Gunners’ cross-hairs fixed only on hunting Wolves

ARSENE WENGER emphasised Arsenal’s desperation to win a trophy this season by insisting today’s Premier League match against Wolves was more important than next week’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

The Gunners, currently second in the Premier League, four points behind Manchester United, face the second from bottom club while United take on their City rivals in the lunchtime fixture.

Wenger admitted his side will watch the first half of the derby before leaving for the Emirates but revealed United could suffer a wobble after losing their unbeaten run last weekend.

Asked if they’d find it tough to bounce back, Wenger, who amassed a 49-game unbeaten run in 2004 with the ‘Invincibles’ said:

“It is a derby so anything can happen. It is maybe a chance for Manchester City to come back to Manchester United. It will be a very open derby, more than ever.

“It’s very difficult psychologically to start again. For us it was 49 games, we lost the 50th game under special circumstances. It was even more difficult to swallow, the sense of injustice. It’s always difficult when you are on an unbeaten run and you lose it.”

The Arsenal manager is not contemplating resting any of his top stars against Wolves, who ended United’s unbeaten run seven days ago.

Wenger said: “I really do just focus on Wolves. We are so much focused on the Premier League that I cannot even imagine playing against Barcelona next week because it is out of my mind completely.

“There is no Barcelona in mind. There is Wolverhampton in mind. We started in August to fight for every single ball to be in a position to fight for the Premier League and now is the time of truth.”

Wenger’s main concern is that his side move on from the psychological effects of the 4-4 draw against Newcastle at St James’ Park last weekend, when Abou Diaby was sent off after a confrontation with Joey Barton.

Wenger met up with the squad for the first time yesterday after they returned from international action and said: “I didn’t see the players (this week). Basically it was good to go away but the damage could have been much bigger.

“We lost two points we should have got but mathematically we are one point closer to where we want to be.”

Diaby is suspended after his sending-off and Tomas Rosicky has a groin problem but Johan Djourou is fit and Denilson is again available. Striker Robin van Persie has recovered from the bout of flu which kept him out of Holland’s midweek friendly against Austria.

Meanwhile, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy does not believe his side’s shock win over Manchester United will have any bearing when they visit the Emirates Stadium.

To illustrate the point, McCarthy recalled his side’s previous away day – a disappointing 1-0 reverse against Bolton.

“I don’t take the view that the game before has a direct effect on the next game,” he said. “It can’t, because when you see our result against Bolton, how on earth does it stack up what we did against Manchester United?

“Most people would have thought they’d have turned up here and slapped us.”

Wolves owner Steve Morgan, meanwhile, has defended the club’s recent work in the transfer market.

McCarthy brought in Adam Hammill, Leigh Griffiths, Jamie O’Hara and Adriano Basso in January for a combined £650,000 and Morgan says the newly-announced stadium redevelopment will not hinder their recruitment policy in the long run.

“Anyone jumping down my throat saying ‘we’re not buying players’ is talking rubbish,” Morgan told the Express and Star newspaper.

“There were one or two moans and groans that we didn’t spend more, but anyone who saw Adam Hammill and Jamie O’Hara knows we’ve been very astute.”

Wenger: Players must not abuse Twitter

ARSÈNE WENGER has no problem with his players using Twitter — but not to question referees.

The social networking website was in the news this week after Jack Wilshere commented on theperformance of Phil Dowd in Arsenal’s 4-4 draw with Newcastle last Saturday.

“I don’t believe you can stop the players using it because everyone has the freedom to press his point,” said the manager.

“You want it to be intelligent in a good way, in a positive way. The players can get closer to the fans and that is one of the positive aspects of it.

“We do not want to get involved in referee’s decisions, we want to take care of our attitude and behaviour.”

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