Wenger says Welbeck will improve

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck in action against Borussia Dortmund

Welbeck has not scored a club goal since 8 March

17 September 2014
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Manager Arsene Wenger says Arsenal “have to be patient” with new signing Danny Welbeck after his miss against Borussia Dortmund.

The 23-year-old England forward –

who signed from Manchester United earlier this month

– fired wide after being put clean through when the Champions League game was goalless in Germany.

Dortmund went on to win the

Group D game 2-0

at Signal Iduna Park.

“Danny will improve, we don’t have to make a problem of that,” said Wenger.

Former Arsenal striker John Hartson on BBC Radio 5 live:

“Arsenal papered over the cracks last season, winning the FA Cup and just sneaking into the top four. Their performances against the big teams in the last few years have been unacceptable. They could have conceded five or six against Dortmund. Without overreacting, it was a really woeful defensive performance from Arsenal.”

Welbeck scored both goals as England defeated

Switzerland 2-0 in a Euro 2016 qualifier

on 8 September.

But Arsenal’s £16m transfer deadline signing has not found the net at club level since scoring for Manchester United in a 3-0 win at West Brom on 8 March.

“He had a very lively first-half,” said Wenger following the defeat in Germany.

“He had two or three good chances but couldn’t finish them. There was one obvious one. We have to be patient with him.”

Wenger refused to blame individuals for Arsenal’s poor display in Dortmund.

“It’s very difficult to go into any individual assessment of any player because as a team we were not at the requested level,” added the Frenchman.

Wenger said midfielder Jack Wilshere “turned an ankle” towards the end but finished the game.

“It’s difficult to say how bad it is,” added the Gunners boss. “But because of his history I’m a bit cautious.”

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Wenger ‘wanted Welbeck on loan’

Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck scored 29 goals in 142 appearances for Manchester United

11 September 2014
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he would not have signed striker Danny Welbeck on transfer deadline day had he been in the country.

The 23-year-old left boyhood club Manchester United in

a £16m switch to the Gunners

while Wenger was away in Rome for a charity game.

Wenger said: “If I’d stayed at home he wouldn’t be here now.”

He refused to elaborate on that but added he initially wanted Welbeck on loan with an option to buy.

However, Wenger said he was “happy” to make the transfer permanent – though he would not reveal whether Welbeck will start against Manchester City on Saturday.

“I cannot tell you if Welbeck will start but it’s a possibility. I have to assess the squad,” said the Frenchman.

Welbeck, who

scored both of England’s goals in the 2-0 win over Switzerland

on Monday, is confident he can score plenty of goals for Arsenal if he is given a run of games as an out-and out striker.

“Once I get into the box and get the opportunities I have got faith in my ability,” he said.

“Before I wasn’t getting into the box because I wasn’t playing too much as a striker and I had to worry about my defensive work. Once I get the opportunity and a run of games up front I will do my best.”

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey could also be fit to start against the Premier League champions at the Emirates Stadium.

The player went over on his ankle in

Wales’ 2-1 victory over Andorra

in midweek, which was played on a 3G pitch.

“His ankle injury will be assessed today, he has a little chance of playing on Saturday,” said Wenger.

He said he was “relieved” the injury was not a bad one, adding: “I was haunted in my head about last year’s injury, it was a little muscular injury and he was then out for three months.”

Ramsey had earlier said

he believed he would be fit for Saturday’s game.

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Arsenal fans will get behind Welbeck – Transfer Deadline Day

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Arsenal fans will get behind Welbeck – Transfer Deadline Day

Arsenal active in window – Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at Leicester

31 August 2014
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is aiming to bring in a new striker before the transfer window closes on Monday.

With key forward Olivier Giroud out injured, the Gunners were held to

a 1-1 draw

by newly-promoted Leicester on Sunday, despite having 24 shots.

After the match, Wenger was asked about his attacking options and said: “We are very active in the window. We are working hard to find a solution.

“Nobody can predict what will happen in the next 24 hours.”

Giroud, who scored 16 Premier League goals last season and has two this term, was injured against Everton last weekend. The 27-year-old will be

out until the end of December

after having surgery on a broken leg.

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud broke his leg minutes after equalising against Everton last Saturday

In the Frenchman’s absence, Wenger started with versatile forward Alexis Sanchez – a £35m summer signing from Barcelona – up front for the

1-0 Champions League win

against Besiktas in midweek and the Chile international scored the only goal of the game.

At Leicester, 21-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo led the line to less effect and was replaced by German international Lukas Podolski on 77 minutes as Arsenal dropped two points, although Sanchez was again on target before his goal was cancelled out by Leonardo Ulloa’s strike.

“The pressure to buy is always there,” said Wenger.

“But let’s not fool ourselves that the solution every time you don’t win is to buy a new player – it would be too easy.”

Arsenal had been linked with a move for QPR’s

£10.5m striker Loic Remy,

but the 27-year-old joined Chelsea earlier on Sunday.

Wenger refused to comment on any interest in the Frenchman, but said if the right player became available he would try to bring him in before Monday’s transfer deadline.

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Deadline day like poker – Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger signed £42.5m Mesut Ozil in last season’s summer transfer window

29 August 2014
Last updated at

Arsene Wenger believes transfer deadline day is like a “poker game”, as he seeks to add to the Arsenal squad before the window closes on Monday.

The Gunners boss says many clubs bluff during the final days of business.

“I will be actively involved on the final day of the window and I will be on alert until the last minute of transfer deadline day,” he said.

“Many clubs are on the market and everybody knows each other. The last few days are a poker game.”


splashed out £42.5m

this time last year on Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil and says they are always prepared to spend on the right player.

But he added: “There’s a lot of lies there in the few days, everybody is interested in the same player even if you’re the only one who wants the player.”

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud broke his leg minutes after equalising against Everton last Saturday

Wenger, whose team travel to promoted Leicester City on Sunday, says he has enough striking options to cover for Olivier Giroud who has had

surgery on a broken leg.

The French striker was top-scorer last season with 22 goals and is expected to be out for four months.

Wenger said: “If I give you the number of strikers I have at the moment, it’s absolutely unbelievable.

“We have (Yaya) Sanogo, (Alexis) Sanchez, we have (Theo) Walcott, we have (Lukas) Podolski, we have Giroud who will come back during the season and I forget maybe one or two. (Joel) Campbell can play centre forward as well.

“The success of a season doesn’t depend on one player that you buy or not. I think you do it when you think it strengthens your squad. If you find the right player you want to do it. We have shown in the last two seasons, when we think money has to be spent we do it.”

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Sanchez showed real fight – Wenger

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for Arsenal against Besiktas

27 August 2014
Last updated at

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Alexis Sanchez’s performance in the Champions League

1-0 win over Besiktas

shows he has the fighting qualities to succeed in the Premier League.

The £35m signing from Barcelona scored the only goal in Arsenal’s narrow qualifying win at Emirates Stadium.

Wenger said: “Alexis had a good game. He was mobile, dangerous and showed great fighting spirit.

“These are qualities that will be important in the Premier League.”

Sanchez’s first goal for his new club, on the stroke of half-time, sent the Gunners into Thursday’s group stage draw for the 17th consecutive season.

However, Wenger admitted Arsenal had anxious moments, especially after defender Mathieu Debuchy was sent off for a second yellow card 14 minutes from time – this after seeing Aaron Ramsey get a red card in the first leg.

He said: “We produced the performance we wanted on the tactical, technical and mental side that was required against a good team. We couldn’t finish the game off so of course it was nervous for the last 10 minutes.”

Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal’s Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez takes a free-kick against Besiktas

Besiktas felt they were denied two first-half penalties when Debuchy tackled Mustafa Pektemek and Jack Wilshere tangled with Ramon Motta in the area.

Wenger admitted: “Maybe we were lucky with one, the one with Jack, but I was also frustrated with the sending off. It was very harsh because Debuchy went for the ball. There was no intent to make a foul or stop the counter attack and he got the ball.

“We would have liked to have won the game earlier because it would have made it a lot easier but we wanted to qualify and we did it against a very good team.”

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Podolski staying at Arsenal – Wenger

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski

Podolski scored 12 goals in 29 appearances for Arsenal last season

26 August 2014
Last updated at

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says that forward Lukas Podolski will not be sold during the current transfer window.

The German international, 29, has been linked with a move away from the club this summer, with Juventus and Galatasaray both reportedly interested.

Wenger has included the player in his squad for Wednesday’s Champions League qualifying tie against Besiktas at the Emirates – the first leg

finished 0-0.

“Podolski is in the squad for Wednesday and will stay with us,” said Wenger.

Podolski, who was a member of the Germany squad who

won the World Cup in Brazil this summer,

has yet to make an appearance for the Gunners this season.

However, an injury to Olivier Giroud, who

could be out for up to three months after damaging his ankle

in the 2-2 draw against Everton on Saturday, leaves Podolski as one of four fit forwards at the club along with Alexis Sanchez, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo.

Lukas Podolski career

Cologne (2003-2006): 81 appearances, 46 goals

Bayern Munich (2006-2009): 86 appearances, 22 goals

Cologne (2009-2012): 88 appearances, 33 goals

Arsenal (2012-present): 69 appearances, 28 goals

Wenger is adamant that the team can continue to perform without Giroud and is confident they can get a positive result against Turkish side Besiktas to reach the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition for a 17th consecutive season.

“For us the Champions League is very important. We want to play at the top level, at international level,” added Wenger.

“It’s a very important game, more on the sporting side than the financial side.

“Nothing is unthinkable – it (not qualifying for the group stage) has happened to 99% of all the big clubs in Europe.

“But we want to be in there and we think we have the potential to do it. The task is clear and we know we can do it. So let’s do it.

“Experience plays a big part. We have big experience of playing in the Champions League and in highly pressurised games. We can use that.

“But what’s more important is putting in a good, strong performance.

“I’m confident this group is mentally prepared and ready for the fight.”

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Wenger unconcerned by Sanchez form

23 August 2014
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he is not concerned by the early season form of summer-signing Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean forward started as a lone striker in

Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton

but was substituted at half-time after an ineffectual performance.

“He is not ready physically but I am not worried about him,” said Wenger, whose side came from 2-0 down to claim a point at Goodison Park.

“Once he will be at his best physically his confidence will come back.”

Chile international Sanchez, 25, moved to Arsenal

from Barcelona in July for a fee in the region of £35m.

The Gunners were criticised last season for being too reliant on Olivier Giroud in attack and Sanchez was seen as an alternative up front.

However, he has yet to score in his four appearances to date and failed to touch the ball in the Everton box during his 45 minutes on the pitch in Merseyside.

Arsenal were 2-0 down through goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith when Sanchez was replaced by French striker Giroud after Everton dominated the first half.

However, Wenger’s side went on to claim a point courtesy of two goals in the last 10 minutes from Aaron Ramsey and the French substitute.

It maintains the Gunners’ unbeaten start to the season and leaves them on four points from two matches.

“Once you are 2-0 down it can go both ways,” added Wenger. “We had a great response with complete desire to come back and the spirit was fantastic.

“In the end we got back to 2-2 and we got a strong point but a deserved one if you look at the chances we had, especially in the second half. We came back very late but our spirit got us a point.

“It shows the belief and the resilience is there. The second goal was offside but we took it on the chin and came back.

“We had a big test today. At half-time it was even bigger but we responded well.”

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No regrets over Fabregas – Wenger

21 August 2014
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has no regrets over his decision not to re-sign Cesc Fabregas this summer.

Spain midfielder Fabregas, 27, made an impressive Premier League debut for London rivals Chelsea as they

won 3-1 at Burnley on Monday.

Arsenal had a buy-back option on Fabregas, who left for Barcelona in 2011, but

decided not to exercise it.

“I have no regret about that at all. My regret is that he left,” said Wenger, whose side play Everton this weekend.

Fabregas, who played 305 games for the Gunners, eventually joined Chelsea on

a five-year deal,

ending his three-year stay at Barca.

The midfielder played a part in all three goals against Burnley and Wenger admitted it was “strange” to see his former player in the blue of Chelsea.

“It was difficult for him to leave us, but after that you accept he can move to some different clubs,” he added.

Cesc Fabregas factfile

Born Spain, May 1987.

Joined Arsenal from Barcelona as a 16-year-old in 2003.

Scored 57 goals in 303 games for the Gunners, and won the 2005 FA Cup.

Joined Barcelona in 2011, scoring 35 goals in 129 appearances.

Helped Barcelona win La Liga in 2013 and Copa del Rey in 2012.

Scored 13 goals in 89 appearances for Spain, including winning the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship.

Wenger believes Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey, 23, is more than filling the void left by Fabregas.

“What is good in life is that someone moves out and someone else takes over and he has developed,” he said. “He is younger than Cesc and the potential is there to get more out of him.”

Wenger added that

Ramsey’s dismissal

during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Besiktas and an ankle injury suffered by captain Mikel Arteta in the same game had left him considering a move for a defensive midfielder.

Wenger admits he does not know how long Arteta will be sidelined, adding: “He had a scan on Wednesday afternoon. I haven’t got the result… I don’t know how long he will be out for. We will be a bit short, of course.

“If it is a long-term injury, that puts us in a position where we have to be creative.

“We are open as well to any opportunity, until the end of the transfer window, who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number.”

Arsenal expect to be boosted this weekend by the return of their trio of German World Cup winners, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil.

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Ramsey red card unbelievable – Wenger

20 August 2014
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was angry with the decision to send off Aaron Ramsey as his side drew with Besiktas in their Champions League play-off.

Both of Ramsey’s cautions came for pulling back Besiktas players, and his red card means he will miss the second leg at Emirates Stadium on 27 August.

“Neither the first nor the second yellow card was deserved,” Wenger said.

“When you see some of the fouls that were made and we go home with Ramsey sent off, it is a bit unbelievable.”

Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the lucrative group stages of the Champions League for the 17th successive season are in the balance after an open game in Istanbul ended goalless.

Arsenal’s record in Champions League qualifiers

Arsenal had won all 12 of their previous Champions League qualifying games, scoring 29 goals and conceding only three, while keeping nine clean sheets. They beat Fenerbahce 3-0 in the first leg of their play-off last season, again in Istanbul, going on to win 5-0 on aggregate.

Ramsey, who scored a

stoppage-time winner against Crystal Palace

in the Gunners’ first Premier League game of the season on Saturday, was sent off with 11 minutes to go.

He was shown a second yellow card for tugging on former Arsenal midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup’s shirt after losing possession near the halfway line.

The dismissal was Ramsey’s first in senior club football, although he was sent off playing for Wales in a World Cup qualifier against Scotland in 2013.

And Wenger was furious with Serbian referee Milorad Mazic, who also sent Besiktas boss Slaven Bilic to the stands in injury time.

“In the second half the performance of the referee was very bad,” Wenger said. “Ramsey’s second yellow card, I cannot see where that came from, it was a huge decision.

“I felt a lot was wrong in the second half but, overall, it was a difficult game maybe to referee as well because everybody did fight for every ball.”

Wenger said Besiktas had stretched his side with their fast attacking play but, even though Ramsey will be suspended, he is confident of winning the second leg next week.

“It was a difficult match, played at a high pace,” Wenger added. “Besiktas played with 100 per cent pace in the game and fought for every single ball, and it was quick. We needed a great level of concentration.

“We always want to win but look, Besiktas could have won the game, and we could have won the game as well. Maybe a draw is a fair result because both teams had chances to win the game.

“We know the second leg will be certainly tight again, but we are at home, so the task is clear for us, we want to win.”

Wenger also confirmed he had reported to Uefa that an object had been thrown at him as he left the pitch at full-time at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

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