Backpage roundup: Wenger defends strikers, Song blames Arsenal, Tiote not coming but Cabaye might, and Ox wants central role

Wenger Insists Arsenal Will Find Scoring Touch

Arsene Wenger has leapt to the defence of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, and has assured Arsenal fans that his misfiring attackers will soon start scoring goals.

While the Gunners’ midfield players looked bright in their Sunday’s game against Stoke City, the front trio of Giroud, Podolski and Gervinho couldn’t find the back of the net once again and the club had to settle for another 0-0 draw.

Arsenal are goalless after the first two matches of the new season but Wenger insists that his men will score a lot of goals, although he did say that the midfielders would also have to chip in with their share.

Earlier today, the Arsenal boss said: “If you want to convince me that we lost an exceptional player [in Robin van Persie] you are wasting your time. I was the first to say that. We have to find a way to get around that by sharing more of the goals than we did before with Van Persie. Giroud scored 20 [last season], Podolski scored 20.

“We will get some goals I’m convinced from Diaby, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, so we have of course to share it around a bit.”

 

 Song Claims He Was Forced Out

New Barcelona signing Alexandre Song has claimed that he wanted to stay at Arsenal but was forced out of the club due to the Gunners’ unwillingness to discuss a new contract with him.

The Sun has quoted Song as saying: “I was ready to commit my future to the club. All I wanted were talks about a new contract but each time we were due to sit down, the club postponed it. I was fobbed off. I wanted a new five-year contract at Arsenal. In the end I got one – at Barcelona.

“I had been trying for eight months to start talking about a new long-term deal but the club kept postponing me all the time, saying ‘You have three years left.’ I hadn’t talked about money I just wanted to sit down and discuss a new deal – I wanted to commit my career to the club I loved.

“Then out of the blue, Barcelona came in for me. And, suddenly, I was wanted by the biggest club in the world and they wanted to give me a five-year deal.”

 

Wenger: Tiote Not Emirates Bound

Some media reports had recently linked Newcastle United’s midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote with a move to Emirates Stadium as replacement for the recently sold Alexandre Song. While coach Arsene Wenger admits that the Ivory Coast international is a fine player, he has denied that the Gunners are plotting a late transfer move for him.

Tiote is a good player but he is not on his way to Arsenal,” Wenger told the press.

 

Arsenal to Battle with Spurs For Afellay

The Daily Mirror have claimed that both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur want to borrow Barcelona’s attacking midfielder Ibrahim Afellay, who has been made available on loan by the La Liga giants.

The Dutch playmaker is not in the immediate plans of new Barca coach Tito Vilanova, who thinks that a season in the Premiership would benefit the player greatly.

 

Wenger Targets Cabaye to Fill Defensive Position

Arsene Wenger recently revealed that he is still in the market for a quality defensive midfielder and The Daily Mail claim that Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye is on the Arsenal manager’s shortlist.

While Cabaye is seen as more of an attacking or central midfielder, he made six successful tackles last weekend against Chelsea and that may be the reason why Daily Mail believe he could be moulded into a more defensive role.

In addition to the former Lille man, Yann M’Vila is also rumoured to be on Wenger’s radar and the Frenchman could make a move for either or both of them before the August 31 deadline.

 

Ox Has Central Midfield Ambitions; Idolises Gerrard

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says that coach Arsene Wenger should not scour the transfer market for Alex Song’s replacement, as he is fully capable of playing in the central midfield for Arsenal.

While the 19-year-old starlet has been used primarily as a winger by Wenger, he believes he has what it takes to flourish in the centre of the midfield too.

In an interview with The Sun, Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “Alex Song was a great player for us and he was a big player for us — but we’ve got a strong enough squad. I’m definitely confident of that and I’m definitely confident of filling Alex’s role.”

In the same interview, he also revealed that he wants to emulate the playing style of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who is his boyhood idol.

He said: “I’ve been watching him since I was a young lad. Back in his early days I remember he used to make bursting runs from deep all the way up front and get in the box and score goals. Frank Lampard used to as well.

“So that’s a side of my game I want to add to — scoring more goals. More in terms of getting myself into the box and having that drive and instinct. Gambling to get to the back post and gambling to get to the front post.”