Terry saga not a distraction says Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains the John Terry saga will have no bearing on Sunday's clash with Barclays Premier League title rivals Chelsea - and believes the role of a captain is overplayed within the English game.

Terry's position as skipper of the national team has been the subject of intense scrutiny since a gagging order which prevented details being reported of an alleged affair with the former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, a current England team-mate, was lifted.

Debate has raged as to what impact the continuing frenzy will have on both Chelsea's campaign and the England dressing room ahead of the World Cup.

England manager Fabio Capello is set to meet Terry later today, but Wenger insists all off-field issues will have little impact when the two London heavyweights clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

"I don't want to go into that stuff about role models that you hear everywhere. It is quite a bit tiring," said the Arsenal manager, whose team will be looking to bounce back from last weekend's 3-1 home demolition by Manchester United.

"We do not have to interfere with Chelsea's problems.

"I believe Chelsea will play at their best, we expect that, and that is why we just want to focus on our own performance.

"We have seen last Sunday when we do not play at our best we do not win the game and that is why the key is more on our side."

Wenger added: "It [captaincy] is over played, without a doubt.

"Maybe it has historical roots in battles, fighting. Traditionally in the history of England the captain certainly had a big role and a big importance.

"I like that, but team sport is linked with recent history, the 20th Century. Before that, it was all fighting, and so maybe it is linked with historical roots.

"In some other sports like rugby the captain has a bit more freedom and importance than in football.

"It is always an instant decision in a very quick time and the captain has no time to interfere with the individual decisions of the players on the pitch."

Wenger took direct action within his squad last season when he removed the captain's armband from William Gallas, replacing him with Cesc Fabregas, after the French defender questioned the spirit of the young Arsenal team.

In May, striker Nicklas Bendtner issued a public apology after he was photographed leaving a nightclub with his belt undone and jeans pulled down before being helped into a waiting car in the early hours after Arsenal had just been knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals.

Wenger has some empathy with the difficulties facing modern-day professionals.

"I believe more than footballers, human beings cross the line, and many of us do," he said.

"Who has not done that in life? We have all made mistakes."

French coach Wenger, 60, has been in England for more than a decade, and understands the media culture.

"It never surprises me because the headlines are quite predicable," he said.

"It must provoke an interest for people because if a newspaper writes, it is because people read it and there must be a demand for it.

"But I am interested in football more, what is happening on the pitch, a good pass, good vision, a good team spirit.

"If people like to read it, why not? But I am not a big fan of that."

Arsenal could blow the title race wide open with a second successive victory at Stamford Bridge, which would move them to within three points of Chelsea.

However, by the same token, suffer defeat and the young Gunners' championship ambitions will look to be all but over once again.

Wenger, though, remains calm.

"I believe we should be more relaxed at this time because at the start of the season nobody expected us in the top four or in the title race," he said.

"Now, instead of being intimidated, I believe we have to really have a go because we are entitled to have it.

"The biggest regret I have from Sunday against Manchester United is that we gave them too much freedom and allowed them to play too much in a game where we should have been dictating.

"My team wanted it so much that sometimes you can be a little bit restricted and our target is to get that freedom to play against Chelsea."

Wenger concluded: "I am convinced that we are capable to win everywhere in the world, but of course we need to turn up with a good performance."

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

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

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?