Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal to enter contract talks with Jack Wilshere reveals Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger reiterated Arsenal's plans to discuss a contract extension with Jack Wilshere after the midfielder again excelled in their 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace.

However after the Frenchman's record-equalling 810th fixture as a Premier League manager, he conceded Alexis Sanchez's future remains uncertain.

On the same evening Wenger drew level with the record set by Sir Alex Ferguson, from inside his own half Wilshere played the classy ball that released Sanchez beyond Palace's defence to score his second goal and Arsenal's third.

The hosts again responded through James Tomkins' late header - Andros Townsend had earlier levelled following Shkodran Mustafi's tap-in - but despite late pressure remain 16th after their inability to secure a point.

Wilshere's growing influence again demonstrated the importance of securing his future at a time when, like Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, unless Arsenal make progress he will be able to leave for free at the season's end.

Wenger said: "We need to sit down with him. Beginning of January, it's planned.

"There is no delay. I said we would sort out his situation in December, end of December. I told him we want to meet and sit down with him to talk about the future. That's what I did.

"We play on Sunday (at West Brom), we play on Wednesday (at home to Chelsea). At the moment the focus has to be on the games."

Wilshere added on Sky Sports: "I spoke to the boss and he said he will speak to me so we'll see when he speaks to me, I am sure it will be done."

On his improving form, the midfielder added: "It's difficult to say, I was happy with my form last year, I'm probably better now, I feel better, I feel fitter, I'm getting better each game and I am enjoying my football."

Asked of Sanchez, who has long interested league leaders Manchester City, the 68-year-old Wenger responded: "Nobody knows what will happen. It's difficult to speculate.

"We are focused on short-term, that means the next game with the players committed and ready to fight. It's not a guarantee of how long you stay somewhere. As long as you are somewhere, you give your best.

"They are questioned, always, when people don't have long contracts. The best way to show they are committed is to give that kind of performance. Jack is coming back in competitive shape. He gives something to the team, and gave a good final ball for the third goal.

"At 3-2 it became nervy again, and it finished in a less controlled way, but it was a good team performance."

Roy Hodgson's Palace had been undefeated in their previous eight fixtures, and the former England manager said: "We didn't pressurise them as well as they did us, which is a recipe for disaster against a team of their quality.

"But we remedied that. We were on the front foot at 1-1 and looking good value, that we might kick on, but we conceded two goals - especially the second one, which was a body blow.

"We showed great resilience and determination after that to in no way capitulate and take the game to them, risking the counter-attack. Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to get the third goal which, maybe had the second come earlier, we might have been able to get."

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