Arsene Wenger said today that his French midfielder Mathieu Flamini will miss tomorrow’s Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund on doctor’s orders after his concussion during the 4-1 win over Norwich City on Saturday.
The Arsenal manager said that the club would abide by the “five-day rule” that dictates Flamini should not play until the weekend. Wenger added that he would make further changes to the team from Saturday, for the visit of last season’s Champions League finalists.
Top of the Premier League and playing some of the best football in Europe, Wenger said that his side would go into tomorrow’s game without fear. “The feel-good factor is down to the quality of the spirit of the team, the solidarity of the players, and their desire to do well,” he said. “We know we are a team that looks for being of course successful, for that you need a special hunger and I believe these players have a special hunger.
“What is important is that we go into the game and focus on our quality, on our performance. For me that is more important than focusing on Dortmund. [We want to] come out of the game tomorrow and feel that we have played at our best. If we do we will be difficult to handle for everybody.”
Arsenal have lost just once since they beat Bayern Munich in Germany on 13 March last season. Dortmund will not have Jurgen Klopp in his dug-out tomorrow, with the German coach serving a Uefa touchline ban for his behaviour during the previous match against Napoli. Wenger said that he believed his team could still do better.
“I believe in life you can always improve and that's what makes a top-level sportsman or a top-level team is they always have that surge for improvement,” he said. “I believe that collectively in the way we win the ball back and the use of the ball offensively we have room for improvement and for more consistency in that. That's what you want from the players.”
Wojciech Szczesny said that his Poland team-mate Robert Lewandowski had been through a difficult time with the national team of late but represented Dortmund’s greatest threat. He said: “I think certainly Lewandowski is one of the best you can find in Europe so he will be dangerous but we played against them before and we've handled him quite well so I hope we can do that again.
Me and Robert [Lewandowski] are very good friends, we speak on a daily basis and he's excited to come here, I'm excited to play against him and it will be a good challenge. We will forget the friendship for now and I'm sure it will be fine after the game.
“He's had a tough time with the national team but when you look at his goalscoring record in the Champions League and Bundesliga last year you can see how good he is. He is a goalscorer and that's what makes him a good striker. He did it when he was in Poland and since he signed for Dortmund he has always been around the top goalscorers. That's what he does, it's as simple as that.”Reuse content