Arsenal Boss Wenger Identifies Ireland As Manchester City's Main Threat

The Gunners boss has pinpointed the efficient midfielder as the Citizen who could ruin his weekend...

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has spoken respectfully of the danger posed by Saturday's visitors to the Emirates Stadium, Manchester City, with one player in particular who should be underestimated.

Stephen Ireland, one of the Mancunians' bright lights in an inconsistent season and a contender for the club's player of the year, has been highlighted by the Frenchman as one of City's finest.

"He's a very good player with good work rate, good vision and a good technical level," Wenger told the club's official website.

"[He has] good efficiency as well in terms of assists. I personally rate him.

"I believe he has had a good season and since I have known him, he is a good player. I am surprised that he didn’t play in the national team."

Ireland, the player, is of course on something of a sabbatical from international duties with his country, the Republic of Ireland, due to some well-documented personal issues.

Meanwhile, Wenger has highlighted Arsenal's fixtures in April as being crucial to the way in which their season eventually culminates.

"Of course [April is important], not just for us but any given team," he added.

"March, April and May defines your season of course. We have put ourselves in a very strong position because of the hard work we have done now but now it’s the final part of the season where every single game becomes massively important."

Wenger was also questioned by reporters at his Friday press conference regarding his own future at the club. His current contract expires in 2011, and the Frenchman, whose team face seven games in 22 days, clearly regards such speculation at this stage as somewhat spurious, and would rather focus on the short-term.

He concluded, "That’s a long period in football nowadays, 2011. I believe I have always shown I am committed to fulfilling my contract so come back in 2011. 

"I don’t rule that out [seeing myself at Arsenal beyond 2011], I just feel I want to do well tomorrow. That’s the most important thing. 

"We are in a strong position as a team and we just want to focus on the short-term now. Our success depends on how well we focus on [the] short-term and how intelligent we are to rule out all the long-term speculation."

Zack Wilson, Goal.com