Arsene Wenger

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Wenger on future, FA Cup win: “It’s about competence.”

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Arsene Wenger is enjoying his time in the sun, but there’s certainly more than a trace of defiance in the legendary manager’s tone.

Under duress for most of a trying season at the Emirates Stadium, Wenger stood tall after leading Arsenal to a controversial win in the FA Cup Final.

The win is the Gunners’ third in four seasons, and for some would signal a fitting exit from the hot seat at Arsenal.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea | Three things from Wembley ]

Wenger doesn’t see it that way, doubling down on the idea that fans can be as critical as they want outside the stadium if they support their club once the ball is in play.

Wenger admitted that he’s keeping the winner’s medal from this victory, something he’s rarely if ever done. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to leave London, and he’s not one for making a decision based on sentiment.

“There’s no perfect way. I just want to do well for this club. Apart from that, it’s down to the board members. Am I the right man to lead this club further and that’s it? And for me to decide, It’s up to the board and me. It’s not about popularity it’s about competence.”

As for his future?

“It would be ridiculous that 20 years depends on one game. Overall, we’ll know more next week.

Wenger update on Sanchez after Chile’s Bayern mix-up

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Arsene Wenger has (shock) remained tight-lipped about his own Arsenal future but has been talking about Alexis Sanchez remaining with the Gunners.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sanchez, 28, has just over 12 months left on his current Arsenal deal and the Chilean attacker is attracting interest from across the Premier League and Europe.

With 24 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, Sanchez would obviously be a huge loss to the Gunners if he did move on.

[ MORE: Full U-20 World Cup coverage

Speaking to the media ahead of the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, Wenger seemed to think his star forward wouldn’t be going anywhere this summer.

“We have nobody at the end of their contract so that will be completely our decision. Therefore, I just believe that we, the club, have a big job to do during the summer because you want to keep players like Alexis and end all the speculation that could happen…” Wenger said. “Alexis is not at the end of his contract. I would just like to remind you that the end of his contract is 2018. So that’s a completely different situation.”

Wenger appears to be stating that even if contract negotiations don’t go well with Sanchez and his representatives after the FA Cup final this weekend, the Gunners won’t be trying to offload him right away even though the fact they won’t be in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Sanchez could remain until next January and run his contract down to six months and then he’d be free to arrange a summer 2018 move to any non-English team. Of course, Arsenal wouldn’t get any cash for Sanchez if that happened but it appears that they intend to keep him around as long as possible as contract negotiations continue.

Wenger’s current mindset: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…”


In other Sanchez-related news, did the Chilean national team release news about his future club?

When Chile sent out a graphic via their official Twitter account to announce their 23-man squad for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia next month, they had a club logo next to the name of each player.

A Bayern Munich badge was next to Sanchez’s name before being removed rather quickly.

Add that to Sanchez’s countryman, and Bayern midfielder, Arturo Vidal, saying that the German giants having been asking him about his countryman and maybe the Bundesliga champs are all of a sudden the frontrunners to sign him?

Surely Arsenal’s board would much rather sell Sanchez overseas than see him join a direct Premier League rival if he was to leave this summer?

Wenger: Decision made on future in meeting after FA Cup

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He’s made it this far without tipping his or his club’s hand, so why not wait a little longer?

Arsene Wenger said a decision on his future as Arsenal manager will be made following his attendance at a postseason board meeting. Arsenal finishes its season with the FA Cup Final vs. Chelsea on May 27, and news will be announced in the weeks afterward.

[ VIDEO: Kane’s four goal night ]

Wenger, 67, has been the subject of rumors for years, but fan demand and media speculation has been an ever-present part of his 20th season on the job.

Here are his thoughts, via Sky Sports:

“I think the board meeting is after the FA Cup final. I will be there. At the moment I think we should focus on the short-term; on the last game and the cup final.

“There are lots of different aspects of a football club that have to be discussed at a board meeting and one of them will be the manager’s future, as well as the players that have to come in, the contracts and all of that. You don’t miss problems in a board meeting.”

There have been rumors that Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is driving toward taking power from Wenger via a sporting director position, an idea ridiculed by Wenger. We look forward to the announcement of Wenger’s return, as well as the hub-bub following Arsenal’s first disappointing match of the season (whether it comes in August or January).

Arsenal’s Top Four scenarios; Wenger reacts to win

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Arsene Wenger says he’s entered a final week of the Premier League season like this “many times”, with important positional standing on the line.

Given the tumult at the Emirates Stadium, it’s difficult not to smirk at that suggestion from the long-tenured boss. Wenger has faced criticism all year and his red-hot Gunners still have kept themselves in the mix to finish in the Top Four yet again.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Krueger on Saints future ]

Wenger, 67, saw his club win again on Tuesday, beating Sunderland 2-0 for a fourth-straight win. That stretch has seen the Gunners allow just a single goal and control the proceedings against all comers.

Arsenal needs a win on Sunday versus Everton, plus:

— A draw or loss from Liverpool versus Middlesbrough

or

— A Man City loss -and- a five-goal flip in differential between the sides.

Wenger admitted that his club’s tremendous form is actually a bit frustrating given how late it’s come in the season:

“Yes of course. We had a different patch after the Bayern game because it was difficult for us to recover for this, but on the other hand it was a good mental test for the team and we responded in a good way because that’s all we can do.”

“We had plenty of shots on goal but we needed to be patient. Their keeper kept them in the game. We missed some good chances and we were frustrated at halftime not to lose all our nerves and keep our composure.”

 

Wenger points out that Arsenal has more points this season (72) than it did when the Gunners finished second in the Premier League last year (71).

Premier League Tuesday: Man City, Arsenal put Top Four hopes on line

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Two desperate Premier League powers face sides with very little to play for during Tuesday’s action in England’s top flight.

Man City and Arsenal hope to keep the heat on third-place Liverpool with matches against underdog visitors.

[ MORE: Chelsea 4-3 Watford | Cesc’s winner ]

In Man City’s case, it can pass the Reds in the Premier League standings ahead of Championship Sunday. For Arsenal, it’s a chance to keep itself in the mix in case Liverpool falters against Middlesbrough.

Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion
3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Tony Pulis‘ West Bromwich Albion has been on a downward spiral since knocking off Arsenal on March 18. The Baggies have five losses and two draws in their last seven matches, and City is not the best opponent when form is down.

City is unbeaten in six matches, with four wins in that stretch. Pep Guardiola‘s men have scored multiple goals in all but one of those outings, the outlier a scoreless draw in the Manchester Derby. A win boosts City to 75 points, two more than the Reds.

Meanwhile, it could be the last match for Pablo Zabaleta’s long tenure at Man City.

Arsenal vs. Sunderland
2:45 p.m. ET on Premier League Extratime and online via NBCSports.com

The Gunners may not have Alexis Sanchez against already-relegated Sunderland, but they didn’t suffer when the Chilean left the 4-1 win over Stoke City this weekend.

Since dropping the North London Derby 2-0 at White Hart Lane, Arsenal has steadied its wobbly form and picked up three-straight wins. Arsene Wenger‘s men have only allowed one goal in that run, to Stoke, also beating Manchester United and Southampton.