Pre-match press conference: West Ham United vs Arsenal

Indranil Bhattacharya / 09 April 2016

Premier League outfit Arsenal to play West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground in this Premier League round of fixture. In his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger has defended the injury prone midfielder Jack Wilshere after his suspected involvement in a brawl outside a west London nightclub on 3 am Sunday morning.

The Arsenal boss was speaking to the media before the Gunners’ trip to West Ham United. Wenger thinks more has been made of the nightclub incident.

He also praised Wilshere’s dedication, by saying:

“I believe he has a real football brain. He loves the sport. He is very dedicated.”

Wenger also said his he believes Wilshere can reach his potential if he is able to make a successful return from injuries and can avoid them for a while to remain fit, but the Frenchman won’t be bringing him back to the field until he’s totally fit:

With a comfortable 4-0 win over Watford on Saturday, the Gunners can close the gap on Tottenham to 4 points with a game in hand too, Wenger is refusing to give up on the Premier League title as he said:

“As long as mathematically it’s possible, there’s a strong possibility [of catching Leicester] “We know we need nearly the perfect run – I could have cut the ‘nearly’ out “We do not only look in front of us, we look behind us as well, because we are chased by a group of teams who can make it very difficult for us.”

“West Ham is a tough proposal, yes, away from home,” Wenger explained to Sky Sports.

“They (have) had a very good campaign. When you look at the quality of the players they have, individually they have a good midfield, good strikers and they are solid at the back.”

“I think the emergence of Payet has given them a lot of creativity and efficiency. They have Kouyate, Noble, Payet, Lanzini – they have a strong midfield and good strikers with Sakho.”

Dimitri Payet has been a gem for West Ham, he has scored 12 goals and assisted 11 in all competitions.

If Arsenal want to prove they’re still in for the title chase, a win is very important; and to get three points, they’ll need to wrap Payet.

Slaven Bilic, the Hammers’ boss stated:

“It’s a big game, a London derby first of all.
“The season is approaching an end and it’s very important for them and for us. We are both fighting, either for a place in Europe or, from their point of view, they are trying to be champions… There’s a lot at stake.”

“Collins and Byram are going to train with us tomorrow, but it will be too early for them to be in Saturday’s squad.”

He has spoken up against Kouyate’s dismissal against Crystal Palace. Bilic said: “He’s a great player and he scored the first goal of the season for us and we’re delighted to have him back but, as I’ve said, he should never have got sent off in the first place. The good and proper decision has been made to overrule his red card.”

The manager claimed that he is not expected to rotate his squad despite the Hammers facing their FA quarter-final replay with Manchester United just four days later, on Wednesday 13 April.

“We play Arsenal, then have a cup replay against Manchester United, then go to Leicester. But we are approaching the Arsenal game and then we have three days to recover and think about Manchester United. We are going to put the best team out that we can on Saturday.