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Friday 9 December 2016

Wenger hits back over ill-informed punditry

Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal
Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal

Arsene Wenger stands by his decision not to buy a defensive midfielder and launched a stinging attack on former professionals working in the media.

Wenger's criticism comes in the wake of Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville calling the Arsenal manager "arrogant and naive" following what he has deemed as a failure to find a replacement for Patrick Vieira.

Wenger brushed off Neville's criticism after his side's goalless draw against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

But speaking ahead of his side's trip to Newcastle on Saturday, Wenger called on former players to provide an educated opinion, and claimed that Francis Coquelin boasts the best defensive statistics in European football.

"I think we have had that debate for a long time now that Arsenal does not buy defensive players," said Wenger.

"Since January we have conceded fewer goals than anybody else. The only thing I want is that when people have opinions, it is documented and worked out before, especially when it is football specialists.

"People can say they don't think Arsenal is good enough, I accept that, but it is dangerous to say that 'he will never be a player' especially when the comment has come from people in football. The concern is that it puts pressure on players."

Arsenal could travel to Newcastle without their first-choice defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Koscielny is battling a back injury while Mertesacker is sidelined with a chest infection.

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