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Wednesday 17 January 2018

England star cools title talk after Arsenal show steel for battles ahead

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere celebrates scoring his team's opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Villa Park. Photo: PA
Arsenal's Jack Wilshere celebrates scoring his team's opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Villa Park. Photo: PA

Jack Wilshere insists Arsenal are not getting carried away after they returned to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

The result means every team in the top seven has won over the weekend, and Wilshere (pictured, below) does not believe his team-mates will get ahead of themselves.

"We've just got to take each game as it comes, we know we're top of the league," he said. "We've had a game every three days up to now and now we've got a week off so it's important we get our rest in.

"It's a massive three points. It was interesting in the second half when Villa came at us. We've done that a lot this season. We seem to drop a bit and let teams come onto us in the second half but we dealt with it well and we're showing that side of our game.

"Hopefully we can continue that for the rest of the season. When we're up against it this season, we've got Per (Mertesacker) and (Laurent) Koscielny at the back who have been brilliant.

"It's not easy to deal with Benteke with (Gabriel) Agbonlahor running off him but they've done it well tonight."

As well as getting on the scoresheet himself, Wilshere set up the goal for Giroud and, while he admits he would rather play in an attacking role, he will do whatever is needed for the team.

"I'm not really a defensive midfielder," he said. "I'd say I was an attacking midfielder and if you're going to be one of them you're going to have to create and score goals.

"I looked at it this season and I came back from injury last season and this season I really had to push on on that front. In this team we've got great competition and it's important that we rotate a lot.

"Sometimes I'm going to have to play wide, sometimes I'll play in the middle but as long as the team is playing well and we get the three points, that's all that matters."

Manager Arsene Wenger reiterated Wilshere's words and wants Arsenal just to focus on their own performances.

"Let's take care of our performances and get the points and see if you make a difference with the other teams," he said.

"The first half was more about playing and the second half was more about fighting. We got the answer even if we had some dangerous situations in front of goal.


"We have shown again that we have both sides of the game. In the first half our passing gave them many problems and we could maybe have scored one or two more."

Meanwhile, right-back Bacary Sagna is to hold fresh talks with Arsenal about his future, although their contract stand-off is now increasingly likely to drag on until the end of the season.

Sagna is out of contract in the summer and his preference is to remain at Arsenal and finish his career with the club. There has been disappointment, however, that Arsenal's best offer following more than a year of on-off negotiations remains an additional two seasons at a salary that would not significantly improve his current £70,000-a-week deal.

It is understood that Arsenal regard that offer as reasonable for a player who will turn 31 next month but Sagna had expected either a salary increase or a longer deal.

Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker are also in negotiations about extending their contracts, while goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny agreed a new deal earlier in the season.

Irish Independent

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