Arsenal face a tricky test against West Brom this weekend and Arsene Wenger has been addressing the press ahead of the match. He has aimed a shot at his critics, by stating that nothing he does is good enough anymore. The Frenchman has been facing heavy scrutiny in recent weeks and it is clearly getting to him. He was asked what would constitute a successful season and he was careful in his response.
“Success, it’s not down to me to judge that. I’ll leave that to you,”
“Our job is to do as well as we can until the end of the season. We want to play in the Champions League next season.”
Although the Arsenal boss will be criticised once again for mentioning a top four finish, he is correct in his assessments. The club need to make sure that they qualify for next season’s Champions League for growth purposes. They are facing a summer of upheaval and they need the allure of Europe’s premier competition to attract the calibre of players that they will be targeting. It is a tough Premier League this season and it would be an achievement to finish in the top four.
The injury news ahead of this weekend is positive for the club, as they could be boosted by the availability of three players who have been struggling with knocks. Mohamed Elneny could be back in the squad after recovering quicker than expected from an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went off with an injury last weekend and more will be known about the seriousness of it after he has completed various tests. Kieran Gibbs is also uncertain and facing a battle to be fit in this to feature against West Brom. Aside from these three, the squad will be the same as the one that was available for Lincoln City.
Arsenal have struggled to prevent injuries in recent seasons and that has been one of the reasons why they haven’t challenged for a league title. Their medical department has been widely criticised and it is encouraging that they have relatively few injuries heading into the run-in. Although the injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs are not serious, they are doubts for this weekend. If they do miss out, then they should have more than enough to deal with them. The update on Elneny is great news, as he is returning much sooner than was originally expected.
There were stories in Spain linking Hector Bellerin with a move back to Barcelona in the summer, but these have been denied by Arsene Wenger. The Spanish full-back has a long time left on his current contract and the Arsenal manager is confident that his future is at the Emirates Stadium. Although that is the belief within the club, Bellerin will always be linked with the Nou Camp given his ties with the Spanish giants.
“We just extended contract.
“He has an unbelievable number of years to go. It’s very difficult to take these things seriously.”
Wenger has done the right thing to deny these rumours at the first opportunity as Bellerin has an important role to play in the club’s future. However, considering his own future at the club is undecided, it is difficult to put too much weight on his words. If he leaves his post as manager, then the situation will change and the 21-year-old might be more open to a move. Also player power has a massive role to play in the modern game and if the Spaniard wants a return to Barcelona, the club may be forced to sell him.
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