"I believe we dropped two points [rather than gained one] because we had clear chances. On the other hand it was a very difficult game because they stopped us from playing when we had the ball and when they had it they played a very long-ball game and closed us down. We couldn't find our passing game."
Wenger added: "We know what you get when you come here and we weren't disappointed. It's a very efficient English game with long balls, and very physical. They did that very well and are a good side on counter-attacking, so when we took the gamble to go forward and they won the ball they are quick. That's why it was always us managing to create chances and them catching us on counter-attack or playing on [Gabriel] Agbonlahor and [Emile] Heskey with long balls.
"I wish them to have a good run now because they are quality. They are well-organised and have a strong spirit. They are very strong physically and the four in midfield do not stop running and all these players can score goals, so they have a chance. I think they have a very good chance but you have seven teams for four places."
The reaction from O'Neill and players like Collins is embarrassing. These people would rather react like children without thinking and without examining what has actually been said in context, O'Neill is having a kind of verbal epileptic seizure. Arsene has said nothing offensive, he has just stated a few things as a he saw them, of note he has also been very complimentary to Villa in a number of ways. There is no 'appalling insult' amongst Arsene's words, I can only think that the media have tricked the naive O'Neill into giving them a story that he should have been sharp enough to side step. Andrei Arshavin is typically honest in his assessment of this mountain out of a molehill. O'Neill is showing himself to be a very bitter and resentful man, actually rather unpleasant as well, strange that the media let him get away with such a vitriolic and personal attack on another manager in response to such mild comments from Arsene, shame on you Mr O'Neill.
Alex Ferguson does not miss the opportunity to have a dig at Arsene as well, Fergie seems to think that the sun shines out of Darren Fletcher's arsehole, obviously Darren the cherub would never set out to foul another fellow professional, would he? He also wouldn't dive either, let's just ignore that booking he got for a blatant dive in the CL earlier this year, maybe Wayne taught him but obviously not well enough.
What a huge game it is. Manu will have been boosted by their win against City in midweek, Ferdinand's suspension for his vicious elbow on Fagan is thoroughly deserved and is a blow to them, I was rather amused by the FA's description of Manures appeal as 'frivolous' and by Fergie banning Sky from his press conferences, surely Fergie should be directing his rage at Ferdinand's nasty violent actions. Rooney will be their key man, he is on great form at the moment, it will be important that he is not given the room to do us damage. Fletcher is their key man in midfield and it would be nice to see him punished for any cynical indiscretions early by the referee, this can have a big impact on games.
Thomas Vermaelen will probably not be risked, meaning that it's a big one for big Sol, he's looked decent in his outings thus far, but facing Rooney and co would be a stern test of anyone's abilities. I'd hope to see Bendtner starting with Eduardo out, Arshavin leading the line would be playing into Manure's hands in my eyes. I'd be very surprised if Song didn't start in the holding role, Cesc will be alongside him in the midfield, Denilson may make up the trio but Nasri would be a good option for me. Then again Nasri may come into the front three with Bendtner and Arshavin, although Rosicky has been very useful in our last couple of games there. I really don't know how Arsene will play this one, all I know is that we will have to get in and amongst them, we will need to play with a real drive and tempo to unsettle the mancs.
Finally I'd like to say that Chris Smalling has probably made an error in joining Manure. Not only does he have to live up north near or in Manchester away from his friends and family, but he also is taking much more of a gamble with his career by trusting Ferguson to nurture him. Ferguson's record with developing young players has been good, but very erratic in recent years, I would argue that Arsene's ability in this area is second to none. Arsenal also have more space in which Smalling can develop, we have only one young top class centre back in his prime, Manure have Ferdinand and Vidic, as well as some good young prospects like Evans. The fee of around ten million pounds is a hell of a price for a kid who has barely played at the top level, it is a gamble in anyone's book, it remains to be seen whether he has the temperament to survive at the top level. Bringing in young players for huge money is always a massive gamble, for every Rooney there are more than a dozen Jeffers, Djemba Djembas and Bellions. Arsene is sorry to have missed out and wishes the player well, but how Smalling may come to regret his decision in time.