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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?