Monday, June 11, 2012

Arsene Wenger's Euro 2012 Arsenal player watch

After Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner, both banished on loan, impress and Wojciech Szczesny was sent off, imagines how the Gunners boss sees his charges' starts

A lot of the time at Arsenal our players do not get the credit that they deserve. If we lose one game or we are even doing as well as 15th place in the Premier League, always there is criticism, suddenly we are in crisis. There is no crisis.

Now again, everyone in the media will say that my players are in crisis at the Euros, that there is embarrassment for the club. I do not agree. I am very proud of the contributions that they are making

I was very happy to see Wojciech Szczesny doing well in the first game. It is very easy to look at the goal for Greece but that is only one minute in a long match – and even so, the way that he came out for the ball continued the goalkeeper philosophy of Manuel Almunia, a fine Arsenal player of many years. People will say that he got sent off but I did not see the incident; I am happy with his performance. I would say that it was a five-star match for Szczesny.

It is also very pleasing to see that Lukasz Fabianski would have become the No.1 goalkeeper for Poland if he had not been injured. If Przemyslaw Tyton was substituted on to save the penalty, you can imagine that Fabianski would have saved it twice had he been fit. We can be very proud of his hypothetical achievements; I give him five stars.

You must look also at the Czech Republic game, where I thought that Tomas Rosicky was magnificent. At Arsenal we have our style of play, where for many seasons now our system is to have a defence that concedes goals and for Rosicky to be calm and do little in midfield. He did this very well on Friday; I would give him five stars.

During that match people say that Andrey Arshavinhad a good game, and there is criticism of us for letting him leave on loan this season. I want to say that it is only my business who stays and who goes from the club and it is not for the media to question my decisions, but if you look at Russia, you see that Arshavin was out of position playing more centrally. He is a winger, that is where he has played for Arsenal. You would not blame a player for having a bad game out of position, so I will not praise him for doing better either.

I note also that Arshavin did not score but Alan Dzagoev, who is 21 years old, scored two goals. This is proof to me that the way forward is to put your trust in young players; we are ahead of our rivals in this way. My philosophy is vindicated.

I do not know why the media insist on talking all the time about Robin van Persie. He is the captain of our club but it is tiresome, all these questions. However, I am happy with his performance against Denmark. He did not score but this is to be expected; this season he has scored 37 goals when he is playing with Gervinho and Chu-Young Park, but only six goals when with Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. You cannot expect Robin to score if he is in a team with inferior players and clearly he tried hard and did well despite the lesser service. I think it was a five-star performance from him.

In this game also there was Nicklas Bendtner, people tell me that he should not have left on loan. Maybe he did well against Netherlands but he did not score; if Denmark had selected Marouane Chamakh, you cannot say that he would not have done better. People try to make a crisis but I am comfortable with my decisions.

Per Mertesacker did not play for Germany, I am not worried. Why play a defender if your opponent does not play a striker? If Helder Postiga has ever scored a goal, I did not see it. If he had played he would have been injured and again we would not have been compensated. For conserving his energy correctly I would give Mertesacker five stars.

Lukas Podolski was impressive also. You see that he has football intelligence and he is still young; he will learn from this. Already he is showing that he is on the level of Van Persie. His rating? Five stars.

I look forward tomorrow to France versus England. I am certain that Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be excellent as they have been all season, but they are Arsenal players, not England players. Roy Hodgson must ensure that they play only 20 minutes to avoid unnecessary injury.

Laurent Koscielny I am told will be on the bench for France. This is good; you want to see a fair match where both teams have a chance. Koscielny would put the game too far in the favour of France. He should rest before the new season.

Certainly I am happy with the start that our players have made and the fans should also be happy. I know best and I tell you that, with a promising start like this, in two or three years our young players are showing that they will be excellent players. I expect all of our players to win Euro 2012.

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