Tuesday 25 October 2016

Wenger disagrees with Henry

Published 03/05/2015 | 22:46

Arsene Wenger, left, believes former Arsenal captain Thierry Henry, right, is wrong about the strength of his squad
Arsene Wenger, left, believes former Arsenal captain Thierry Henry, right, is wrong about the strength of his squad

Manager Arsene Wenger says Thierry Henry is "wrong" to claim Arsenal need to buy four new players and cannot win the title with striker Olivier Giroud.

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The Gunners boss also feels the progress of his squad in 2015 has made him rethink his summer transfer plans.

Following last weekend's frustrating goalless draw against leaders Chelsea, who went on to claim the Barclays Premier League title with victories over Leicester and Crystal Palace, former Arsenal striker Henry used his new role as a pundit for Sky Sports to lay into his old club.

Henry, part of Wenger's Invincibles squad and the record goalscorer, said Arsenal "need that spine" down the side "and, I am afraid, they need a top, top quality striker to win this league again".

Giroud, who missed three months of the season with a broken leg, responded to criticism after a poor display in the Champions League defeat to Monaco with an impressive run of seven goals in 10 matches.

Wenger feels while the former Arsenal captain is entitled to his opinions, they are unfounded.

"I think he is wrong," said Wenger, who takes his side to Hull on Monday night looking to keep up the pressure on Manchester City in the battle to finish second.

"It doesn't cost to say that. He's paid for that. We know all the system now of the modern media, especially on TV. I know how it works, they push you to be controversial because they give you a lot of money."

Henry has started working on his coaching badges at Arsenal since announcing his retirement when he left New York Red Bulls.

Wenger quipped: "He has to pay to come in because he makes a lot of money."

The Gunners boss, however, insists he has heard it all before, even about the former French World Cup winner himself.

He added: "I can accept that is an opinion, but the comment on Giroud was a bit more wrong, especially because I heard the same thing being said about (Nicolas) Anelka, about Thierry Henry himself and about Robin van Persie, and they all became world class players themselves."

Wenger added: "What I know is Giroud works very hard for the team and has fantastic mentality and if the team does well it is down to him and, if on top of that he scores 20 or more goals, he has done his job."

Despite the disappointment of not being able to close the gap on Chelsea, Arsenal have nevertheless been in superb form since the turn of the year, winning 17 from 21 matches with a quarter-final Champions League exit to Monaco the only real disappointing result.

"What will be interesting, lets get a new start and see where we stand next year," said Wenger, whose side struggled for form in the opening 10 league matches with several players suffering a World Cup hangover.

"We feel we have made up some ground, that will be the challenge of next season from the start, lets show we are there and capable to fight for it."

Asked how much of what happened in 2015 had changed what he was thinking about summer transfers, Wenger said: "(It has made) massive changes.

"I believe as well that some players who were questioned, like (Mesut) Ozil, have made big improvements in the second part of the season, getting slowly to be the leader you want him to be in guiding our game."

Wenger insists Arsenal are "not in the need of absolute change", but also accepts the club must strengthen, even if it just to keep up with their rivals.

"You can expect Manchester City to respond, expect Manchester United to respond, Liverpool to respond. I don't know yet (what they will do), but that is something you have to consider," he said.

Wenger, though, wants Arsenal to first focus on the end to the current campaign, which could yet end with a successful defence of the FA Cup when they tackle Aston Villa at Wembley on May 30.

"What is important is how we finish the season now," he said.

"We will be judged at the end of the season, after the FA Cup final, where are we in the Premier League and we will see how well we have done.

"That is why it is vital that we keep the focus and the hunger to go as strong as we can until the end."

Press Association

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