Wenger says Arsenal ready for serious push for Premier League

Arsenal fans are pretty happy with the summer transfer window so far, and we are expecting a few more quality signings before the window slams shut at the end of August. So there is no doubt that Arsenal will have a stronger squad than last season.

And the fact that the Gunners came so close last season, heading the BPL table for longer than any of our rivals until the crippling injuries finally took their toll in the latter stages, makes Arsene Wenger very confident about Arsenal’s chances in the coming season, as reported by The Mirror.

The Frenchman also thinks that by lifting the FA cup at Wembley in May and getting that trophy drought monkey off our backs, Arsenal have got over a major obstacle and could have made winning further trophies that much easier. The Gunners get their pre-season off to a steady start today, with the game against Boreham Wood the first of four friendlies before the Community Shield against Man City.

Wenger said, “I feel that in the Premier League we were not far away.

“We got 79 points and with what happened to us with injuries, I feel that we did quite well.

“On top of that we won the FA Cup so I think it’s a good platform to go for more. But in the Premier League everybody tries to improve the team and it’s very difficult to predict what will happen this year.

“We have the ambition, we have the desire, we should have the confidence from last season – so we have a good basis.

“It’s now up to us to make sure we have the right attitude and the right hunger to go for more.”

As the boss said, though, all of the teams around us are trying to strengthen their squads as well, so do you think we have improved our chances? And who else do you want to see come to Arsenal this summer?

Arsenal stars believe Sanchez WILL make the difference!

There is a lot talked about the importance of confidence and belief in football. They are two things that have been somewhat lacking at Arsenal Football Club in recent years, although the team spirit and respect for Arsene Wenger have always been there.

More recently, however, we have seen the confidence come back into the Arsenal team, as we stopped having to sell our best players and started spending the sort of money that our rivals have been doing for years. You can look back to the away game against Bayern Munich, when Wenger and the players were under immense pressure before beating them and going on a great run to overhaul Spurs for the fourth Champions League place.

Then last season we went up another level and would arguably have secured the title if not for all the injury problems. And now the Gunners have taken the next step and ensured that this season’s chase for the BPL crown will not end in disappointment, according to the Arsenal stars talking about the signing of Alexis Sanchez yesterday.

Santi Cazorla was reported by the Daily Mail as saying, “It is a very important signing. He’s a world-class player – I’ve said it before. Having him at Arsenal night make a big difference just because of the player he is.

“If you bring in players of an outstanding level, it will lift the team to an outstanding level.

“The more quality players you have in your squad the more you can fight and we were unlucky with injuries last year.

“Having another fast player in the squad like Alexis will also give us extra opportunities going forward next year. Absolutely. Absolutely. If we have an even better squad than last year then why can’t we be champions this year?”

And those sentiments were echoed, in anotheraustralian dating customs report, by another of our Spaniards, Mikel Arteta, who as a boyhood fan of Barcelona has seen just what the Chilean star can do. The vice-captain believes that the extra pace up front will make Arsenal much more dangerous, clearly believing that Sanchez is going to make a big difference for us.

Arteta said, “I know Alexis very well because I am a Barcelona fan and he has been tremendous in the last 12 months.

“I spoke to him this morning. He said is very excited and wants to get involved as soon as possible and hopefully he can deliver.

“He is a player who is going to give us a boost and increase the scoring capacity of the team.

“Arsenal is a club that is very good on the break, very good at exploiting space. I think with Sanchez we will be much more difficult to handle.

“I think we have been missing that pace in behind. Sometimes we played with Cazorla, Giroud, Wilshere up front – and we had no pace.”

So the belief is there, Gooners, but can we really do it this season?

Wenger admits his “shock” at Arsenal being 2-0 down

Arsenal came back to earn a well-deserved FA Cup winners medal yesterday, but Arsene Wenger admitted that he was very worried when his team were 2-0 down after just nine minutes against a mid-table Hull side.

He said after the game: “We made a demonstration of how to respond to being 2-0 down, and a demonstration of how not to start a cup final!”

“I was shocked. We were a bit hesitant and you wonder if the shock would be too hard, but this team has a special spirit and a special togetherness to respond.”

“To lose today would have been a major setback. To win is a good platform to come back stronger next year,”

But Wenger didn’t want to raise fans hopes too much, when he emphasised, yet again, how difficult it is just to gain a place in the Top Four every season.

“The Premier League is very tough.” he continued. “You look at the top four this year and you have no Manchester United, no Everton, no Tottenham Hotspur.

“All these clubs have invested a huge amount of money, and the club that won the league have invested an incredible amount of money so it’s difficult to beat them, but we’ll try.”

Come on Wenger! Just buy us a top striker and a strong defensive midfielder and we will be better straight away!

Arsenal have NOT had a good season but will next time says star

There is a feeling going around Arsenal Football Club at the minute that we are one Wembley cup final away from completing a good season. Although the Gunners have finished in the same fourth place as last time, a win at Norwich on the final day will give us 79 points, which would have seen us finish second last year. And an FA cup to end the trophy drought will put a smile on every Gooner’s face.

But the Arsenal keeper is not content with this. Wojciech Szczesny was reported by Arsenal.com talking about this season and the regrets he has that Arsenal could not keep up the form that saw us in with the first realistic title challenge in years.

The Poland international is keen to record one more clean sheet to give him the Golden Glove award over the Chelsea stopper Petr Cech. But he is not that fussed about his personal rewards and is desperate to give the fans a trophy to celebrate. Unfortunately, it is not the BPL one that it should have been.

Despite his disappointment, though, the Arsenal number one thinks that the team have shown a significant improvement and should be fighting for the title next season. He is keen for Arsene Wenger to make a few quality signings to push the Gunners on, but he feels the core is already there.

Szczesny said, “I think it’s good to sign off with a win and sign off in front of our fans but with two games to go we had nothing to play for at home and I think we shouldn’t really be in that position. We should be fighting for the title.

“Of course [there’s a sense of what might have been]. I believe that we should be in a position to challenge to win the Premier League and maybe Sunday would have been a completely different atmosphere if we had kept going the way we were at some point.

“I never considered fourth place before the start of the season as a successful season and a good position. I play for Arsenal Football Club because I want to win the title every year.

“Obviously at some point, when you lose games and you lose the chance to fight for the title, then the new challenge is to secure the Champions League spot and that was the aim this season, but I wouldn’t have taken it before the season.

“We dropped some important points and lost games and had to finish fourth when we weren’t probably the favourites to finish fourth. At least we managed to do that for our fans and hopefully we’ll manage to get the FA Cup for them.

“I think the squad is stronger and I think everyone can say the squad was strong enough to challenge for the title.

“It didn’t happen for us this year but one thing we have learned is that that we are good enough to challenge next year, and hopefully add a little bit more strength as well with a couple of new players coming in.

“Hopefully we will be stronger and, if we manage to keep the consistency for the whole season, we’ll be up there.”

Will Arsenal be where our young keeper wants them to be at this time next year, or have we blown our big chance?

Arsenal have no excuses for BPL title failings says BFG

Per Mertesacker, after a very shaky first season, has grown into life at Arsenal and is now one of the Gunners’ most important and reliable players. The giant German international has also become like a captain without an armband, so when he talks, the other players listen, and our BFG is not letting his team mates use the excuse of injuries for their failure to keep up the challenge foe the Premier League title.

The centre back does accept that Arsenal were unlucky with injuries and that this did affect the performances and results, but he was also brutally honest and blunt in saying that the Gunners should have coped better. Put simply, we were not good enough at a crucial stage of the season, especially against our big rivals for the title.

The 29, year old does promise, in an Arsenal.com report, to learn from the mistakes made this season.

He said, “We can learn a lot [from this season]. Last year we managed to deal with an even more difficult situation as with 10 games to go no-one expected us to be in the top four.

“This year, with a couple of injuries we struggled heavily but we regrouped very well and how we managed this situation was even more important maybe than last year. To secure Champions League football was another test for us.

“The fans wanted us to finish further up, we were top of the league for a long time and everyone dreamt about getting the title, but it takes more than just staying at the top until the winter period.

“We couldn’t afford those away [defeats] against big teams so we didn’t deserve to be in the top three. That is something for next year that we have to manage better.”

Mertesacker also says that Arsenal are trying not to think about the FA cup final just now, as they are focused on securing Champions League football for next season. But that Wembley final is massive, and winning it may well help Arsenal to avoid the problems of this season.

Wenger shows that Arsenal have little interest in FA Cup..

Many Arsenal fans would like Arsene Wenger to go all out to win this season’s FA Cup, as they would really like to win one trophy (Please! Pretty please!) in the very near future, and the Cup would be the one we have most chance of winning.

But Wenger clearly thinks that it is more of a hindrance than a target, and would prefer the later stages (like this weeks game) to be relegated to a midweek game so as not to interfere with the title race.

When asked about his opinion he said this: “The only thing that I might change is the priority it has over Premier League fixtures,”

“At the moment we postpone games in the Premier League later on in the season when they clash with the FA Cup. That can lead to unfairness in the league season.

“What I would think about is not moving Premier League games to make time for the FA Cup.

“What I would do instead is move the cup game to midweek rather than the league game. I believe that sort of thing would be an interesting change.”

You can see his point this particular season, as Chelsea will today get a chance to move seven points clear of their rivals if they beat Tottenham, while both Arsenal and City are playing Cup games, but surely this is not the case every year. In fact Chelsea have won more FA Cups in the last decade than anyone else…

Wenger was then asked if he thought the race for a Top Four position had devalued the FA Cup in reality. “Maybe it has taken something away,” he said. “But I believe the Cup is still something special. I don’t think it needs to conflict with the Premier League – you can finish in the top four in the league and win the FA Cup.

“It can conflict with the Champions League programme sometimes, that’s true, but overall it’s still something special in my mind.”

Maybe it is “in his mind” but I bet that he will play a weakened team so as to prepare for the midweek game in Munich……

Read more at http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/289213.html#kuiF1MAYpD69QHgD.99

Rosicky Rocks! Ozil in high praise of Arsenal teammate!

When it comes to Arsenal, it’s not often that the Gunners are aided by the help of an experienced player, with in fact very few players over the age of 30 playing considerably under the reign of Arsene Wenger. However, slowly things seem to be changing from Arsene Wenger’s inexperienced bunch of schoolboys to the correct balance in youth and experience that has also seen raw talent mix with world class quality.

Mesut Ozil is certainly the latter and at 25 years old, he is in the mix of being a young player and one of considerable experience, with over 50 full international caps already. However regardless of his listing there is no doubt that he is one of the club’s greatest current midfielders, if not the best. However according to the German international, who only joined Arsenal in the summer in a record bid in the excess of £40 million, his fellow teammate, Tomas Rosicky is one of the best players he’s played with and is one of the best in the league.

Ozil told Arsenal.com: “We’re strong when we’re on the ball, we play quickly and I have lots of fun playing alongside the team. In my opinion Tomas belongs to the best midfielders in the Premier League. When you see how much he gives for the team and how he enjoys being on the ball it makes us happy to have a player like that in our ranks.”

I also think Rosicky is a top player and it’s an awful shame he has spent the majority of his career on the side-lines whilst with the Gunners. However at 33 years old, Rosicky can still be seen to be pulling the strings for Arsenal and I think that’s because not only does he have wealth of experience and knowledge of the game but also because he is still great technically on the ball from all the years he has missed out on. With the ball at his feet, the Czech Republican offers something different and I definitely think he is one of the most impacting players in the league. Whenever he features he makes an instant impact and I think it is a fantastic and vital decision to extend Rosicky’s contract beyond this season.

Ozil continued: “Before I came to Arsenal, I knew that the club belonged among the top five in Europe. I knew that they were technically gifted and strong and you see that on the training ground when we are doing passing drills – the ball is always moving. I think that’s thanks to the way young players are coached at the Club because they always train with the ball, run passing drills and ultimately it’s being rewarded.”

It’s great to see how well Ozil is settling in and after seeing his progress in the first few months that he’s been here, the effect it has had on the team has been immense. Whilst Ozil may think it’s a dream to play alongside the likes of Rosicky, I’m sure that most of the players see it differently, as a dream to play alongside our German number eleven. What seems in no doubt, though, is that Arsenal will need everybody to give their best for the remainder of the season, but they have a great incentive, the Premier League title!

Is Hansen right to dismiss Arsenal Premier League challenge?

For Arsenal, it isn’t often that you will hear of a title challenge, they are about as rare as a positive article in the media about the club, but for once with the season almost rwo and a half months underway, Arsenal currently sit on top of the Premier League table, 2 points clear of both second and third place. Chelsea currently occupy 2nd, whilst Liverpool sit in 3rd and although Chelsea may have been expected to be in that position at this stage of the season, I don’t think anyone would have predicted Liverpool’s good run, just like not many would have predicted the extent of Arsenal’s ambition both on and off the pitch.

When it comes to the media, it isn’t often you will read a positive article about Arsenal and it’s largely down to the fact that the media loves to criticise the years of the club’s downfall and the difference between now and 10 years ago. Like many fans the media seems to be living in the age of the invincibles when it comes to Arsenal, but in reality the game is much different and for the majority of us we recognise the different aspects and expectations about football and especially in the way that the game is played nowadays.

Alan Hansen is one of Britain’s most notable football pundits, being obviously known for his time as a professional and then as a pundit for the BBC and columnist for the Daily Telegraph and it’s in the latter that Hansen is very critical of Arsenal, once again slaughtering the club’s chances of success this season.

Hansen said: “Despite their hugely impressive reaction since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, which has enabled them to move clear at the top of the table, I still believe that Arsenal will end the campaign in fourth place. Last season’s top three – Manchester United, City and Chelsea – will be there again, but not necessarily in that order, leaving Arsenal to claim fourth. They clearly have an embarrassment of riches in the middle of the pitch and genuinely multi-talented players in Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey, but their critical flaw is that they are just not good enough when they do not have the ball.

“And with Arsenal now entering a run of fixtures in which they face Liverpool and United in the league, followed by games against City and Chelsea in December, the weaknesses that opponents have not exploited so far will come under much greater scrutiny. Arsenal have started well and given themselves a chance, but only now, when they start to face the big teams, will their true credentials be borne out.”

To be honest I both agree and disagree with Hansen. As a professional he obviously knows about football and I think his criticism of the club is fair, because everyone is entitled to an opinion. Its whether you agree or not with that opinion is what makes the difference and in response to Hansen’s criticism about Arsenal’s game, I’d say he has a point in that we will really see where we lie when we face the big teams but to say that we won’t challenge at all is where is disagree.

I definitely think Arsenal have the ability to challenge and be a major contender for the Premier League this season, however I’m not too sure if we have the capabilities to win the title this year. The main issue is that it’s far too early to say who’s likely to win it because the game of football can change in an instant and for Arsenal, that’s something that has happened so many times before. Hansen was badly wrong when he told Manchester United all those years ago that you can’t win things with kids. Can the Gunners make him look stupid again?

Arsenal should consider West Brom a warning not a stumble

Arsenal have been flying high in the Premier League so far this season because despite losing out to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, the Gunners have turned it around to become one of the league’s most in form teams. In fact Arsenal’s performances so far this season have given real belief that Arsenal have the ability to come out on top this season ahead of everyone, rather than just the other half of North London. Winning the league is no mean feat and although the club’s top spot was thrown into doubt yesterday, with a difficult game against WBA; Arsenal managed to pull through with a well fought out draw.

A good second half performance from Wilshere got us the goal, whilst Szczesny and Gibbs were very effective in making sure the score line wasn’t even less in our favour. The game did bring round a few concerns however ultimately I feel that there isn’t too much to worry about.

The main problem from this is the concern that yesterday’s result is a massive two points dropped and the result leaves the Gunners level on points with Liverpool. But what the main concern seems to be is the issue regarding consistency. Arsenal have greatly struggled with consistency in the past, however so far this time around it hasn’t been too much of a problem and in fact I’m confident in suggesting that the latest result against West Brom won’t cause too much of an upset to Arsenal because it could mean we possibly go onto greater things by turning up the tempo once more.

Although I think this title aspiration is ambitious and optimistic, I’m certainly not putting it past Arsenal and if they can truly regain glory this season whether it be in the Capital One Cup, FA Cup, Premier League or even the Champions League (perhaps a little too ambitious now), then it will be pure greatness just for the fans and the players, but for everyone associated with Arsenal in anyway. One thing is for sure, and that is not to let the West Brom game dash your hopes because there is certainly another spring in Arsenal’s step!

Spanish star adds to Arsenal ambitions and confidence

Arsenal are gaining a real confidence boost this summer, with so many players coming out and stating the club’s ambition and the players’ own respective desires for the team to achieve greater things next season. We have already seen the likes of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey come out and state their desires to regain glory at Arsenal after experiencing so many years of trophy hurt.

We have also seen last year’s summer signings Olivier Giroud and now Santi Cazorla tell their tales of Arsenal’s ambitious wishes. We know Cazorla isn’t lacking of confidence on the pitch and by the sound of his words he is confident off it as well, with the Spanish magician firmly believing Arsenal can improve and achieve greater things next year.

Cazorla said; “We have great players. I am sure next season we will be a better team and improve. Next season we hope we can be even better and win trophies and the supporters can enjoy it, that is what Arsenal really wants.”

Many have wondered whether the managerial changes across the league will play a big factor on the title race next season. United have lost Sir Alex Ferguson after so long, whilst the return of Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini’s arrival at City has got some people worried, but not our midfield maestro.

Cazorla stated; “I do not think it influences too much (the title race). The most radical change is at Manchester United because Ferguson has been there for so long. It will be a little difficult at the start for a new manager, but I don’t think it influences too much in terms of being an advantage for other teams. There are great managers at those clubs and I am sure it will be just as difficult.”

I think its great so many players are voicing their opinions on the club and how ambitious we should be. It’s vital for a team to be successful, that the players must believe in themselves and be confident they can achieve glory. Do you think Wigan would have beaten Man City in the Capital One Cup, if they didn’t have that glory driven mentality and desire to win. You could even take a look at our own past and wonder that perhaps it was Arsenal’s lack of winning mentality and nervousness that caused us to underperform against Birmingham City two years back and ultimately lose the game on the back of a mistake, but the point is if the players continue to carry this confident mentality throughout the course of the season, then pair it with a few top quality signings and we are in for an exciting season without a doubt.