When Arsenal take the pitch this evening in the final Champions League group stage match, the only thing on the line will be the position from which they qualify. Arsene Wenger has 90 minutes to think about his excuses for next weekend, with another Premier League disaster result on the horizon.

At this point, it doesn’t really matter who they’re up against, and facing West Brom isn’t something Wenger is really looking forward towards. They’re already 15 points behind Manchester United, but Wenger is preaching that they can still be caught. It seems that with every bad result, his resolve and belief in his team, at least as far as the media are concerned, is impossible to shake. There’s always the question of whether he actually believes what he says, or is he serious when he says that looking at the big picture and numbers instead of the headlines, Arsenal aren’t in that bad of a shape.

That the players are not happy after the game, do you want them to do a dance after we lost? This group of players is very strong, very highly motivated, has a very good spirit and they want to win. If they don’t win, of course they are upset.

On one side, you can say you want the players to care, to be passionate. I am more worried if I see players who laugh in the shower after a game that we lost. The players are of course upset, that’s why what is important is to win the next game. We are in a job where the next game is the only important thing. That’s how you can show how good you are.

We lost one game in the last seven. You should look a little bit at the statistics and not only read the newspapers. I only have one pressure and that is to win the next football game, believe me, and to play the football I love. All the rest, I don’t think that affects me at all. You would be surprised.

We can make up the distance in the league, but in the Champions League you are either in or out.

Wenger acts like Arsenal being in the middle of the table after more than a third of the season is normal. Sure, the projection will be that teams with a surprising start begin falling at some point, but there’s nothing to suggest by the way Arsenal have been playing, struggling not just to score but to create chances as well, that a change for the better is right around the corner. Still, Wenger, who knows what is expected of him and his team and knows he hasn’t been delivering the goods for quite some time, feels he’s got a strong grip on things.

We live in a world that needs a drama every day. Football is a game where you have to enjoy to play football and not live in a dramatic world in a consistent way. This club is in fantastic shape because we have a good team, we have a strong structure of the club that we have built over the years, we have a strong financial situation and we are mentally strong.

I can understand that not everybody is pleased about that but that’s a fact. And that’s why we have to continue to behave like we do.

And that’s Arsenal’s way of diverting attention: The financial situation, brought on by selling their best players. Forget about the results Arsenal fans, your team has cash in the register. That’s why you go to the stadium right?

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