Arsène Wenger: Manchester City have wealth but Manchester United will win title in ‘money-time’

Reds' displays in last 15 minutes of games prove decisive, says Wenger

Arsène Wenger introduced a new phrase to the lexicon of the title run-in yesterday when he said that Manchester United's ability to "deal with the money-time" was what separated them from rivals Manchester City.

Wenger's Arsenal have the opportunity tomorrow to deal a significant blow to City's hopes of catching United at the top of the Premier League and their manager was in little doubt about what has separated the leaders from the rest of the pack in the last few weeks. The "money-time", Wenger said, was the last 15 minutes of a tight game at the end of the season when the three points have to be won.

There is no love lost between Wenger and City, who, he joked, had eight former Arsenal players either in their playing squad or among their staff including Samir Nasri, Gaël Clichy, Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor, who is on loan at Tottenham. The Arsenal manager also hinted that this current United team is nothing like as good as the United sides his club overcame to win their three Premier League titles.

Wenger said that City had been "outstanding at home" but "lost a little bit" on the road, where they have dropped points recently at Sunderland and Stoke. Wenger said: "Manchester United is surprisingly there in a comfortable position. No one expected them to be. They didn't look absolutely irresistible this year and you could see that again on Monday night against Blackburn. But they managed to win the game.

"I believe that if United win the title this year it is really down to experience. What I mean by that is that even the other night at Blackburn, when Ryan Giggs came on in the last 15 minutes, you thought, 'They can only win it now', because they know how to deal with the money-time. That means the last 15 minutes in football when it is 0-0. You can't make a mistake. They have that security at the back. They have won so many titles because they are not nervous."

It was unclear where Wenger had picked up the phrase "money-time" – he may have coined it himself – but there did not appear to be any intentional allusion to City's Abu Dhabi wealth. Nevertheless, when pressed on the future of Robin van Persie, Arsenal's captain, top goalscorer and a leading candidate to be Player of the Year, Wenger said that he was not prepared to allow another player to be sold to City.

The next six months will be crucial for Arsenal in securing Van Persie's future. Wenger reminded his questioners that the striker was still under contract and could not be approached by another club. "He has one year to go," he said. "I don't think it's the best subject before Sunday's game."

Asked why he thought City had signed so many Arsenal players since 2008, Wenger replied – albeit with a smile on his face – by saying that it had to stop. "Well, they have enough players there now. Already Adebayor, Kolo, Clichy, Nasri, they have [Patrick] Vieira [the club's football development executive] there, that's five. Brian Marwood [football administrator], Brian Kidd [assistant manager], played for Arsenal. They have seven or eight people from Arsenal, it's enough. Yes, David Platt [first-team coach]. Eight!"

Ask whether he was flattered by it, Wenger said he was "more worried". "They know our players, you know. But it's a little bit of a normal process. Because we have good players and young players and that's it."

Beating City, Wenger said, would move Arsenal closer to their goal of finishing third and securing Champions League football next season. "What is for sure is that a draw for them is not good enough, certainly," he said. "It is true that in the last two seasons they came to play for a draw – and they got it – but I believe that this time both teams are in a situation where they want to win."

There are no further injury problems for Wenger's squad besides the long-term absences of Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker and Emmanuel Frimpong but the bulletin on Wilshere was not encouraging. Wenger said that the 20-year-old, who has not played all season as he has recovered from surgery on a stress-fractured ankle, would have to be playing regularly by the end of this month to have any chance of being fit in time for Euro 2012.

Wenger said that the club would have a better idea "in the next two or three weeks". He said: "We try to keep the hope alive for him and without taking too many risks. That means we adapt day to day, to manage him, to improve his physical state and get him fit as quickly as we can without taking too big a risk. That means when he has pain we stop him.

"We are now at the end of March; that means to go to a big competition without having played at all is impossible. In the next four or five weeks we will know more and the next three weeks will be decisive. You would think a player who wants to play in June, at the end of April they will have to be competitive. The next three weeks will decide [if Wilshere can play at the Euros]."

The long-term future also looked gloomy for Marouane Chamakh, who was photographed this week smoking a shisha pipe with fellow Moroccan Adel Taarabt of Queens Park Rangers. Wenger described it as "not the best thing to do" and said it would be dealt with by the club. It was his response to a question about whether the out-of-favour striker would be an Arsenal player next season that was most telling. "That at the moment is too early to answer. We want him to focus completely, without smoking, until the end of the season."

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Sport
A view of today's Spanish papers
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
people

Sport
sportAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
News
news

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
books

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London