Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is full of praises for his team’s performance and hopes the momentum created from this unexpected qualification for the Champions League knockout stages will boost Arsenal’s Premier League title charge.
Arsenal Qualified for Champions league round of 16 against all odds after a bad start to the campaign with the help of Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick in a 3-0 victory against Olympiakos on wednesday.
The Gunners are going away on Sunday to play bottom of the table Aston Villa as they are full of courage after recovering from a miserable Champions League start and progressed to Round of 16 courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick against Olympiakos on Wednesday.
The trip against Aston Villa gives Arsenal the chance to maintain that confidence and the manager Arsene Wenger has warned his players of complacency.
“We came back Thursday morning but we have no injury worries after the game,” Wenger said. “None of the short term injuries will be back.
“We wanted to stay in the Champions League, it was very unlikely. It was a fantastic performance in the end that got us through. Now we’re in it let’s focus again on the Premier League.
“I do not look after my own ego, I just want to do well. I want to do well for everyone at Arsenal. I cannot influence people’s opinion and accept that.”
Wenger was satisfied and overwhelmed with Olivier Giroud’s Wednesday performance : “Giroud has gone through this calendar year with ups and downs,” he said.
“It has been a typical Olivier Giroud year and when he has his downs he has put the effort in. Wednesday was one of his best performances on all fronts.
“You should look at Giroud’s record. He has special qualities. You want him to be efficient as well but he has improved his link play and that’s very important for our team.
“He has a positive mentality and a strong one. We are in a job where we have to accept that. I’m just so happy we have him, he’s one of the best strikers in Europe.”
The weekend fixture against Aston Villa at Villa park gives Wenger the opportunity to play against his former player and fellow compatriot Remi Garde in an interesting encounter between two teams with diverse ambitions.
Garde has a responsibility of driving Villa to safety after he recently took over from Tim Sherwood, whereas Wenger is looking forward to climb the table should the league leaders Leicester slip as they are just 2 points behind Leicester City.
“I have given no advice because we are now competitors and rivals,” Wenger said. “I spoke to him before he took the job. He’s in a big club so I let him work.”
“They have added some French players. Remi knows them well. I know a little bit about what is expected but we have to focus on our performance to come out more positively.”
Garde admires Wenger in all ramifications but does not want to compare himself and his former manager.
“I have a lot of admiration for him as you realize how tough it is in the Premier League, how difficult it is to keep your job and get results,” the former Lyon boss said.
“For me he still has a spirit to get trophies, this is the main one you have as a manager and he probably still feels strong enough to get trophies.”
“How long can I see him staying in the Premier League? It is always difficult to answer to this kind of question. Only Arsene has the answer to be fair.”
“I think you have to dedicate all your life to football. I’m not sure Arsene had long holidays or many days off since he took over at Arsenal.”
“For some personalities it is more difficult than others. Arsene has always lived for football and he has been rewarded for that.”
“But I don’t want to compare me to Arsene in terms of what I achieve and he has achieved; I am far away from that.”