Wenger Talks Watford
Manager Arsene Wenger has obviously discussed team news and what he expects from Watford this weekend during his pre game press conference - here's what he had to say.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media earlier today, Wenger felt that Watford were a stronger and more balanced side this season owing to their business over the summer transfer window.
'They are a strong side. They have strong results, they`re a balanced team who are dangerous and play good football. They`re tough opponents for everybody.'
With Watford appointing former Hull City manager Marco Silva over the summer as well, he said of his opposite number.
'He has impressed, because I think Watford play good football. He was at Hull where he had a very good start as well and overall I think he has done very well.'
With suggestions of a return for Marc Overmars, Wenger rubbished talk of a director of football return at this moment in time
'No it`s not true, at the moment he`s a director at Ajax. We have always been in touch, yes, but at the moment no. Not at the moment, no.'
With Arsenal heavily wrapped up in Christmas Eve fixture talk, whilst conceding the TV companies have the power, he feels there should be a limit of a 2pm kick off should games go ahead on that day in the future.
'I know that we have to adapt to the schedule dictated by TV, but overall I would say if that happens personally I don`t think any game should be played after two o`clock at the latest on Christmas Eve because Christmas Day in England is the 25th.
'You call me a a traditionalist, yes why not. If it`s a good tradition yes I`m always for it, it`s good. Personally I would prefer to be at my home on Christmas night and celebrate Christmas, but I still feel that could happen if we played early on the day and what you wouldn`t like to sacrifice is the evening with the family for people. Overall we go towards society where religion isn`t considered anymore in any decision and where people want as well to watch football in the Christmas period.'
As for team news ahead of the game, he went on to give updates on Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny and gave good news on Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil.
'I haven`t seen everybody, because some players are coming back today and some are in tomorrow, like Alexis. The minor problem we have is with Sead Kolasinac. We`ll check him today - he has a hip problem. We lost Mustafi for about four to six weeks and I don`t think he`ll be available before the next international break. Ozil and Welbeck are back in the group in normal training.'
He went on to say about Koscielny's chance of playing against Watford.
'Koscielny has a definite final test tomorrow. At the moment, he`s not available. He trained on his own and the first signs are positive, so we decided to give him a test tomorrow.'
With defenders out and doubtful, Wenger admitted to a few defensive concerns.
'Yes, I have. I think about sorting out the problem, but overall I will completely decide what I do tomorrow because Koscielny will have a test then. He worked quite hard physically, he looks like he is capable of playing if he survives the test. If he has no pain on his Achilles tendon, he can play. I will decide that tomorrow.'
Adding about Mustafi.
'It`s always difficult to predict the situation because the player I least expected to lose during the break was Mustafi. First of all, I was not sure he would play. Secondly, Germany had already qualified so I didn`t expect him to be out injured as the games would be less intense. He didn`t play in the first game, and we lost him in the second game against Azerbaijan at home. We have to cope with that now.'
Wenger went on to say that Kolasinac does have a hip problem but we hadn't assessed him at the point of meeting the media, Ozil was apparently 'available' and Welbeck is back in contention.