Gunners have the fight - Wenger

BY foxsports • April 16, 2011

The Gunners host Liverpool on Sunday looking to close the seven-point gap on leaders Manchester United, who tackle local rivals City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Wenger's men returned to winning ways at Blackpool last weekend following a run of three successive draws which had threatened to derail their title bid. Striker Robin van Persie and midfielder Abou Diaby were involved in a half-time bust-up at Bloomfield Road, where the Gunners had been 2-0 ahead before the Tangerines fought back only to be hit on the break as the visitors ran out 3-1 winners. Wenger feels such show of emotions - the Dutchman unhappy with his team-mate's needless booking which left him walking a disciplinary tightrope - is evidence Arsenal do have what it takes to claw their way back in contention ahead of the showdown with United at Emirates Stadium on May 1. "They are two good friends who get on very well. Van Persie was concerned about Diaby getting a first yellow card and that he gets a second one because we all have in our memories what happened at Newcastle [when Diaby was sent off]. Diaby accepted it and said 'okay'," Wenger said. "Of course I am pleased [about the passion]. I never was worried about the mentality of the team. "Nobody takes into consideration that in football you lose sometimes, but it is as well how you lose." Wenger added: "I told you many times I am very proud to manage this team because they are focused, they want to do well. "Unfortunately we have been hit very hard, but we have not been out of every competition early on having not performed. "This team has given absolutely everything to perform in every competition and we are still today in the championship." Wenger, meanwhile, has warned Jack Wilshere could have no choice but to miss England's senior matches at the start of next season if he is selected for the European Under-21s Championships in Denmark this summer. The 19-year-old midfielder has enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Gunners but is fast closing in on 50 matches for club and country having been handed a first competitive England start by Fabio Capello for the Euro 2012 qualifier victory in Wales last month. Under-21s coach Stuart Pearce is keen for Wilshere to be part of his group in Denmark in June - a month which also sees another senior qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley. Wilshere himself has spoken of his desire to be involved for England at any level, hoping an amicable agreement can be reached between Arsenal and the Football Association for his release this summer. Wenger, however, has warned that at some stage Wilshere must be given a break - which could mean the player having no choice but to rest up and sit out England's friendly against Holland at Wembley on August 10 and the qualifier with Bulgaria in Sofia on September 2, as well as the start of Arsenal's 2011-12 campaign. "It is a bit of a grey area, but the rules from FIFA are that you have to give four weeks holiday to a player, it is compulsory and I always do it," the Arsenal manager said. "Our players playing in international games come back on July 6, if they play on the 6th of June. We have to respect that. "FIFA rules are on their side as well - if they [England] want to use Jack I cannot do anything about it. "I can understand that the boy wants to go, but they have to as well maybe to consider that he will not be fit enough to play certainly for the friendly in August and he should be short for the qualifier in September. "It is the first year he plays so many games, but England has to make that decision and we will go along with it."


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