Arsene Wenger has worries ahead of tomorrow’s game against Newcastle.
However, everything is relative and I bet Rafa Benitez wished that his worries were on a similar kind of level.
Rafa has a relegation threatened team, an underfunded squad just out of the Championship, no idea whether any money to spend in January, one point from the last 24, one point off second bottom of the league…
Meanwhile, no doubt Arsenal fans are once again sharpening their knives for Arsene Wenger despite being one point off the top four, through to the last eight of the League Cup, into the last 16 of the Champions League and having won a trophy only seven months ago.
However, two away draws (Southampton and West Ham) in the last two games and before that a 3-1 home defeat to Man Utd despite battering them all the game, all adds up to concerns for Arsene Wenger.
The Arsenal boss says the Man Utd result was difficult to take and Newcastle fans will be very worried that the Gunner may have 33 shots just as they had against Manchester United but with a very different result.
Wenger says ‘Newcastle will want to defend well’ and let’s hope so, as some of the recent goals have seen some feeble defending from Newcastle.
He also has some injury worries and is expecting to be without Walcott, Ramsey and Mustafi, though he says it was just a precaution when he dropped Lacazette to the bench in midweek.
Arsene Wenger at his pre-Newcastle press conference on Friday morning:
“Newcastle will want to defend well.
“I watched them against Manchester United and they were quite dangerous going forward as well.
“It’s a team who will certainly be sound defensively with a lot of experience. They will come and be organised defensively.”
Giroud has scored more goals against Newcastle than any other Premier League club, does that come into Wenger’s thinking?
“No. Every game is different. I believe he had a good game (at West Ham in midweek) and gave a lot. He was a bit isolated on his own in the middle of three centre-backs.
“I said I would rotate up front a bit. We’ve not decided yet what we’ll do (against Newcastle).”
“Mustafi is back in training but I don’t know if he will play. It would be a little gamble and we will see.
“Aaron Ramsey won’t be available, out for perhaps another three weeks, so he is not in contention.
“Theo Walcott has a little groin problem and I don’t think he will be available tomorrow. It’s not a bad one. I think he has a little chance to be available against West Ham (on Tuesday night in League Cup).
“Lacezette recently had a groin problem and I didn’t want to push him too much (so started with him on bench at West Ham, came on in 82nd minute).”
Is converting chances a weakness at the moment?
“At the moment, the difference between the points and domination in games is down to the fact that we have played two teams (Southampton and West Ham) recently who defended really well at home. Especially West Ham. They showed that at Manchester City and against Chelsea.
“Maybe we have to speed up our passing and have more penetrating runs in the final third to create more chances and maybe we also need more support in the box for our central strikers.”
Do players still have missed chances against Manchester United in their minds?
“Yes it still plays on their mind. We need it out of their system. When you have so many chances (Arsenal had 33 shots against Man Utd) and you come out with nothing, it’s difficult to take.
“The best way is to continue to put that behind us and focus on the quality of our game.”