Arsenal's Koscielny launches passionate defence of Wenger

LONDON: Arsene Wenger's recent record at Arsenal should not undermine the long-serving manager's ability to help his players develop and fulfil their potential, defender Laurent Koscielny has said.

Despite winning the FA Cup twice in the last three campaigns, Wenger has come under growing pressure for his failure to guide Arsenal to the Premier League title since 2004.

"You may say that we haven't won the title for a long time, but he has not just built players, he's built men too. Every player who has played for Arsenal has grown here and has become a man," Koscielny told the club's website.

"It's a big number (of players). For me and the others, it's a good opportunity to be with him and learn from him. He's passionate about football. He loves football and he loves to watch his team play well with the ball.

"That's why he's here again after 20 years. Along with a lot of people, he's helped this club grow with a new stadium, a new training ground, and he built the platform for us to compete for the Premier League and Champions League every year."

Arsenal, who are fourth in the table, eight points behind leaders Chelsea after 21 games, host 10th-placed Burnley on Sunday.