Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger Thanks Manchester United's Alex Ferguson For Chant Intervention

Frenchman appreciates Fergie's effort to stop abuse…

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his gratitude to Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson.

The United manager recently endorsed an open letter requesting that Red Devils fans cut out the vile and abusive chants that are often aimed Wenger's way at Old Trafford.

"I am grateful for that. I don't think I deserve this [the abuse]. I don't know what I have done to get these obscene chants at Manchester United or anywhere else," Wenger told reporters at a press conference.

"Yes [it is good that Ferguson has intervened]. Maybe it is because of my persistence here. I don't know what to say, I have never bothered about that frankly."

Meanwhile, Wenger went on to reveal that the back injury which has sidelined Gunners defender Gael Clichy is the same injury that kept the player out of the final 11 games of last season.

"Yes, but it is on the other side, his vertebrae," the Frenchman explained.

"He had a stress fracture on one side and it has happened on the other side. Normally it happens on both sides but his happened [before] on one side. It was a gradual thing.

"He said during the [Tottenham] game that he could play on pain-free but the pain after every game became worse so we made a scan on Monday and we found a little fracture."

As for the ultimate effect of Clichy's absence last season, Wenger was uncertain but felt that it had been negative.

"It is difficult to know because we lost [William] Gallas as well together," he added.

"We lost a lot of experience and it is very difficult to know how much it affected our defence.

"I don't like to change too much at the back. I change the full backs sometimes but the centre backs do not change around much."

The Gunners will also be without Nicklas Bendtner for tonight's Champions League clash with AZ Alkmaar, and the side will miss his aerial strength, according to Wenger.

"Bendtner is a big blow. I played him against Tottenham [Hotspur] because he is strong in the air," he said.
"It gives us more variety in our games because we can lose possession yet still win the next header with Bendtner.

"He makes us dangerous at set pieces and so we can change a little bit our game."

Zack Wilson, UK