Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny has apologised - Arsene Wenger

Szczesny
Szczesny made errors for both goals in Southampton's 2-0 win against Arsenal

Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny has apologised to boss Arsene Wenger following reports the Poland keeper smoked in the showers after the New Year's Day loss at Southampton.

Wenger would not confirm Szczesny was caught with a cigarette, but did say the player had "made a mistake".

But the Frenchman has not ruled out recalling the 24-year-old for Sunday's Premier League match against Stoke.

"He made a mistake, he is not the first one or the last one," said Wenger, 65.

"I like Wojciech as a person and when he makes a mistake he stands up for it.

"I think he has contributed a lot to the good image of Arsenal and he learns from his mistakes.

"Of course he has apologised. He is a serious boy who works very hard, he doesn't need all that."

On controlling his players smoking

Wenger has previously criticised Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere, 23, for smoking a cigarette, labelling it "unacceptable".

"You can do what you want at home. You have a freedom. My issue is that the players here are judged on their performances. Ideally, the best way to have as high a level as possible is to behave as close to the rules."

On team news to face Stoke

Wenger has been without Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Germany attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil (knee) and France holding midfielder Mathieu Flamini (unspecified knock).

"Aaron Ramsey is back in training, Mesut Ozil is back in training, Mathieu Flamini is back in training - so we have got three players back.

"Danny Welbeck (thigh) is still not available for Sunday - he's a bit short. Maybe next week he will be available.

"Olivier Giroud is back from suspension so we have got a bigger squad than last week."

On the imminent return of Mesut Ozil

Germany attacking midfielder Ozil, 26, has been missing since the start of October with a knee injury.

"He will have another training session on Friday for only the second time because he was sick earlier in the week.

"He is certainly available for selection for Sunday. Whether I start him or not I haven't decided.

"He is an exceptional football player and he gives you continuity in your game. He is a very creative player and ideally you want all your best players available."

On Lukas Podolski accusing him of a 'lack of a respect'

The Germany international, 29, spoke out after joining Italian side Inter Milan on loan until the end of the season.

"I deny that completely. I had many conversations with him about going out on loan. He needed my agreement to go out on loan and without that he couldn't go.

"He didn't get enough opportunities to play so I gave him the opportunity to go. We have many players who can play in that position. When a player of his quality does not get enough games, too much competition is detrimental to a player's confidence.

"It is just a loan without an option to buy. That means he is back at the end of the season."

On Arsenal's transfer business during January

Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo, 21, will leave the Emirates on loan in the transfer window, while Wenger has been linked with signing St Etienne defender Loic Perrin,Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista and Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco.

"Sanogo will go out on loan. My option is preferably for him to stay in England. Hull is one of the opportunities, I spoke to Steve Bruce last week. He is interested but hasn't come back to me.

"Loic Perrin/Gabriel Paulista? We are not on the case. We keep all of our transfer business as quiet as possible.

"Isco? No, we have plenty of creative players. We are short on the defensive side of our game but not the offensive side. We have plenty of offensive players who don't get a chance to play so we wouldn't get someone else in the attack."

Wenger thinking of homeland

Frenchman Wenger was asked about the attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, where 12 people were shot dead.

"It is a dreadful end to a terrible situation. The whole country is shocked. France is a country with freedom of speech and to think you can can die today for your ideas and the way you want to speak is absolutely shocking.

"The whole country is united and I hope it will not create a divided country. The consequences of that would be terrible for the country."

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