- Premier League
Absolutely ridiculous to talk about title - Wenger
Arsene Wenger says it is "absolutely ridiculous" to talk about the Premier League title after just six games, but expressed full confidence that Arsenal can continue their fine start to the season.
The Frenchman also described the opening-day 3-1 loss to Aston Villa as an "accident" as he praised Olivier Giroud as one of Europe's leading strikers as well as the contribution of Mathieu Flamini.
Wenger was initially asked about the "belief" running through the team after five wins in six which have put Arsenal top of the league.
"You believe 100% or you don't believe. So that's how much our belief is. I think at our job the most important thing is to have a good balance between ambition and humility. Ambition because of course we want to win but humility as well because we know we have only played six games," he said.
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"To speak today about the title is absolutely ridiculous but what we have done is to continue to have the same ambition, and I think the team has a good humility level and is conscious that we want to improve."
Wenger stated the response to Villa was what he expected.
"What we said was positive because I trust the mental response of this group. What people forgot about is we were on a very long run, since March we have not lost a game and if you put that into perspective it was just one single game that we lost in 21," he said.
"Now I think it was a combination of factors. The fact that we had not bought anybody, we had not won the league for years and the fact that we started badly. All this together made the situation a little bit explosive but purely on the results perspective it was an accident that can happen.
"We played with 10 men and overall it was just about responding with the qualities that we already have in our group."
Wenger went on to praise Giroud, who turned 27 on Monday
"I am never surprised by the improvement of the players, because that gives you the feeling that we are doing the right things, so I do not want to diminish that too much. Olivier Giroud always had a better second season everywhere he played than the first one. For him, the jump from Montpellier to Arsenal was quite big. In the first season, it is always quite difficult.
"He is already [one of the leading strikers in Europe]. I do not calculate like that, I just think will he improve, be better in all the aspects of his game? As long as all the aspects are there, the attitude is there as well, then at 27 you always think the best years are coming for him now."
The Arsenal manager also feels the contribution of Flamini has been key.
"Many people questioned us when we did that but since he played he has done very well. Overall, what is most important is the balance of the team and that on every day when your team plays, you get that balance right. Flamini contributes to that and that's why I think he could contribute to the success of the team. But we have [Mikel] Arteta and [Aaron] Ramsey who can do that and many players who can play this role."
Wenger also described Rafael Benitez as a "top-class manager" ahead of the Champions League clash between Arsenal and Napoli and feels the fine job he did at Chelsea will come to be appreciated in time.
"People were tough with him because people did not expect him to go to Chelsea, but he did very well and dealt with it. In the end, with the time going on, people will realise he has done well," he said.
Wenger also joked about the number of points usually required to get through to the last-16.
"I would not like to be too mathematical, but they say on average it is 10.2 points which qualify you. How we make the [0.2] is a mystery, but that is generally what is needed."
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