Football: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was in belligerent mood before tomorrow’s Champions League showdown against Bayern Munich, clashing with journalists over reports that he is to be offered a new deal by the club.
The Gunners, currently fifth in the Premier League, remain without a trophy since 2005 and look no closer to breaking that pattern after they exited the FA Cup at home to Blackburn on Saturday.
Nonetheless newspaper reports today claimed Wenger is in talks over an extension to his current deal, despite growing discontent among fans over his tenure.
Those claims were put to the Frenchman at his pre-match press conference today, prompting angry denials.
“I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention — to harm,” Wenger charged before rounded on one reporter, asking: “Why do you look at me?”
Of his side’s growing number of critics, he added: “We live in a democracy of experts and opinions ... there are a lot of experts who are not necessarily always right.”
What is in little doubt is that the Gunners face opponents in Bayern who are as formidable as any side currently playing in Europe.
The Bundesliga leaders are 15 points clear at the top of their domestic league, have won all their matches in 2013 without conceding a goal and have won their last six away games, also without conceding.
Arsenal, in contrast, have struggled for consistency throughout the campaign, losing 10 times in all competitions, including a penalty shootout reverse in the League Cup against League Two Bradford.
Wenger therefore concedes that his side need a good result to take into the second leg at the Allianz Arena next month.
“It is vital because 0-0 at home is a very good result in the Champions League knockout stages, but of course we will try to score goals,” said Wenger, who will be without left-backs Kieran Gibbs (thigh) and Nacho Monreal (cup-tied).
“However 0-0 is not a disaster at home, but of course we are a team who are offensive and we will try to go forward and try to score goals.”
Laurent Koscielny (calf) is Wenger’s only other doubt, while Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez has recovered from a bruised toe.
Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes says he will be taking nothing for granted against his wounded opponents.
“Despite the result, Arsenal have found their rhythm again in the last few weeks. They are very good going forward and are an excellent team,” the 67-year-old said.
“They have wonderful players in their ranks and I’m wary of underestimating them.”
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