Arsene Wenger Hits out at Media Criticism in Arsenal's Pre-Bournemouth Presser

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2017

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony Devlin / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the media have turned certain sections of the fanbase against the team.

Speaking to the press on Thursday ahead of Saturday's clash with Bournemouth in the Premier League, Wenger was asked about the criticism of his side following the 4-0 loss to Liverpool last time out. Per James Olley of the Evening Standard, he believes some of the coverage has been over the top:

Wenger was also questioned on the Gunners' interest in Kylian Mbappe, who recently joined Paris Saint-Germain from AS Monaco. It's clear he is an admirer of the player, and there was an intent to bring him in.

"Well, I believe that we were on the case last year," he said, per Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror.

"He was close to joining us last year—closer than this year because of the competition for him.

"For 90 per cent of the players, their career depends on where they choose to go.

"For 10 per cent, they will be a success wherever they will go and he is one of them."

Wenger went on to describe the young Frenchman as an "exceptional footballer."

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 6: Kylian Mbappe is presented as new player of Paris Saint Germain by President of PSG Nasser Al Khelaifi at Parc des Princes on September 6, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

He also discussed the dramatic final day of the transfer window for the Gunners. Eventually Alexis Sanchez stayed at the club despite links to Manchester City. Per Mattias Karen of ESPN FC, it's clear Wenger has full faith in his No. 7:

Wenger was also quizzed on Monaco's Thomas Lemar, who was the subject of a £92 million bid from the Gunners, according to Sky Sports News. The Frenchman didn't give a clear answer as to why the player didn't make the switch to Arsenal in the end:

The Arsenal boss spoke of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, too, who left the Gunners for Liverpool late in the transfer window.

Wenger said the new Reds man is a talent, though he feels his departure can create an opportunity for others, per Karen:

One player who did stay at Arsenal is Jack Wilshere. The midfielder spent the previous campaign on loan at Bournemouth, and he's not been part of the first team early in 2017-18. Wenger said a patient approach is needed with the 25-year-old:

Wenger also provided an update on the fitness of midfielder Santi Cazorla, who has been sidelined with a long-term injury issue.

The manager insisted the 32-year-old's battle for fitness does not mean the end of his career, but it will still be a while before we see him back in action again.

"He is having his first run today," Wenger said. "The flexibility and mobility of his ankle looks good. It is difficult to predict when he will be available. Not before Christmas, that's why he isn't in Europa League squad but hopefully in the new year."

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Santi Cazorla of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad at Emirates Stadium on October 19, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

The game against Bournemouth feels like an ideal opportunity for the Gunners to bounce back. The Cherries have been poor early in the campaign, suffering defeats in their opening three games. Typically, Eddie Howe's side are happy to open the game up and attack opponents.

That would usually suit Arsenal, although it's unclear which version of this team we'll see on Saturday. Wenger will hope that with the transfer window closed, the focus will shift to football and his team will pick up form again as a result.


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