Saturday 25 November 2017

Van Persie denies Wenger rift talk

ROBIN van Persie insists there is "no problem" or "conflict" at Arsenal despite his reaction to Arsene Wenger's substitution of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the 2-1 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.

Wenger's relationship with Gunners supporters reached an all-time low at the weekend when they railed against his substitution of Oxlade-Chamberlain for Andrey Arshavin.

Captain Van Persie also appeared to react to Wenger's decision with the word "no".

However, the Holland striker has clarified the situation and also revealed the teenager had picked up a calf injury.

Van Persie said: "I was not having a go at the boss on Sunday -- I was just sad to see Alex leave the pitch as he just gave the assist for our only goal.


"I was not questioning his judgement -- I know it's not my place to challenge what Arsene Wenger does...

"Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain had a calf injury. We did not know that but the boss did and brought Andrey Arshavin on."

He added: "The manager and I are fine and my relationship with the club is good.

"There is no problem, there is no conflict and there is no controversy.

"The boss knows that, I know that and the players know that."

Meanwhile, Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has hit out at fresh questions about Wenger's position as manager following the open revolt against his controversial substitution against United.

Wenger, who admitted the change did not work after watching Arshavin fail to prevent Antonio Valencia setting up United's winner, is suddenly back under massive pressure after three successive Premier League defeats.

The Frenchman rode out Arsenal's worst start to a season since 1958 -- including the 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford -- but supporters never revolted quite as they did on Sunday. There had also never been the spectacle of Van Persie appearing to openly criticise the substitution during the game.

However, Szczesny, who refused to criticise fans, insisted Wenger's position should never be called into question.


"He's done a magnificent job over the 15 years and he's still doing it now," he said.

"So I don't think his position at this club should ever be questioned."

Oxlade-Chamberlain also backed his manager.

Admitting he was pleased with the fan reaction to his own performance, the 18-year-old said: "He's Arsene Wenger, a top-quality manager for a number of years for Arsenal.

"He's done a lot for this club so whatever he does and whatever decision he makes towards me and the team, I'll have to respect and I do respect that."

He added: "The fans pay money to come and watch us, so they have the right to have their own opinions and show their frustration. But all we can guarantee and I can guarantee is the boys are completely focused on the task at hand.

"We have meetings in the week and we talk about what we need to improve on.

"Everyone is trying to push in the same direction and maybe it's not going for us how we may like at the moment.

"Recently, we've had some very good performances but come up against some very good teams. We've just fallen short at the last hurdle. All we can guarantee is we're working very hard in training and in games and we'll do all we can to try and put it right."


It was a bittersweet full debut for the winger, who did not know for certain whether he would be starting until the morning of the game. It's a stride in the right direction for me and that's what I want to be doing," said Oxlade-Chamberlain, who set up Van Persie's equaliser.

"It's not going to be easy to keep that position. I can't say I will at all. All I can do is keep working hard on the pitch and keep putting my all into it and try to repay the boss's trust with the performances."

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