Arsene Wenger upbeat ahead of crucial period for Arsenal

 

Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal should be positive as they enter the defining period of their season.

The Gunners head to Sunderland tomorrow looking to keep up with fourth-placed Chelsea, the gap now down to just three points following last weekend's results which saw Wenger's men beat Blackburn 7-1 while the Blues were held to a 3-3 draw by Manchester United.

Next week, Arsenal travel to AC Milan for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before returning to the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup fifth round on February 18.

With England defender Kieran Gibbs the latest player to return to a squad which has been depleted by injury, Wenger believes the Gunners can come through a make-or-break spell.

"Overall the situation looks a lot more positive in a period that will decide our season and therefore it is good to have the players back," the Arsenal manager said.

"It is that important because in one week we play three games in three different competitions.

"In every single competition we are, of course, in a position where we want to win our games."

Wenger added: "Sunderland are doing well, and we have rebuilt our confidence.

"It is important that we go in a positive mind there and that we come back with three points."

Wenger confirmed Thierry Henry would be returning to New York Red Bulls as planned at the end of his loan spell, meaning the former Gunners skipper will not be around for the visit of arch-rivals Tottenham.

"There is clarification, it will be February 16, the day after Milan," Wenger said.

"I would have loved him to stay two more weeks, but he has to go back.

"He is captain of Red Bulls. Just to appear on the first day of the season would be unfair to them. We accepted at the start that we would release him on February 16, so we respect our word. Thierry as well thinks it would be too late.

"He has a fantastic impact on the squad, was happy to be here and all the players were happy to have him around.

"In training, he looks better every week. He is now back to a fitness level comparable to all the other players.

"The movements of him in training, makes me think it is a shame he does not play for the [France] national team anymore."

Wenger did not make any major moves in what was a relatively static January transfer window.

The Arsenal manager moved to clarify his recent comments in an interview with a Belgian newspaper over the importance of securing a "profit of between 15 and 20million pounds" every season, and that the purpose of a coach is "to always buy at a price he sees fit".

Wenger said: "Do you think the target of the club is to lose money? It cannot last a long time, the target is to make profit.

"It looks to me normal for any company in the world, so I don't know why it is surprising.

"We want to pay the debt we owe from the stadium we built, that's around £15 million. So it's normal that at the start, we have to make at least £15 million or we lose money."

Wenger denied the need to service the debt on the move to Emirates Stadium tied his hands in the transfer market.

"I accept one basic principle for every company that you can spend the money you make," he said.

"It is just natural common sense and mathematical logic that what goes out has to equal what comes in. if that does not work then the company loses money."

Wenger, meanwhile, insisted there would be no chance of Andrey Arshavin leaving for Russia, where the window remains open until the end of the month and reports have emerged of interest from Anzhi Makhachkala and former club Zenit St Petersburg.

The Arsenal manager said: "I expect him to be here after February 24 and that is clear."

PA

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
Band was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
Loan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Extras
indybest 9 best steam generator irons
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering