Saturday 15 December 2018

Arsene Wenger on Arsenal's approach at Man City: 'Sometimes the best way to defend is to attack'

Arsene Wenger is confident his team can match Manchester City on Sunday
Arsene Wenger is confident his team can match Manchester City on Sunday

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger has suggested that his Arsenal team are ready to attack Manchester City on Sunday after claiming that it could be more dangerous to adopt a defensively-orientated gameplan.

Arsenal won praise earlier this season for how they contained Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and they were similarly resilient in their last meeting with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, when they prevailed 2-1 after extra-time in the FA Cup semi-final.

City have scored 35 goals so far this season in only 10 Premier League games – 16 more than Arsenal – but Wenger is adamant that his team will not compromise on their attacking philosophy.

“We will try to play our game - we will not hide, put it that way,” he said. “You want to defend well but you cannot only be focused on defending. We want to play and have the ball and create dangerous situations. Sometimes the best way to defend is to attack.”

Asked if that would be too much of a risk given City’s form, Wenger said: “You have to accept the risk if you want to play football. You accept the gamble and the risk. It’s part of the game. You have to rate the risk. Is it a bigger risk only to defend if a team is very strong when they attack?

“You can win with any style. That’s what makes football interesting. As long as you’re strong in the style you want to play. At stake for us is three points and we want to try to go there and win.”

With City unbeaten so far this season, Wenger was also asked whether Arsenal’s ‘Invincible’ achievement of going an entire season unbeaten in 2003-4 could be replicated.

“It’s a bit early, only 10 games played and 28 to go,” he said. “That’s a long way. It’s difficult to extrapolate at the moment. They’re in a good patch but look at Real Madrid and everything that was being said about them a few weeks ago. It shows you how fragile everything is in the game.

“I don’t see all their games. If you look back there have been many great teams in England and they are certainly another one.”

Wenger also reiterated his certainty that Alexis Sanchez will be fully focused, despite the expectation that he will join City next year after a potential £60 million transfer to the Etihad broke down on the final day of the summer transfer window. “He is focussed - I don’t’ see why it will be different against Man City,” said Wenger.

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