Arsene Wenger shrugs off claims by ’Match of the Day’ pundits Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer that Arsenal will fail to win this season’s Barclays Premier League title.
The Gunners have established a four-point lead at the summit of the table and are viewed by bookmakers as second favourites behind Manchester City to reclaim a crown they last seized in 2004.
Hansen and Shearer are among those who suspect they will be unable to maintain their challenge and while Wenger listens to such views, he dismisses them if they are unsupported by facts.
“Sometimes I watch it (Match of the Day), sometimes not,” Wenger said.
“I have enough experience to analyse what we do and how well we play. I don’t need someone else to tell me. I’m not upset by that at all.
“I take anything from anybody. I just try to analyse whether he has a point or not.
“Sometimes it’s just someone saying their opinion without an argument on something that makes sense.
“If it’s something based on hate or love, or just gut feeling then I just say ’OK, it’s an opinion – he might be right, he might be wrong’.
“Often he doesn’t sustain his opinion by some work he has done to support that argument.
“If you just say ’Arsenal will win the championship or Arsenal won’t win the championship because they haven’t won it for eight years’, then I think it’s just an opinion.
“When I arrived here people explained I couldn’t win the title as I’m foreign. Everybody has their own logic. I just think you win the title through your quality.
“If we didn’t win for eight years it’s because we weren’t good enough in the important moments of the season.
“We have a good opportunity to show we’re good enough so let’s take it.”
Wenger notes that now Arsenal are defying expectations by leading the title race, the focus of attention has drifted on their ability to cope with the psychological demands of being top.
“What are changing are your minds, not ours. Until now I was never asked about the pressure because it was always thought it was an accident that we are top and it won’t last,” he said.
“Now that it’s lasting a bit longer, people start to think ’we have to consider them a bit more seriously’.
“So now do we start to think is it pressure for us? No. We just continue to play well and that’s the pressure we have – the desire to play well.
“We want to be where we are. You have a bit less to lose when you chase it, but we have been in both situations.”
Arsenal are missing hamstring-injury victim Bacary Sagna for Wednesday night’s clash with Hull at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners are playing three matches in nine days and Wenger hints that he will make changes to prevent his players from becoming fatigued during this busy period.
“When you are in a position we are in, every game decides our future a little bit,” he said.
“What is at stake is how can we bring the quality of our concentration and focus into every game. The more you play the more that is difficult.
“That is why I try to rotate a little bit and keep that freshness in the team.”