Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Thierry Henry dismisses Arsene Wenger's complaints after Arsenal's 3-1 loss to Chelsea

Thierry Henry has dismissed Arsene Wenger’s claims that Hector Bellerin was fouled in the build-up to Chelsea’s opening goal against Arsenal on Saturday.

The Spanish right-back was clattered to the ground by Marcos Alonso as the Chelsea defender headed home to put the Blues 1-0 up at Stamford Bridge in the 13th minute.

Bellerin had to be substituted after suffering a knock in the challenge, before goals from Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas put the result beyond doubt in west London.

Olivier Giroud netted a late consolation for Wenger’s men but it ended up being a humiliating loss for the Gunners.

Wenger claimed in this post-match interview that Bellerin was fouled by Alonso as the Spaniard scored Chelsea’s opener. 

However, Arsenal legend Henry was quick to dismiss those claims after the game. Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, Henry said of Wenger’s comments: “He’s going to say that.

“If you’re a neutral, he attacked the ball like he should’ve attacked the ball.

He carries momentum, it looks bad, that’s what it is, but I think it’s a fair challenge.

“They are both looking at the ball, he jumps in the air, I think it’s a goal.

“Going back to what Arsene said, I can understand from the Arsenal corner that he’s going to say that – is that why you lost the game? I don’t think so.

“Things went your way the other game against Burnley, things are going to go your way against Everton, so, you know, things come and go.

“But the way they played today, we knew, be careful against Chelsea, you’re going to exposed on the counter if you don’t sense the counter quick enough, and that’s where I think they lost the game today.”

Laurent Koscielny questions Arsene Wenger's team selection

Laurent Koscielny has questioned Arsene Wenger's team selection following Arsenal's dismal showing in the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea on Saturday.

The Gunners were easily brushed aside by the league leaders and the French defender believes it was a combination of team selection and the players not performing as a unit that led to their downfall at Stamford Bridge.

Wenger made some questionable choices when he selected Alex Iwobi ahead of Danny Welbeck despite the former Manchester United striker, who is coming back from a long-term injury, being rested for the game in midweek.

The England international scored a brace in his first start against Southampton a week earlier, and it should have earned him a place ahead of the Nigerian forward.

Gabriel started for Arsenal against Watford with Wenger stating that the Brazilian was preferred to regular starter Hector Bellerin due to the height advantage he provides.

The Spaniard returned to the starting XI against Chelsea and it was his lack of height that allowed Marcos Alonso to open the scoring.
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The France international, who has captained the side in the league this season, admits that the north London club's title chances are all but over, but has urged his team to get back to winning ways and put up more of a fight in the coming games.

Three points will be vital for Arsenal when they face Hull City on Saturday with the race for the Champions League places heating up.

"I think we played some players in front of others and I think we should have played more as a team and there was space to do so. 

They hit us on the counter," Koscielny said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"It will be difficult now. Mathematically, nothing is done but we know that it is going to be very complicated.

"We need to come back to the quality of our game, our passing, movement," the France international added.

Arsenal lack leaders on the field claims Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell has expressed his belief that there are not enough players willing to take the lead on the pitch in the current squad. 

Campbell won two Premier League titles with the Gunners alongside the likes of Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams and more, but the club's wait for the top prize in English football looks set to extend to 13 years after their 3-1 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday left them 12 points behind the leaders.

The former England international questioned whether Arsenal have the character required to win the league nowadays, and believes that they now face a fight to keep hold of their place in the top four this season.

"I don't know what's happening now, but when I was there we used to police it ourselves.

We had the characters to police it ourselves. We didn't allow the whole 45 minutes to go by, we would address it on the pitch because if you wait for 45 minutes and you are in, you might be 2-0 down," he told Sky Sports News.

"And we had the characters you know would say something, Patrick would say something, Tony, Martin Keown, David Seaman, all these guys, from the front Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, all these guys would chip in on the pitch while the game was going on. 

That's the key, you've got to have those characters on the pitch. The guys who will say something on the pitch, you don't need one, you need almost four or five saying their stuff if things are not going right.

"I think with Arsene Wenger I think he believes he can win the league. I think he starts every season saying, 'right, we can win the league playing this style of football'. 

Obviously reality kicks in halfway through the season. It's not that easy because you need the personnel on the pitch. And also even in the stands and the bench, you need guys who can come on and make that impact and make the difference or are hungry or fighting to get on to the pitch, so when they do get on the pitch they are ready.

I think it's the balance. "Top four, if they keep going like that, is going to be extremely hard to get because you've got Man United who are motoring now. 

Maybe they might just scrape it. Man United might run out of games. The might get that fourth spot, Arsenal." 

Arsenal, who now sit fourth in the table, will look to recover from back-to-back defeats when they host a resurgent Hull City on Saturday.