Wenger has informed the players that he’s leaving – Tancredi Palmeri

Reports in Italy have revealed that Arsene Wenger has told his players that he will quit Arsenal at the end of this season.

According to Italian football journalist, Tancredi Palmeri, the Frenchman has informed the team members about his decision but has yet to have a meeting with the club’s board to inform people running the club as well.

Arsenal are reported to have offered Wenger a two-year contract extension although the Frenchman seems intentioned to part companies with the North London club after spending over 20 years with the Gunners.

Wenger’s Arsenal faced Bayern Munich yesterday with the impossible task of subverting the first leg’s verdict as Bayern Munich trashed the Gunners 5-1 in an Allianz Arena clash three weeks ago.

Many Arsenal fans will celebrate this news although Palmeri insists that the club’s board has yet to be informed about Wenger’s decision and that “everything can still happen.”

Also yesterday, Gilberto Silva became the latest Arsenal great to say his former manager Arsene Wenger has reached the end of the road.

The World Cup-winning midfielder, a cornerstone of Wenger’s ‘Invincible’ league champions of 2003-04, believes that a new breed of Premier League managers, including Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp – have the energy the 67-year-old lacks after over two decades at the Arsenal helm.

“I feel that the time has come,” the 2004 Premier League champion told Sport 360.

“The more the past is coming to a close, the more his time is coming – not because he can’t do the job any longer, but, perhaps because the other clubs have changed their way of working, the way of doings things.

“He hasn’t changed much, he hasn’t changed his way of working – not because he doesn’t want to, but it is not so easy to compete with clubs who spend a lot of money every season.

“Wenger has spent a lot more years than them (Conte, Guardiola and Klopp) in the Premier League. They are younger and motivated and they have a lot of energy to look around and source ways to win against Wenger.

“He has his own way of working, in which he believes. Irrespective of whether you are either a young or an old coach, you have to believe in something, and that’s what he does.”

Gilberto is not the only member of the Invincibles to have criticised Wenger, whose contract expires at the end of the season, in recent weeks. After last month’s 5-1 defeat former Arsenal defenders, Martin Keown and Lee Dixon said they believed the Frenchman’s time at the club was up.

Bad news for Arsenal as Cazorla is ruled out for the season

Santi Cazorla will not play for Arsenal again until next season, as he has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

The Spanish midfielder has not played for the Gunners since their 6-0 victory over Ludogorets in the Champions League in October last year.

Cazorla underwent surgery on his ankle in December and was expected to be out for three months.

Last month, the Premier League club activated a clause in his contract, which has seen his deal extended by two years.

The 32-year-old’s current contract was due to expire at the end of this season.

But an FA document shows that Arsenal took up the option on December 20, 2016. The club moved quickly to file the relevant paperwork with the FA, to avoid a scenario where Cazorla is eligible to speak with foreign clubs from January 1, 2017.

Cazorla has scored twice for Arsenal this season against Watford and Southampton.

Wenger Urges Arsenal to Keep Title Belief

Arsenal welcome fast-improving Hull City to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday looking to recover from two deeply damaging results that have all but ruined their Premier League title hopes.

Defeats at home to Watford and away at Chelsea have left Arsene Wenger’s side a mammoth 12 points behind the latter, who lead the way.

But Wenger is refusing to give up on his side’s chances of clawing back that deficit and has urged his players to respond following their twin setbacks.

“It’s never over,” the Arsenal manager said. “We cannot behave like that. Even if you think it is, I don’t. We cannot even think like that.

“We look at the teams around us and we are all in a pack that is very tight, where the fight for every position will be massive like it has always been in the Premier League, maybe even more this season than ever before.”

Wenger goes into the game under heavy pressure, with fan protests at Chelsea including one banner reading “enough is enough”.

He is out of contract at the end of the season and again refused to elaborate on what may happen when his current deal expires.

“My future is not the most important thing,” he told reporters at his weekly press conference on Thursday.

“My future is in front of me every time I make a half-turn. What is important for me is that Arsenal Football Club does well and I dedicate my whole energy to the club doing well.

“Arsenal is made of special strengths and that strength is to be united when things go wrong.

“It’s very nice for you to take care of how I feel, but it’s not the most important. I am a professional and I have to do a job and that’s what I want to do.”

– Hull lose Dawson, Hernandez –

Wenger added: “You cannot be a fan until last Tuesday (when Arsenal lost 2-1 at home to Watford) and not be a fan anymore and not be behind the team this Saturday. It doesn’t make sense.

“We are in a fight there. We absolutely have to be united or we have no chance to do it, even if we had two disappointing results.”

Mohamed Elneny is back for Arsenal after returning from Egypt duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Wenger still has to assess whether Hector Bellerin can play after he was concussed against Chelsea.

“We have a question over Bellerin,” said the Frenchman. “He’s going every day for tests and process. We will only know tomorrow (Friday) if he gets the green light.”

Hull have taken seven points from a possible 12 since Marco Silva’s appointment as manager last month, including a 0-0 draw at Manchester United and a 2-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.

But while they are now just a point from safety, their survival hopes have suffered a blow after injury ruled out key players Michael Dawson (calf) and Abel Hernandez (hamstring) for up to a month.

The loss of the pair is offset by the return of Elneny’s Egypt team-mate Ahmed Elmohamady, while on-loan winger Lazar Markovic is available again after being ineligible against his parent club Liverpool.

Dawson and Hernandez have scored six goals between them in the league this season, with the rest of the squad collectively accounting for only seven following the exits of Robert Snodgrass, Jake Livermore and Oumar Niasse.

Silva is also without Ryan Mason, Curtis Davies, Markus Henriksen and Will Keane, but the 39-year-old remains upbeat.

“We’ve got some players coming into contention so I have a few more difficult decisions to make in terms of team selection and that can only be a good thing,” he said.

“We have done well, but we know there is still a long way to go.”

Wenger Gave Al Pacino-style Inspirational Speech – Walcott

Theo Walcott has said Arsene Wenger has tried to inspire Arsenal players to the Premier League by giving an impassioned speech reminiscent of Al Pacino’s in “Any Given Sunday.”

Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1, thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s penalty in added time, to go second in the Premier League but they trail leaders Chelsea by eight points.

The Gunners haven’t won the title since 2004 but Wenger’s determination to secure it again is as big as ever.

Walcott told Arsenal’s YouTube channel: “He did a speech the other day. I won’t be able to do the speech because it was that good. It genuinely reminded me of that film ‘Any Given Sunday’ and I actually said that to him.

“I was a bit embarrassed and didn’t know if he’d seen the film, but he showed his passion and how long it’s been since we’ve won the title.

“He wants it like all of his players, but you can tell he really wants it which is really good to see.”

Kanu’s Goal Against Chelsea In My Arsenal Top 5 – Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu’s goal against Chelsea in 1999 ranks among his top five since joining the London club in 1996.

Wenger made this known while commenting on Olivier Giroud’s stunning goal against Crystal Palace on Sunday which he also ranked in his top five Arsenal goals.

Trailing 2-0 to Chelsea and with 15 minutes left, former Super Eagles superstar Kanu scored two quick goals to make it 2-2.

And on the stroke of 90 minutes, close to the corner flag, Kanu whipped in a right-foot curler into to the roof of the net to complete a remarkable 3-2 comeback win for Arsenal.

The French manager also listed Dennis Bergkamp’s goals against Leicester City and Newcastle (1997, 2002 respectively) and Thierry Henry’s solo goal against Real Madrid in the 2006 UEFA Champions League, as part of the best five goals he has witnessed as Arsenal manager.

“I’ve been spoiled in my career, I had many great players and many great strikers. [Giroud’s goal is] certainly in the top five,” Wenger told standard.co.uk.

“I remember Bergkamp, Henry with special goals.

“Bergkamp at Leicester, Newcastle. Thierry Henry at Real Madrid, Liverpool. Kanu at Chelsea. It’s difficult for me not to forget goals over 20 years.

“When you score 70, 80 a year by now that makes 1,600 goals. It’s difficult to get the best five.”

What Arsene Wenger Told Me About Iwobi – Rohr

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr believes there is more to come from youngster Alex Iwobi and he has it on the authority of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Iwobi has enjoyed a remarkable year for both club and country, establishing himself as a regular in the Arsenal side and also the Super Eagles.

He was also nominated for the 2016 Golden Boy award alongside Super Eagles teammate Kelechi Iheanacho.

According to standard.co.uk, following a meeting between Rohr and Wenger in October this year, the French manager informed the Eagles handler there is plenty more to come from the 20-year-old.

Rohr said: “When I met Arsene Wenger last month, we talked about Iwobi and he told me there’s more to his game than what we are seeing at the moment.

“He is a confident lad. He is not afraid to try new tricks in training and games. He can only get better; his best is yet to come.”

Arsenal Forward Lucas Perez Out for 6 to 8 weeks With Ankle Injury – Reports

Arsenal forward Lucas Perez is expected to be sidelined for around 6 to 8 weeks with ankle ligament damage, according to multiple reports in England and Spain.

Perez, who joined Arsenal from Deportivo La Coruna in August, had to be substituted on 72 minutes in the 2-0 EFL Cup win over Reading on Tuesday.

Publications including the International Business Times, The Guardian and Marca report that the 27-year-old is likely to be absent for around 6- 8 weeks, which would see him return at the end of December.

Perez has made six appearances in all competitions for Arsenal so far, scoring twice, but said earlier this month that he had “hoped to have more playing time.”

Arsene Wenger subsequently said he had been impressed with the Spaniard in training but urged him to transfer those performances into games.

FA back away from Wenger with preference for English manager

The FA have distanced themselves from Arsene Wenger becoming the next England manager after confirming their preference is for an Englishman.

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke, while answering questions from MPs on alleged corruption in football, said the governing body “would like an English manager if we can get one”.

He said: “But if we can’t, we’d like someone who has managed extensively in the Premier League so he understands the English football system, its development, the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) etc.

“And I think we’d be crazy to appoint anyone who has never worked in English football. So it’s a taxonomy.”

Arsenal boss Wenger recently stated he was open to managing England “one day” but backed interim boss Gareth Southgate to take on the job full-time.

Southgate fits the criteria having managed Middlesbrough in the Premier League for three years between 2006 and 2009, when they were relegated.

Current Englishmen managing in the Premier League are Eddie Howe, Alan Pardew, Sean Dyce and Mike Phelan.

Steve Bruce, who recently took over at Aston Villa, was interviewed before the job was given to Sam Allardyce in the summer and is one of just five English managers outside the top flight that have Premier League experience.

Leeds United boss Garry Monk is another, as well as Neil Warnock, Steve McClaren, who failed to take England to Euro 2008 as boss, and Southend manager Phil Brown.

Facing a grilling from the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Monday, FA chairman Clarke defended their handling of Allardyce’s departure after he was filmed by a newspaper discussing how to “get around” FA transfer rules.

Clarke said Allardyce “gave 100 per cent to FA commitments as manager” and “significant enquiries” on the ex-West Ham boss “raised no significant issues” before his appointment.

Clarke confirmed a financial settlement was made with Allardyce to terminate his contract by mutual consent, but he did not disclose the amount because of a confidentiality agreement.

Asked to justify the pay-off in light of grassroots issues, including a lack of funding, Clarke said: “I obeyed the law of the land and took the advice of a QC. Any right thinking person would rather spend money on facilities. But we will always obey the law. We took external advice.”

EPL: Mourinho feels heat as Wenger marks anniversary

Jose Mourinho has vowed to silence the critics when Manchester United face champions Leicester, while his old rival Arsene Wenger hopes to celebrate a memorable milestone with a rare success against Chelsea on Saturday.

Mourinho finds himself under fire less than two months into his United reign after three successive defeats and an unconvincing League Cup win at third tier Northampton.

United are already trailing six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and another setback at Old Trafford this weekend would be a huge blow to Mourinho’s bid to stamp his authority on an team that has underachieved in recent years.

After winning their first three league matches under Mourinho, as well as beating Leicester in the Community Shield, United lost to City and Watford, either side of a Europa League defeat at Feyenoord.

Mourinho’s tactics and team selections have been called into question, while there have been suggestions the manager’s public criticism of individual players, including injury-plagued defender Luke Shaw, has not gone down well in the dressing room.

Seeing off minnows Northampton did little to quell the rising tide of discontent but, in typically bullish fashion, Mourinho has come out fighting.

“We had a bad week. I know the world is full of Einsteins. I know they tried to delete 16 years of my career,” Mourinho moaned.

“They tried to delete an unbelievable history of Manchester United and to focus on a bad week with three bad results. But that’s the new football, it’s full of Einsteins.”

That Mourinho is at a low ebb on the same weekend that Wenger celebrates his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager won’t have been lost on the Frenchman.

Wenger, who has endured many barbs from Mourinho in the past, faces Chelsea looking to improve on a woeful record of five wins in his last 31 meetings against the Blues.

His last major milestone — his 1,000th match as Arsenal manager — was spoilt by a 6-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge.

But having seen a second-string team win 4-0 at Nottingham Forest in the League Cup in midweek, following a 4-1 success at Hull last weekend, Wenger is confident the depth of his squad will help restore order after a sluggish start to the season.

“We have four days to prepare for the (Chelsea) game, let’s focus on that now,” Wenger said.

“The performance shows that the players who played at Hull need to be on their toes and that’s what we want — competition for places.”

– New situation –

Chelsea go into the London derby buoyed by a 4-2 League Cup win at Leicester in which they came from 2-0 down.

One player desperate to feature at the Emirates is Cesc Fabregas, who made his name as a player under Wenger at Arsenal.

The Spain midfielder is yet to start in the league this season, but having scored twice in extra time at Leicester, he is hopeful of forcing his way into Antonio Conte’s line-up at the Emirates.

“It’s a new situation for me in my career after 13 years of basically playing all the time for my club and national team,” Fabregas said.

“And it’s been tough, I’m not going to deny it. But the last thing I will do is complain or put my hands up and give in.”

Table-topping City head to Swansea for the second time this week after winning 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium in the League Cup.

City have won all nine matches under boss Pepe Guardiola, including five in the league, and the Spaniard kept his team in south Wales to aid their recovery time during a busy period.

Even so, changes are certain as Sergio Aguero is back from suspension and captain Vincent Kompany is struggling with an injury suffered in midweek.

“I want us to recover well, and train well, prepare as well as possible for our game in Swansea, for our game in the Champions League and for Tottenham away,” Guardiola said.

Second placed Everton travel to Bournemouth aiming to bounce back from their first defeat, a midweek League Cup loss to Norwich, since Dutch coach Ronald Koeman took charge.

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)


Arsenal v Chelsea (1630 GMT), Bournemouth v Everton, Liverpool v Hull, Middlesbrough v Tottenham, Manchester United v Leicester (1230 GMT), Stoke v West Brom, Sunderland v Crystal Palace, Swansea v Manchester City


West Ham v Southampton (1500 GMT)


Burnley v Watford (1900 GMT)

Wenger Hopes Arsenal Play Catch-Up in Title Race

Arsenal’s meeting with Southampton on Saturday marks the start of important run of six games in 18 days as Arsene Wenger’s side play catch-up in the Premier League.

The new league campaign is only three games old but Arsenal already lie five points behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, who have all made perfect starts to the campaign.

And while Gunners boss Wenger is far too experienced to be overly concerned by the early league table, he knows the value of developing momentum in the title race before turning his attention to the club’s opening Champions League game at Paris Saint Germain next week.

The visit of Southampton offers Arsenal the chance to get off the mark on home turf after they lost their opening league game at the Emirates Stadium against Liverpool.

And Wenger will have a much more comfortable afternoon if Chile forward Alexis Sanchez can live up to his claim he is now ready to be compared with Lionel Messi and, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I have reached a level where I can compete with great players,” Sanchez said.

“I do not feel inferior to anybody. I liken my qualities to Messi and Ronaldo. I have the same abilities as them.”

Wenger is able to call on Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, who both arrived shortly before the end of last month’s transfer window.

But anything less than victory will turn the focus on Wenger’s failure to once again bring in more world-class recruits, as well as the Frenchman’s long-term future at the club, just days after Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was linked as his successor.

Mustafi, the Germany defender signed from Valencia, is likely to come straight into the team, but Perez, a Spanish forward from Valencia, may start on the bench.

Nacho Monreal, the Arsenal left-back, believes Mustafi will have no problem settling in.

“He will find it easy to adapt to the club,” Monreal said. “He has already lived abroad, he speaks the language and he knows Mesut Ozil.

“All those elements will lessen the impact of changing environments. Luckily for him, he will feel at home from the very first day.

“Mustafi is a player I like. He is experienced and really tough to beat, which makes him very suitable for the Premier League’s style.

“We really needed to bring a centre back to the club considering Per Mertesacker and Gabriel’s injuries, as well as Calum Chambers’ departure on loan.

“I hope he feels happy here from the very beginning so he can do for us what he does best.”

Alex Iwobi is set to return after recovering from the hip injury he suffered against Liverpool, but Aaron Ramsey is expected to again miss out with a hamstring problem.

Claude Puel is still looking for his first league win since taking charge at Southampton and is hoping it comes against Wenger — his former manager at Monaco.

“It’s the first time that we can play one against one as I haven’t met him in an international game or Champions League game so far,” Puel said.

“It’s the first time we can compete against each other and it’s a pleasure of course because he was a very important person for me and he’s a great manager.

“Arsene is an example for all the coaches because for so many years he’s done really well in the Premier League, with Champions League secured every season.

“People don’t sometimes realise how good his work with Arsenal has been, and I really think he’s a good example for all the other trainers.”

This Season’s Result Will Determine My Future At Arsenal – Wenger

Arsene Wenger has acknowledged that his future as Arsenal manager hinges on the new season’s results, but stressed that he planned to keep working no matter what.


Wenger has just one year left on his contract and, as he enters his 21st season as Arsenal boss, faces pressure to deliver a major title. The Frenchman — who has said he will not make a decision about his future until next summer — told BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday that “what I will do after will depend a little bit on how the season goes.”


Wenger, speaking at the Premier League launch day in London, also told Sky Sports that he realised his tenure might be coming to an end. “You never know. You have to do it as if it is your whole life, but you know as well that you can stop at any moment,” he said. Discussing links to the England job following the departure of Roy Hodgson after a dismal Euro 2016 campaign, Wenger said: “I think I have shown that I respect my contracts and I respect loyalty highly. I did always that with Arsenal.”

But the manager, who recently said he was “scared” of retirement, added that he had no plans to walk away from football if he did not get a new deal with the Gunners. “What I will do is continue to work as long as I have the physical potential to work, no matter in what kind of position,” he said. “I will always work.”


Although Wenger’s future is likely to remain a topic of discussion throughout the season, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said it would remain business as usual. “I have not seen anything different in him,” the England international told Sky Sports. “I see the same hunger, if not even more. “For me, he has been great over the years and he continues to be. I think he shows that with his hunger every year. He just keeps going each year.


“I think he really feels like he can win and do something special with this team.”

Wenger: ‘Powerful’ Oxlade-Chamberlain Has It All

The England international was on target for the Gunners against Guadalajara and the manager is desperate to have him at full fitness for the new season

Arsene Wenger is keen to get Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fit for the start of Arsenal’s Premier League campaign because “he has it all”.

Oxlade-Chamberlain initially suffered knee ligament damage in the Champions League clash with Barcelona in February, but a further injury in May ruled him out of England’s Euro 2016 campaign.

The 22-year-old scored his second goal of pre-season in Sunday’s 3-1 friendly victory over Guadalajara with a sublime solo effort and the Arsenal boss is eager to have him ready for competitive action when they face Liverpool in the top-flight opener on August 14.

“[He gives us] power, penetration. He has it all, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It’s difficult [to say] what he doesn’t have – that’s why I would like him to get to the level he can go to,” Wenger said.

“Maybe he doesn’t completely believe himself how good he can be and that’s the final step for him.

“It’s a very important season for him. He has been out for a long, long time. He has been injured and did not go to the European Championship, like he should have done if he had been fit.

“That’s why I’m cautious with him. I gave him 45 minutes [against MLS All-Stars], now 70 minutes [against Guadalajara]. I hope I can get him through and fit for the start of the season.”

Granit Xhaka has been Arsenal’s only big-name signing of the close-season, but the club have been linked to the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Riyad Mahrez and Alexandre Lacazette.

Wenger, however, would not be drawn on whether any new additions were imminent.

“We have not closed any deal with anybody at the moment,” he said.

“You speak about Mustafi. Is it Mustafi or anybody else – we haven’t concluded anything at the moment.

Source – goal.com

EPL Transfer Funds: “Rivals’ Budget Quite Scary” – Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says “it’s quite scary” to look at the money being spent to strengthen his Premier League rivals ahead of the new season.


Wenger spent £30 million on Granit Xhaka in May, but has yet to make another major signing, while the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have both brought in several expensive reinforcements.


Manchester City are also closing in on a big-money deal for John Stones that could reach as much as £50 million, while United have agreed a record-breaking fee of €120m to buy Paul Pogba from Juventus, sources have told ESPN FC.


Wenger is still searching for a striker and a forward as the Gunners try to improve on their second-place finish with a first Premier League title since 2004. But the Frenchman has acknowledged that the money being spent by other clubs will make things a lot more difficult in the upcoming campaign.


“It’s a big ask, because when you look at the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious,” Wenger said after Arsenal beat the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in San Jose, California.


“You look at the cheques that everybody signs and it’s quite scary. That’s what the Premier League is about at the moment.”


Wenger is entering the final year of his contract and is under huge pressure to deliver a big title. When asked if another top-four finish in the league — which he has delivered in all 20 of his previous seasons — would be enough this time, the Arsenal boss said: “It’s never enough. I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough.


“You have to give absolutely everything to take the best out of the team. I believe that we know what we have to do, because we were second last year, we had 18 teams behind us.”


The Gunners will have to make do without Per Mertesacker for several months after the centre-back sustained a serious knee injury and Wenger reiterated in an interview with ESPN that he still wants an offensive and a defensive signing before the end of the summer transfer window.


“We were a bit short on goals scored [last season], so we will try certainly to strengthen a little bit in that department,” Wenger said. “Defensively we need to bring some more experience into our squad. I think in the middle of the park we have enough players.”


Meanwhile Arsenal’s rivals continue to splash the cash.

Ozil Is Another Bergkamp, Says Wenger

Arsene Wenger hailed Mesut Ozil as the best player in the Premier League and an equal of Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp following another influential display in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

German midfielder Ozil made one goal and scored another at the Emirates Stadium on Monday to help Arsenal back to the top of the table, leaving pundits running out of superlatives to describe his performance.

Ozil’s statistics are astonishing even by his own high standards.

So far this season he has made 16 assists and score five goals in the Premier League -– closing in fast on the all-time record of 20 assists set by another Arsenal great Thierry Henry.

Mesut Ozil

Against Bournemouth he set another mark, too, creating nine goalscoring opportunities for team-mates -– the highest figure registered in the league this season.

No wonder Gunners boss Wenger was happy to suggest his midfielder has been peerless in the league this season.

When asked if Ozil is now the best player in the Premier League, he said simply: “Look at the number of the assists and they speak for him.”

The Frenchman also acknowledged comparison with Dutch forward Bergkamp, who was such an inspiration in Wenger’s early days in north London.

“Bergkamp was more of a goalscorer than him. But now Ozil becomes a goalscorer too. They could be comparable,” he said.

All this from a player who last season was labelled as a luxury by some onlookers, singled out by Henry as a someone who needed to “step up his game” and accused of drifting out of matches by German legend Lothar Matthaus.

Throughout it all, however, Wenger remained staunchly loyal to a player he signed from Real Madrid, insisting that Ozil would eventually become a Footballer of the Year in England.

– Focal point –

“Ozil was the focal point of our team,” Wenger said after goals from the German and defender Gilberto, from an Ozil corner, clinched a crucial victory against Bournemouth that sent Arsenal one point clear at the top of the Premier League.

“I don’t know if it was his best performance, I have seen a few good games from him this season.

“What is important is that he convinces everyone he’s not only a fantasy player, but he’s a player who is ready to work for the team very hard.

“He’s added scoring goals to his assists as well. Overall he’s a complete player.”

Ozil’s transformation into Arsenal’s talisman has been fascinating to watch, but what has impressed most this season is his level of consistency –- and at the age of 27 Wenger does not yet believe he has reached his peak.


“What’s important is that he becomes as good as he can be — and he’s on the way. Is there a lot left? I don’t know but at the minute what he’s doing is absolutely fantastic,” Wenger said.

“In a career you have to be better every game. Some people manage to have that focus, that consistency — and some cannot.

“He shows that he is always consistently going upwards.”

Ozil is not the only player at Arsenal setting records.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech reached a new Premier League mark of 170 clean sheets in his career by keeping out Bournemouth, drawing praise from his manager ahead of a home game against Newcastle on Saturday.

“I think he can be very proud of that,” said Wenger. “It’s a remarkable achievement. People don’t realise how much commitment, how much focus is behind that.

“And on top of that he’s a remarkably talented goalkeeper.

“Consistency for me is the most important achievement for somebody.”

Arsene Wenger: Paris Attacks Hurt Laurent Koscielny Deeply – I Didn’t Recognise Him Against England

Arsene Wenger admits he may have to leave Laurent Koscielny out of the Arsenal side for Saturday’s trip to West Brom as he fears the defender has not recovered from the trauma of the Paris terror attacks.

The Gunners boss, who was in Paris on Friday when at least 129 people were killed, said Koscielny was ‘deeply affected’ by the atrocities and was unrecognisable during France’s 2-0 defeat by England on an emotional Tuesday night at Wembley.

And Wenger will consult the central defender to decide whether he is 100 per cent focused on football before deciding whether he can play at the Hawthorns.

Koscielny played in Friday’s friendly against Germany which was targeted by suicide bombers before both squads spent the night inside the Stade de France because of ongoing security concerns.

In pictures – The build-up to England vs France:

Asked about the difficulty of players focusing on football, Wenger said: “I think Koscielny is a good example because he had a fantastic game against Germany. And you could see that on Tuesday night he was not himself.

“It affected him deeply and I didn’t recognise the player I saw on Friday night on Tuesday night.

“I will talk with him. It’s a big game for us on Saturday, so I will talk to him to see if he is completely recovered and focused.

“You have to trust the player in these situations. Today in the Premier League you don’t get away with it with 80 per cent focus. You have to be completely committed.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud also played against Germany and came on as a substitute at Wembley.

And Wenger said: “They both will need to show resilience and desire to play. I will look how deeply they are affected.

“Sometimes it hits you more two or three days later than on the night. On the night you protect yourself or not know what’s going on. But slowly you realise the shock is always a bit after. They have gone through that game but I will talk to them to see how much they are up for it.”

Wenger had been due to attend Friday’s match at the Stade de France but watched the game from a nearby hotel and was shocked by news of the terrorists’ attacks.

He said: “I was not at the game but I was not far from the event and I think everybody who was in Paris on Friday night was in shock. The whole city was shocked.

“France is, like England, a tolerant and generous country and to discover how much your own citizens hate you and hate the country is of course a huge shock for everybody. You wonder what is going on there. Why does this country get this kind of treatment?

GettyEngland fans display the colours of the French flag remember those who lost their lives in the recent Paris attack prior to the International Friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2015 in London, England
GettyA fan wearing a blazer in red, white and blue as flags are waved around him before the international friendly between England and France
ReutersFans in the stands display a banner before the match

“I believe at the moment nobody in France has found an answer or a real explanation for what’s going on and why, because what was targeted was the way of life, basically. Football, going out, listening to music. It’s more way of life that is targeted than any individual community.

“I was more under shock than fearful for my safety, but you could be scared of what was going on because it was four different places attacked in the centre of Paris so you don’t feel secure anywhere.

“I was late for an appointment, I was late to the stadium so I decided to watch the game in the hotel where I was. In the end in the hotel we were quite secure, but the streets were empty, completely empty.”

Despite the traumas of his own players, Wenger insists the French FA president Noel Le Graet was right to declare that the Wembley friendly should go ahead without consulting the players.

He said: “The French Federation decided to play the game. If you make a a vote of players, you might have half who wants to play and half who doesn’t want to play. What do you do then?

“At some stage we have to be responsible adults and show strength and not to lie down. You must stand up and in England you have a history of that, and I felt England have dealt always with the situation very well by saying, ‘Let’s get on with our lives and show we are strong’.”

Wenger praised the response of the FA and England fans during Tuesday’s tributes at Wembley.

He said: “I would like to thank the English community and English football who have shown great solidarity. Of course, it was a shock, a huge shock for our country and our football as well. The football world has responded the way you want it to respond in a big union and a big togetherness.

“You always think after this kind of event: do you continue or do you stop your life, to play? For me they made the right decision and I believe the event on Tuesday night has shown that it was the right decision.

“I think it was fantastic for France and it showed the class of England to see the arch of Wembley in French colours was something that had a strong significance for French people. England handled this situation with a lot of class.”

Kent Gavin/The Daily MirrorFrance player Lassana Diarra flanked by Paul Pogba and Eliaquim Mangala during the French National anthem
GettyBoth teams stand together for a moment of applause prior to the International Friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2015 in London, England
Stephen Pond – The FA

Wenger claimed that it was an ‘over-reaction’, albeit an understandable one, for Germany’s friendly with Holland to postponed after a security alert but believes it was the right decision for Belgium’s clash with Spain to have been called off as police were targeting Brussels as they hunted fugitive terrorists.

The Arsenal manager said: “I feel the danger in this kind of situation is to over-react a little bit. I think that’s what happened with Germany and Spain-Belgium I’m not sure, because in Belgium was a big centre of terrorists who live there. I think that was cautious. Germany maybe overreacted a little bit but you can understand that.

“You have a bit more of a question of security, because it looks like it’s not the end of it, in France especially.

“A way for us is just to get on with life and to respond in a positive way to the situation, because you cannot cannot stop just everything. We have to continue with our lives and try to get as well people to focus on something else.”

I Would Cry If There Was No Football At Christmas – Wenger

The Arsenal manager believes a winter break in English football is important, but would only support its introduction if it came after the traditional festive fixtures

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has joked that he would “cry” if there was no football at Christmas.

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal recently claimed that the packed festive schedule and lack of winter break in the English game was “evil”.

And while Wenger supports the introduction of a mid-season pause, he insists it should only take place after the customary December fixtures.

“I have a lot of respect for Louis van Gaal but I don’t agree with him on that,” Wenger said.

“Maybe it’s because I’ve been in England for such a long time. I had his ideas when I arrived here but today I would cry if you changed that because it’s part of English tradition and English football.

“To suppress the game on Boxing Day, the whole of Europe comes to England to watch the game. It’s a very important part of us being popular in the world, that nobody works at Christmas and everybody watches the Premier League.

“I want to go on with it,” he said. “I always pleaded for a break after January 1, but we have to keep this tradition alive.”

Wenger Blames Wales For Ramsey And Bale Injuries

The Arsenal boss confirmed the midfielder will be out for the next month with a hamstring injury and criticised his appearance in The Red Dragon’s game against Andorra

Arsene Wenger has pointed the finger at Wales after Arsenal lost Aaron Ramsey for the next month to a hamstring injury.

The Welsh midfielder was taken off during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday and the first game he will miss is this weekend’s Premier League clash with Everton.

However, Wenger feels Ramsey and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale — who is currently sidelined with a calf problem — could have avoided their injuries if they hadn’t played in their country’s dead-rubber against Andorra after qualifying for Euro 2016.

“[Ramsey] had a scan [on Friday], but he’s out,” the Arsenal boss confirmed to the club’s official website.
“I believe he will be out until after the next international break [November 13]. With the last international break, the fact he played against Andorra certainly cost him and Bale as well.”

Wenger also confirmed that Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina will be out for a similar amount of time as Ramsey.

Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky, meanwhile, will be out of action seen until “the new year”.

Arsenal Goal Keeper Petr Cech Offers Thoughts On The Mourinho Vs Arsene Wenger Rivalry

The former Blues goalkeeper, who moved to the Emirates, in the transfer window has offered his thoughts on the two club’s managers

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has suggested manager Arsene Wenger and his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho are regularly at odds because of similar personalities.

Wenger and Mourinho have experienced a fractious relationship on the touchline in their 15 head-to-head meetings – the Frenchman coming out on top just once at the Community Shield in August.

Mourinho has previously labelled his opposite number a “specialist in failure” and the pair also clashed on the touchline at Stamford Bridge last season.

Cech – who swapped the Premier League champions for Arsenal in June – suggested the pair’s winning mentalities could be a factor behind their feisty relationship.

“It’s more a question for them. But, yes, sometimes two pluses doesn’t make a plus,” he told Sportmagazine.

“The similarity is that everybody wants to win. If you ask Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger if they want to win everything: yes they do.

“You can see they don’t like losing games and I think this is something you need to have in you if you want to be successful.”

Cech was the only close-season arrival at the Emirates Stadium, with many suggesting Wenger’s lack of recruitment could hinder Arsenal’s title ambitions.

However, the 33-year-old claimed Wenger – and the Frenchman’s plans for the coming seasons -were key factors in his decision to leave Chelsea after 11 trophy-laden years.

“[Wenger] introduced me to the vision the club has for the coming years, to the reason why certain things are the way they are now and how they will be next year and the year after,” he added.

“I really liked the project in the way it matches my ambition and motivations. It’s a difficult decision to go from Chelsea to Arsenal, but I believed it was the right decision because I wanted to be part of the Premier League at a club that matches my ambitions. 

“With Arsenal, that all came together. In football everything changes fast, so you need to have a clear vision and support from people at the club. Obviously the board and everyone at Arsenal believe in the manager – that’s why he’s still here.

“It’s not just for the way you are – it must be for the way you work, too. The public only see the game, they don’t see all the things that are happening behind the scenes. 

“So, sometimes, judging people only on the fraction of the time you see them working can lead to different opinions.”

Wenger: Picking An Arsenal Midfield Is An Impossible Job

The Gunners manager has to juggle several impressive players in the middle of the park, carefully trying to maintain competition for places while keeping everyone happy

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that picking his midfield in each game is “an impossible job”.

The Gunners are well stocked for creative players and left Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench against Crystal Palace on August 16 despite a bright start in their first game of the season, while Mikel Arteta was also on the bench and Jack Wilshere is out injured.

Wenger, who must select a starting XI to beat Liverpool on Monday, says that balancing competition for places between so many talented players is a difficult tightrope to walk.

He told the club’s official website: “It’s an impossible job but that’s why I tell you I always get asked two questions: ‘Why don’t you buy more players?’ and ‘How do you keep them all happy now?’

“I believe that competition is part of our job. On the other hand, you have to get the number right – too many players in the squad goes against competition. If you have a certain number of players who think they never have a chance to play, they killed something. Not enough players creates too much of a comfort zone.”

Santi Cazorla is one of the men being juggled by Wenger, who notes that deciding whether to field the diminutive Spaniard on the left flank or deep in midfield has been a particularly close call.

“It is tricky because he is an important player in the build-up of our game. He is naturally a guy who brings fluidity and gets you out of tight situations,” the Frenchman observed.

“My thinking [putting him out wide] was more about physical power in the centre of the park, to win the ball back and be capable of winning challenges [as] Santi is a more technical player and also to get him higher up, next to [Mesut] Ozil, to play through the lines, find those two, and combine in the final third.

“It worked sometimes – and sometimes not. The first goal in these games is vital but, anyway, against West Ham, I changed in the second half and brought Cazorla back to central midfield.”

Having recovered to a win at Palace following a defeat to West Ham in their first game of the campaign, Wenger is hopeful that his side have shown enough so far to put them in good stead against the Reds.

“[We must] play at the level we played at Crystal Palace, with good pace,” he declared. “I think Liverpool will be a different game than West Ham. Against West Ham, we conceded a set-piece and, after that, another goal just before half time.

“After that, it was difficult but, if you look well – and you have to analyse the game well – against West Ham we didn’t give chances away. You play this game 20 times, you win it 19 because they had very, very, very few chances. Their goals came from our mistakes. That’s why we had to look at ourselves.”

Wenger : Chelsea Are Favourites For The Title

The Gunners boss believes that Jose Mourinho’s side are the team to beat this season but insists that the Gunners are ready to push them all the way.

Arsene Wenger has vowed that Arsenal are ready to fight for the Premier League title but concedes that Chelsea remain the favourites to retain their crown.

He told reporters: “Chelsea won it by a margin last year so they must be favourites.

“We are ready to fight for the championship. We missed our start to the season last year, let’s try to start strong. But we have a difficult start with two derbies and Liverpool in our first three games.”

More to follow…

Beating Arsenal & Wenger Is Nothing Special – Mourinho

The Frenchman is yet to beat his Chelsea counterpart in 13 attempts, with the two set to face off in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday


Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says beating Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is “nothing special” as he prepares to take on the Gunners in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley.

Mourinho and Wenger have a long-standing rivalry, with the Frenchman yet to beat his counterpart in 13 attempts, while the Blues manager described the 65-year-old as a “specialist in failure” 18 months ago.

The pair come face to face this weekend as Arsenal look to win the Community Shield for the second consecutive year, but Mourinho is unconcerned by the make up of his opponents with silverware on the line.

When asked if he takes pride in his record against Wenger, Mourinho replied: ”No. It doesn’t matter, Arsenal, the manager, whoever.

“I think [the Community Shield is] in between. It’s more than a friendly, like with Barcelona and PSG [friendlies], but it’s less than a league game. Different motivation.

“Who knows?” he said when questioned on Wenger’s ability to win. “I’ve never made a special thing about wins over Arsenal. I don’t explode with happiness when I beat them, and I won’t make drama when I lose.”

Mourinho has confirmed that Gary Cahill and Diego Costa will be fit to play on Sunday after picking up knocks against Barcelona.

Credit – goal.com

Wilshere: Arsenal Can Be Successful This Season If…

Jack Wilshere is confident Arsenal can challenge for the Premier League title this season provided they are quick out of the blocks.

Arsene Wenger’s men won 19 of their last 26 matches in all competitions in a strong finish to the 2014-15 campaign but a worst ever start under the manager saw them win two of their opening eight league matches.

Arsenal finished the season in third place -12 points adrift of eventual champions Chelsea – and Wilshere is keen to build on their late-season form, highlighting Petr Cech’s arrival as a sign of the club’s ambition.

“We didn’t start the season well last year but the way we finished it, if we had played the whole season like that then we could have been champions,” Wilshere told the club’s official website.

“If we continue our form from the end of last season when we dominated games with our possession, and we won the ball back in better positions high up the pitch, then we’ve got a real chance.

“We want to win the league, of course we do. We feel we’ve been together a few years now, we’ve brought in world-class players who have had time to settle, we’ve added a world-class keeper with all of his experience, he’s been there and he’s done it, he’s won everything.

“So we really feel we’re in a strong position.”

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal ‘Suicidal Defensively’ In Monaco Defeat

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger accused his players of losing their nerve and blamed “suicidal” defending after a 3-1 home defeat by Monaco left them on the brink of Champions League elimination.

Goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Dimitar Berbatov put Monaco in control of the last-16 first-leg tie.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Arsenal hope, but Yannick Ferreira Carrasco added a third for the visitors.

“It is just not right to give goals away the way we did,” said Wenger.

“We missed chances and were suicidal defensively.”

Arsenal must now score at least three goals when the sides meet at Stade Louis II on 17 March if they are to avoid exiting at the last-16 stage for the fifth straight season.

No side has lost a European Cup or Champions League first-leg knockout tie at home by two goals and progressed since Ajax in 1969.

Arsene Wenger Offers to Train Nigerian Coaches

In the bid to build alliances that would strengthen football in Nigeria, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, has revealed that his visit to Arsenal was not to talk about players alone, as Arsene Wenger was teaching him some trade secrets, which has made Arsenal a very top side.

The president further stated that, “if you want to be the best, then you must roll with the best, as the English Premier League manager will start tutoring handlers of Nigeria national teams.

“Arsene taught me a couple of things during my visit even in administration. You need to learn from the best to be ranked among the best”. he said

“I hailed his knowledge, he’s truly a professor. It goes beyond just teaching you things on the field,
there’s need to also gain some knowledge off the field too.

“He has also pledged to make himself available to us whenever we needed to train our senior coaches, Arsene was overwhelmed by our visit.”
source: PM news