Arsenal active in window – Wenger





Arsene Wenger

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




31 August 2014
Last updated at
19:55













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
16:02













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.”

Wenger

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
23:15














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
15:06













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
Last updated at
21:56













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
Last updated at
14:23













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
Last updated at
00:13













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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We want to fight with best – Wenger








18 August 2014
Last updated at
22:32













Champions League play-off first leg

  • Venue: Ataturk Olympic Stadium
  • Date: Tuesday, 19 August
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST

Coverage: BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 live

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the prestige of playing in the Champions League is more important than the financial rewards it brings.

The Gunners, who have reached the group stage for the last 16 seasons, meet Besiktas in Tuesday’s play-off first leg in Turkey.

Wenger said: “Financially it’s a big game, but we want to compete at the top and want to fight with Europe’s best.”

Defender Kieran Gibbs, 24, is out for three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Gibbs was hurt in

Saturday’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace,

Arsenal’s opening match of the Premier League season. Nacho Monreal will be a likely replacement.

Striker Yaya Sanogo will not be in the staring line-up, but central defender Laurent Koscielny is fit after recovering from an Achilles problem.

Qualification to the Champions League group stages will bring Arsenal £6.8m in prize money, with each subsequent group match worth about £2.4m of additional match-day revenue.

Arsenal, who finished fourth last season, brought in Chile forward

Alexis Sanchez in a £35m deal

from Barcelona this summer, following on from the club-record signing of

Mesut Ozil for £42.4m in September 2013.

Wenger added: “We have always in the history at the club adapted to our finances. What’s very important is that we want to play against the best.”

The play-off second leg takes place at the Emirates on Wednesday, 27 August.







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Arsenal need Champions League – Wenger








18 August 2014
Last updated at
09:09













Arsenal must beat Besiktas to earn a place in the Champions League group stage, “no matter what it costs”, says manager Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners, who have reached the group stage for the last 16 seasons, travel to Turkey for Tuesday’s first leg, with the home leg on Wednesday, 27 August.

“We’re desperate to go through. We want to play in the Champions League we know how big these games are,” said Wenger.

Arsenal defenders Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs face fitness tests.

That could mean an earlier than expected recall for Per Mertesacker, who returned late for pre-season training after captaining Germany to World Cup success.

Wenger confirmed: “It was our plan to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton [on Saturday], but in case of emergency I will take Mertesacker.

“It is a bit early for him. Ideally we would need one more week preparation, but he is willing to play, no problem.”

Arsenal

beat Crystal Palace 2-1

in their opening Premier League game of the season on Saturday before flying out to Istabnul.

They will face Slaven Bilic’s side at the 72,000-capacity Ataturk Olympic Stadium, where Liverpool beat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, as Besiktas’s Vodafone Arena is being redeveloped.

Besiktas, runners-up in last season’s Turkish championship defeated Dutch side Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate in the third round of qualifying, with former Chelsea striker Demba Ba scoring a hat-trick in the second leg.

Arsenal

defeated another Turkish club, Fenerbahce,

at the same stage last season.







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Kick-off has come too soon – Wenger








15 August 2014
Last updated at
22:45













Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League should have kicked off one week later to give players the chance to recover from the World Cup.

The Gunners had 11 players in Brazil, and Germany World Cup winners Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski have only just returned.

“We could have done with one week later in all the competitions,” said Wenger.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says World Cup fatigue has also stopped him from fielding his strongest line-up.

Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski will not feature in Saturday’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace or, in all likelihood, Tuesday’s Champions League play-off first leg at Beskitas.

The Champions League final is on 6 June 2015 in Berlin and Wenger would have liked to see England following Spain and Italy with later opening fixtures.

He said: “The final of the World Cup was on July 13; the start of the Premier League season is August 16. If you want to give some holiday to the players, your preparation becomes very short.

“If you don’t give players enough holiday or enough build-up in their preparation and play them straight away, then they get injured.”

Brazil trio Oscar, Willian and Ramires, Belgian pair Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, and Germany’s Andre Schurrle have missed most of Chelsea’s pre-season after the World Cup.

And ahead of Monday night’s trip to Burnley, Mourinho said: “Are they ready individually? No.

“But we have to be ready as a team for Monday.

“Can it be a team of six guys not ready? No.”

And he added: “This is modern football. It’s going in this tendency – more matches, more competitions, less time to work, even not enough time to have a real holiday for bodies and brains that top football players need.

“There’s not enough time.”







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