Arsene Wenger says he is unconcerned about outside perceptions of his Arsenal team’s capabilities to maintain their run at the top of the Premier League. Many have questioned whether Arsenal, who sit four points clear of Chelsea, can mount a serious title challenger after not winning the league for coming up 10 years. But whether pundits’ perceptions are changing or not, Wenger claims that his players are purely focused on performing in each game.
“The only thing that is changing is not our minds, it's your mind, because until now you never ask me about the pressure because you always thought it was an accident that we are [top] and it won't last,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website.
“Now that it's lasting a bit longer, you start to think: 'we have to consider them a bit more seriously.' You start to think is it a pressure for us? No. We just continue to play well and that's the pressure we have -- the desire to play well.”
Arsenal have recovered well from their long unbeaten run, which was ended by Manchester United last month, and have recorded back-to-back wins over Southampton and Cardiff City. Against Hull City on Wednesday, though, Wenger will have to do without right-back Bacary Sagna, who has a hamstring complaint. Carl Jenkinson will take the place of the France international.
While dissension remains behind the scenes at Hull over the proposed name change by the club’s owner Assem Allam, the team is enjoying a fine start to their return to the Premier League. Steve Bruce’s men come into the match at the Emirates on the back of their best win of the season when they beat Liverpool 3-1 on Sunday. Currently 10th in the table, Bruce is eager for his side to hold no fear going up against the league leaders.
“We’ve shown when we’ve been to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle, Everton and Tottenham that we’ve made a fist of it,” he said, according to Hull City’s official website. “We maybe haven’t got the right result in those games but I think we have to approach tonight’s game in the same way. Let’s go and have a go, enjoy it and see what we can do."
Hull will be without center-back Curtis Davies through suspension, with James Chester likely to take his place. Key to their chance of getting something from the match will be former Tottenham man Tom Huddlestone and his midfield partner, on loan from Arsenal’s local rivals, Jake Livermore.
D: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
M: Flamini, Ramsey
Walcott, Ozil, Cazorla
D: Elmohamady, Chester, Bruce, Figueroa
M: Koren, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC Sports Premier League Extra Time, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.