'Arsenal's philosophy and football concepts are inspirational' – Wigan boss Roberto Martinez reveals respect for 'phenomenal team'

The Gunners are the first team the Lancashire club face in a demanding December, but the Spanish manager is looking forward to taking on the best and is happy with his squad
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has revealed his admiration for Arsenal, saying he finds Arsene Wenger's team "inspirational".

Martinez boasts an enviable record of having never lost to the Londoners at home, with Saturday's game against the Gunners the first of a series of matches against some of the biggest in the league, with the Lancashire club playing Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in December.

While Martinez admits it will be tough, he is looking forward to the challenge of taking on some of the biggest teams in the country, saying it is the "perfect time" to play them, with Arsenal first up at the DW Stadium.

“They are a phenomenal team,” Martinez told The Times. “Their philosophy and their football concepts are inspirational.

“It’s a tough moment [for us] but in terms of expectations it is as easy as it’s going to get.

“Whatever we get is a bonus and if we can carry on with the level we showed in the last two games, it’s great to compare yourself to top sides in this month, where expectations are none.

“We got four points in the last two games before a testing period. We’re going to learn a lot that’s going to help us in the last two thirds of competition and tell us what we need to do in January. It’s the perfect time to play all the top sides."

With an eye on the winter transfer window, he added: “In terms of money, we’re very limited and you need to be creative to work around that.

“We’ve identified two players for January and if we can get a player to improve the level of the dressing room then we’ll do it, but if we don’t, I’m quite happy with what we’ve got.”

First-team players Hugo Rodallega and Mohamed Diame see their contracts expire this coming summer and it is a concern for Martinez.

“At the moment it is too early but we want to keep our players. We need to find a solution with the players out of contract. The next few weeks are going to be very important,” he said.

Although the January window may be utilised, Martinez revealed he still harbours hopes of misfiring Colombian striker Rodallega rediscovering his form after putting him through his paces in a behind closed doors friendly.

“This season is the season we have the most competition for places,” he said.

“Hugo is a top player but it’s unfair to put hopes on one individual as it’s hard to handle. He’s had a stop-start season but we need him to regain fitness, as he and his goals have been vital.”

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