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Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger hits back at Match of the Day pundits dismissing his Gunners’ title hopes 

Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy just giving opinions with nothing factual to back them up says leaders’ manager

Watch it: Wenger has issues with the MOTD experts
Watch it: Wenger has issues with the MOTD experts

Arsene Wenger claims Match Of The Day’s pundits are wrong to write off Arsenal’s title chances.

TV experts Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy have taken it in turns this season to claim that the Gunners cannot win the Premier League.

But Wenger, who admits he is a regular watcher of the BBC’s flagship football show, says he pays no attention to pundits who cannot back up their argument other than not liking Arsenal.

Ahead of Wednesday’s home match against Hull, Wenger insisted his players are ready to prove their critics wrong and claimed it is a nonsense to say they cannot win it just because they have won anything for eight years.

Wenger said: “Sometimes I watch it (Match of The Day), sometimes not. Sometimes it’s just someone saying their opinion without an argument on something. That can make sense. But if it’s something based on hate or love, or just gut feeling then I just say, ‘Okay, it’s an opinion – he might be right, he might be wrong.’

“Often, he [the pundit] doesn’t sustain his opinion by some work he has done to support that argument.


Alan Hansen
Title shot: Pundit Hansen doesn’t see Arsenal hanging onto their lead

“Of course (I have gleaned things from a pundit) – if you make an article tomorrow saying, ‘I think Arsenal will win the championship because of that, this or that’ or ‘Arsenal will not win the championship because of something else. Look at these numbers or statistics, they always repeat the same mistake’ or offer something that is in there.

“If you just say, ‘Arsenal will win the championship’ or ‘Arsenal won’t win the championship because they haven’t won it for eight years’, then I think it’s just an opinion.

“When I arrived here, people explained I couldn’t win the title as I am foreign. Everybody has their own logic.

“I just think you win the title through your quality. If we didn’t win for eight years it is because we weren’t good enough in the important moments of the season. We have a good opportunity to show we are good enough, so let’s take it.”

Wenger also dismissed Hansen’s savaging of Arsenal’s defending in their victory at Crystal Palace in October, drawing comparisons with a similar mistake against Everton in January 2010.

The Gunners’ boss clearly remembered the piece of analysis, which came after Mikel Arteta was sent off at Palace when their opponents hit them on the break.

“You can find that. One specific incident,” said Wenger. “It was right on the night – we were caught on the counter from a corner. Gibbs went forward, but he was supposed to be at the back.

Mikel Arteta of Arsenal is shown the red card by referee Chris Foy
Art attack: Defending that lead to Arteta’s Palace dismissal was criticised

“The ball was kicked to him and he went forward, and we were caught on the counter-attack, and it ended up with Arteta being sent off. It was an accident but it was, a little bit, the desire for us to play.

“I have enough experience to analyse what we do and how well we play. I don’t need someone else to tell me. I’m not upset by that at all.”

Wenger will bring in Carl Jenkinson for the injured Bacary Sagna as the French right-back has a hamstring injury.

But Wenger is convinced that Arsenal can stay top even though they are starting a hectic run of fixtures which include Hull, Everton, Napoli next Wednesday and then ends with a trip to Manchester City for a lunchtime kick off on Saturday week.

“The only thing that is changing is not our mind, it’s your mind,” said Wenger. “Because until now you never ask me about the pressure, because you always thought it was an accident that we are there (top) and it won’t last.

“Now that it’s lasting a bit longer, you start to think, ‘We have to consider them a bit more seriously.’ You start to think, ‘Is it a pressure for you?’

“No. We just continue to play well and that’s the pressure we have – the desire to play well.”


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