Arsene Wenger ‘amazed’ at speculation over Arsenal future

Arsene Wenger is cutting a lonely figure on the touchline these days. (Reuters)
Updated 28 February 2018
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Arsene Wenger ‘amazed’ at speculation over Arsenal future

LONDON: Arsene Wenger on Wednesday said he was “amazed” at fresh speculation over his future as he prepares his team to face Manchester City just days after Arsenal’s League Cup final humiliation against Pep Guardiola’s men.
The Frenchman has come under sustained fire since an abject display in Sunday’s 3-0 hammering at Wembley but must now lift his team to take on the Premier League leaders on Thursday.
Arsenal’s season is threatening to unravel — they are 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table and look set to miss out on Champions League football for a second consecutive year.
They are out of the FA Cup and will face Italian giants AC Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League, which is their only remaining chance of winning a trophy this season.
Arsenal’s limp display led to stinging criticism from former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville as well as former Gunners Ian Wright and Thierry Henry.
But Wenger, speaking at his pre-match press conference, responded with apparent shock when asked if the result meant his long tenure was now under increased threat.
“I am just amazed that I have to always answer things that are exactly the same,” said the 68-year-old.
“I am here for 21 years, I turned the whole world down to respect my contracts. So I am still amazed that I still have to answer these types of questions.
“My position is my position. Honestly, that’s the last worry I have at the moment. My worry is to focus, to get the team ready for tomorrow’s game.”
The Frenchman defended the performance of his players at Wembley, where several were labelled as “spineless” and a “disgrace” by match commentator Neville as they were shown walking when out of possession.
“You can always get out pictures from a game that justifies what you think, you find in every single game, on both sides, moments where a player doesn’t track,” he said.
“After you have to analyze why, has he made two runs before to go in behind and was exhausted, or did he not track because he didn’t want to? That is different.
“I believe we have to live with that criticism and respond together like we always do.
“We didn’t play against a poor team in the semifinal, we played against Chelsea and we have shown that we can fight. You have to acknowledge as well that Man City are a quality team.”
Wenger’s hopes of avenging the Wembley defeat have been further hit by the announcement that Nacho Monreal will miss the game through injury.
The 32-year-old defender had been one of Arsenal’s better performers this season before a back injury forced him off less than half an hour into Sunday’s final.


Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

Updated 18 February 2019
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Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

  • Reds boss worried about resurgent German giants ahead of second-round first-leg clash.
  • Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich claims Liverpool are the favorites.

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side they will have to be at their very best if they are to beat Bayern Munich.
The Reds head into the Champions League clash as slight favorites after months at the top of the Premier League. But having drawn the German giants in the second round, Klopp has told his players they have to keep their feet on the ground worthy could end up out of the competition before it really gets going.
“It’ll be very tough,” there Liverpool manager said.
“(Bayern are) only two points off Dortmund in the domestic league and have been consistent finalists and semifinalists.
“They’re a world class team but at the same time we’re confident we can cause them problems.
“They’ve got world class players so we know how difficult it will be.
“Everyone has to be at 100 percent otherwise we’ll get nothing from the game.
“Having said that we have confidence we have the ability to hurt them, and it’s up to us to show that.”

After a tough start to the season Bayern are up to second in the Bundesliga. 


Liverpool went al the way to the final last year, before losing to Real Madrid. But the momentum created by that surprise run has been maintained in the Premier League and another trip to the Champions League knockout stages.
Bayern currently lie second in the Bundesliga and are starting to look like their old levels agains after a tough start to the season. For Klopp, who managed Dortmund before arriving at Anfield, that could spell trouble for the Reds.
“After six years of pretty much dominating the league it was clear this year was going to be a tougher situation.
“It’s actually still the same, being at the top of the league and still in the last-16 of the Champions League.
“It’s a normal situation with a high quality team.
“Munich’s situation, from my point of view, makes them even more dangerous and even more of a threat from my point of view.
“This is a competition, in Europe, where they always do well.”
For the Germans the role of underdogs suits them perfectly. At least that is according to Joshua Kimmich.
The defender said: “Liverpool are the favorites.
“They have lost one league game all season and have let in only 15 goals. But when you look at us, we are not as consistent as before.”
Before a ball has been kicked Bayern did receive some good news. Winger Franck Ribery was originally left out of the squad to play at Anfield and did not fly with his teammates. But after becoming a father, the Frenchman has now decided to join up with the squad and will be available for selection. One man who definitely will not make the pitch is Jerome Boateng. The central defender is suffering from a stomach virus.
The Bavarians will also have to wait until Tuesdays to determine whether winger Kingsley Coman will be able to play after picking up an ankle injury on Friday.
The Frenchman scored twice but was injured in the final stages of their 3-2 win at Augsburg.

KEY MAN — ROBERTO FIRMINO 

Of Liverpool’s brilliant attacking trio the Brazilian is perhaps the most underrated and important. When he plays well the Reds usually do likewise. He links up the play well, settling up as many goals as he scores. Liverpool will be hoping he turns up with his A-game tonight, because if he does Bayern Munich could be in for a  long night. 

ARAB NEWS PREDICTS

For once Bayern are not having it all their own way in the Bundesliga. But they are improving and giving Borussia Dortmund something to think about in the race for the title. But home advantage will be key and a resurgent Reds will prove too strong for a Bayern defence that has, on occasions this campaign, looked less than watertight. The only question is can Liverpool get a decisive lead and put the tie to bed before the second leg?