Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger is confident that his team’s poor record in lunch time kick-off against big clubs is just a coincidence.
Arsenal had questionable record in lunchtime kick-offs against big clubs last season and they will face Manchester City in another early kick-off on Saturday. But manager Arsene Wenger insists that the record is just a coincidence and believes that a good result against the defending champions in this game will strengthen his side’s credentials.
“I think the coincidence was that we played against very strong teams away from home at 12.45.
“I think it was more the quality of our opponents and the lack of quality in our performance that produced a result, not the kick-off time.
“At home we’ve played well at 12.45. In the FA Cup we had great games at 12.45. It’s not the kick-off time, it’s your performance. It’s how you turn up. At 12.45 or three o’clock – for me that’s just talk. It’s the quality of the performance that counts.
“Would you rather kick off at 3 o’clock or 12.45? It’s two hours and 15 minutes. That does not produce a miracle in your physical recovery. Sometimes maybe, on our side, we go a bit too much overboard on that. I think 12.45 is a good kick-off time. I like it.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Arsenal managed to win the first encounter against Manchester City this season when these two sides faced off in the Community Shield, but Wenger is well aware that his side needs to perform on Saturday, when it matters most, to prove their credentials as a title challenger.
“It is a good opportunity to show that we have improved on that front because a year before it was completely the opposite and last year it was like that.
“We have now got the opportunity to show that we have grown as a team, that we are more mature and ready for the fight. Let’s do it.
“I don’t think that this game is very important for us mathematically [just] because we dropped points away from home [at Everton and Leicester]. But it gives us credibility and confidence if we do well.
“It’s a big game and for us it is a home game as well. We had a decent start in the Premier League but of course we dropped some points and we have a good opportunity at home to play against Manchester City and get the three points.” – Wenger added.
Arsenal have already faced Everton at Goodison Park and will now face Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the next few games. But Wenger is unwilling to point this tough start as an excuse and insisted that Manchester City have also been handed over a similar start to their campaign.
“They [Man City] have the same problem. I think you have to accept your schedule and to deal well with it and adapt. Our game is to accept and adapt and give your best performance.
“The pressure is big in a game like that but you want that, we enjoy that and it’s also an opportunity to show that you can deal with it and that we have the quality to do it.” – Wenger said in his pre-match press conference.