free as well and the club would have to buy a player [to replace him],” said Wenger.

“When you look at the number of transfers for these kinds of players, they are huge. I think it is a good investment and the player is top quality. He has gone through a difficult patch now because he is always in and out but once he is back on a consistent way he will have a huge influence.”

Press conference

Team news: Cazorla and Elneny updates

Santi Cazorla will not return for the first team this season.

The Spain international had a light session at Emirates Stadium last week and took part in training at London Colney on Saturday and Tuesday. But he will have to wait longer for competitive football.

“He will not be ready to play in the final game,” confirmed Arsene Wenger.

“We basically have four players who are out if you count Cazorla, Koscielny, Ozil and Elneny. Everybody else will be checked because we had a day off on Monday.

“Will I leave one or two out? It’s possible for tomorrow because we play again on Sunday and some of them played in Madrid on Thursday and then on Sunday. I will check medically today.”

 

Team news

The latest on Laurent Koscielny’s injury

Laurent Koscielny leaves on a stretcher

Laurent Koscielny will miss the World Cup and probably the rest of this year - but he should make a full recovery from his Achilles injury.

Our vice-captain is having surgery after collapsing in agony during the first half of our Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.
 
It’s a dreadful blow for the France defender, even if Arsene Wenger believes his long-standing Achilles issues will be fixed by the surgery.
 
“Koscielny is of course devastated because of course he has surgery,” said the boss. “That means he will be out for six months. You will not see him before the end of December, or maybe the beginning of December at best. It’s certainly the final year he would play for the national team, but you never know. He now misses the World Cup as well.

“But the recovery will be full because the advantage of the surgery is that it heals the inflammation, which people don't do usually because the fact you move always... sometimes people have surgery when they don't need it and they think, 'Oh, it has healed' and it has healed basically because they didn't move and it healed the cause of the inflammation. On that front, it is no problem [for Koscielny], he will cure.
 
“We always try to be positive. Overall, you can only try to support people when they suffer because of course they suffer from a situation like that.
 
“What is unusual in his case is that he had a tendon issue for a long time and usually they don’t rupture. That is a bit surprising in this case, where people with inflamed tendons don’t rupture, but in his case it went. I don’t know why.”