Arsene Wenger: Yaya Sanogo can emulate Nicolas Anelka

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Yaya Sanogo can emulate the success of Nicolas Anelka in late 1990s

Arsenal duo Yaya Sanogo and Lukas Podolski Photo: Yaya Sanogo/Facebook

Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to pick Yaya Sanogo against Liverpool and Bayern Munich by pointing to the success of Nicolas Anelka at the Gunners.

Wenger opted to start the 21-year-old against Bayern in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie after the French youngster produced a solid display in a 2-0 victory over Liverpool last Sunday.

I believe up front that it’s not experience that decides things. At the back, it’s different. But up front it’s an instinctive job

Arsene Wenger

The Arsenal manager’s surprise selection caused a stir after established first-choice striker Olivier Giroud, who is the north London side’s top scorer this season, was rested for the FA Cup fifth-round triumph.

However, Wenger pointed to the success of Anelka in his three-year spell at the Gunners between 1996 and 1999 after being plucked from relative obscurity by the French boss at Paris Saint-Germain.

“He is very, very ambitious and believes in his quality,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website. “He is very passionate and naturally has a great desire. You can see that in games. He is ready for a fight.

“When you look at his stature, he is a similar shape to Giroud but you feel there is a lot more to come out with him. He has a lot of improving to do. But you have to be open-minded. If he does well, he will play. If he doesn’t, he won’t.

He added: “I believe up front that it’s not experience that decides things. At the back, it’s different. But up front it’s an instinctive job. Experience helps a little bit. But the belief, the confidence, is more important up front than the experience.

“When I started to play Anelka, everybody said: ‘Why do you start Anelka, why not buy a striker?’ We won a championship with him. It’s just like that, if we feel they are ready then they play.”

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