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Rediff.com  » Sports » Arsenal's fighting spirit is fine by Wenger

Arsenal's fighting spirit is fine by Wenger

October 02, 2004 11:18 IST

Arsene Wenger said Wednesday's bust-up between club captain Patrick Vieira and team mate Lauren proves his Premier League champions still burn with desire to reach new heights.

Media reports said Vieira and the Cameroon defender were separated by Norwegian police after a furious argument almost came to blows on the team bus following a 1-1 Champions League draw with Rosenborg in Trondheim.

But as Arsenal prepare to extend their record-breaking unbeaten league run to 48 against London rivals Charlton Athletic at Highbury on Saturday, Wenger ruled out any action against either player and applauded their attitude instead.

"We all had a joke about it this morning, we said we'd get the boxing gloves out," Wenger said at the club's training ground on Friday. "We were all surprised that such a small incident could provoke such an interest.

"The police over-reacted. There was a professional disagreement on the bus, which wasn't about the goal, but it shows that the players care about what matters to them, which is winning games.

"I would be more likely to take action if they didn't care. I would rather this attitude than the other one where players hide and say things behind people's backs.

"Sometimes it goes a bit further but these players want to win every game."

Of more concern to Wenger than squabbling team mates is beating Charlton, a club who have given Arsenal problems in the past.

"Charlton always give us a hard time," said Wenger, who will rest Ashley Cole, Edu and Robert Pires on Saturday. "It's a derby and I'm sure they will play with five in midfield and make plenty of tackles.

"The statistics show that we have not been having as many shots as we were at the start of the season, but we're still winning so I'm happy.

"We're top of the league with 19 points, we're top of our Champions League group, it's a crisis!"

Non-flying Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp will return to the line-up after not travelling to Norway, while 17-year-old midfielder Cesc Fabregas and left back Gael Clichy will also start, along with Sol Campbell who will be starting his third game in a week.

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