Arsenal goalkeeper's gloves delivered to Chelsea: Gunners' press conference London Colney
PUBLISHED: 12:52 21 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:52 21 January 2016
Arsene Wenger tells reporters at Arsenal's training ground that he is "100 per cent convinced no English club is trying to dope their players"
The bad news for Colney Fields retail park in London Colney is that Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, whose gloves were mistakenly delivered to rivals Chelsea, will not be visiting any time soon.
The reason for this is that he has some “spare pairs” to use instead, according to Arsene Wenger at today’s (Thursday) press conference at the Gunners’ training grounds based in the village near St Albans.
The Telegraph reported yesterday that the goalkeeper’s former club was surprised to receive Cech’s gloves for Sunday’s derby from sportswear manufacturer Adidas.
At today’s press conference, a reporter told Wenger that everyone had become accustomed to Petr Cech being on the team, “apart from his glove suppliers, who apparently this week sent his gloves to the Chelsea training ground rather than here.
“Have you had to send him over the road to the retail park to get some new ones or has he got them back?”
Wenger replied: “I think he has enough gloves, but those kind of mistakes can happen. I consider him as a real Arsenal player who looks like he has been here forever, because he has adapted so well, and integrated into the team spirit so quickly. I suppose these kind of things can happen and it is an accident.”
In team injury news ahead of this weekend’s Premier League match with Chelsea, Wenger said: “The good news is that Ozil certainly is available, and Sanchez…the next few days will be decisive. I think this time, he will make it to be available for selection.
“Coquelin is back in full training today - he is ahead of schedule.
“Welbeck will be in full training next week, so that is positive news.”
Francis Coquelin’s last game was on November 21, against West Bromwich Albion, while Danny Welbeck’s was against Chelsea, on April 26.
Asked whether this weekend’s match will be a ‘flagpole moment’ in the season for Arsenal, Wenger replied: “This is another game where people will look at us and see how we behave. It’s a big game, because of the quality of the players and the team. It has big importance for us as well.”
Asked whether he still considered Chelsea to be ‘direct rivals’, he said: “They are not in this title race, but they are direct rivals because of the quality of their team”.
He commented on the “exceptional circumstances” Chelsea has faced this season, adding, “they will be back”.
A reporter who asked how he felt about Chelsea’s dramatic change in circumstances was told by Wenger: “Nobody could predict that, it can happen to anybody you know.
“The confidence can go quickly; for them the bad luck as well this season was that the league was more difficult than ever for everybody.”
Questioned on whether Chelsea was likely to “become specialists in failure” a quick-witted Wenger replied: “I see where you want to take me, but I am not ready to travel.”
He also tactfully avoided fully responding to a question on the impact of “taking Jose Mourinho out of the equation”. Wenger said: “I look at the quality of the players on the football pitch, and I look at the characteristics of the team and the players. We do not analyse the character of the manager who is sitting on the bench on the other side. It will be an intense game as usual.”
Quizzed on doping in sport, Wenger continues to offer his help to those fighting against it.
He said that if someone suspected someone of taking performance enhancing drugs, they should “warn the guy and the authorities.”
Describing it as a justice and health issue, Wenger said that he was positive doping was not an issue for the British game.
Pressed on this, he added, “I’m sure that not one club in England is trying to dope their players, I’m absolutely 100 per cent.convinced that nobody in England tries to do that with the club.”
With Theo Walcott celebrating 10 years at the club this week, Wenger was asked about his recollections of the player’s first days when he arrived as a 16 year old.
Arsenal’s boss said: “He was a little boy who discovered the world. And 10 years later, he is the father of a young boy. Now with a family, and well established in life. He has gone through fantastic periods in his life, and disappointing periods. He is very focused and hard working, and is an important player in our squad.”
• Arsenal V Chelsea, Barclays Premier League, Emirates Stadium, Sunday January 24, 4pm