Backpage roundup: Walcott relishing Cole battle, Wenger happy with ‘selection solutions,’ Arteta defends Torres, Santos’ ban and more

Walcott Relishing Battle with Chelsea’s Cole

Theo Walcott has said that he is relishing the opportunity to lock horns with Ashley Cole on Saturday and feels that he has gotten the better of the Chelsea left-back in the past few years.

The Chelsea defence usually finds it tough to cope with Walcott’s pace and he has scored against the Blues in both of the last two seasons.

In a recent interview with the Daily Star, the Arsenal winger seemed bullish about his chances against Cole and company, and said: “I don’t mind scoring against Chelsea. I’ve done well against them – they must probably hate me, to be honest. I don’t mind playing against Ashley either. I like playing against him. He is one of the best left-backs in the world and we have some very good battles against each other – in training as well for England.

“Maybe in the past few years I have had the edge on him. So I am sure when he sees all this he will be frustrated and he will probably want to kick the hell out of me, which is fine! He is doing fantastic at the moment and to be that great for so long is an incredible achievement and it is a great honour to play with him.”

 

Wenger Happy With ‘Selection Solutions’

Arsene Wenger has refused to describe the abundance of options available at his disposal as ‘selection headaches’ and revealed that he likes to call it ‘selection solutions’ instead.

The Gunners have an almost clean bill of health with Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczęsny being the only major players unavailable at the moment.

While having a fully fit squad sometimes proves to be a problematic thing to manager for some managers, the Arsenal boss is absolutely fine with it.

In a recent interview, he said: “I have selection solutions, it is not a problem to have good players. When you don’t have good players people say ‘but you do not have good players’. When you have good players they say you have a problem as well. You cannot play a season with two centre-backs, you just want good players in every position.

“At the moment they are all doing well, I just will select the players who are most suited to play against our opponent. At the end of the season everybody will have played. It doesn’t exist anymore a position where one player can play all the games. The games are too intense, too repeated, and if you look well at the players who play in every single game, look how they are at 30, 31, it tells you a lot about that.”

 

Eastmond and Watt Loaned to Colchester

Arsenal youngsters Craig Eastmond and Sanchez Watt have been loaned to Colchester for the next three months.

The new U’s manager Joe Dunne took charge of the club on Thursday and recruited the Arsenal pair on his very first day at the office.

The first thing I heard about the move was through my agent and he said Colchester United were one of a few clubs interested. I just want to play games so I said yes to it and I’m looking forward to the new challenge,” Eastmond told Colchester’s official website after signing for them.

It felt good to be training here and the lads made me feel relaxed and welcome. It looks like the manager plays the same formation as I’m used to so it should be good for me. I want to fight for my position in the team, keep my place if I get it and do well for the club and for myself. Hopefully, we can play well, pass the ball around, score some goals and push up the table,” Watt added.

 

Wenger Highlights Home Form’s Significance

Arsene Wenger has said that Arsenal’s results at home will decide whether or not they can mount a serious title challenge this season.

The Gunners’ impressive start to the new season has given rise to talks of their title chances, and Wenger says that a lot depends on how his men fare at Emirates Stadium against the league’s top clubs.

Earlier today, he said: “If we do well at home against the strong teams, it will of course have a big impact on our chances in the league. We have played one [big team] where we got some belief, against Manchester City away. Saturday it is another one, but it is a different one because we are at home.”

“You will know more about us after 10 games or 15 games. I believe in our potential, but we have to show that we are capable to deal with all kinds of problems that consistency demands. We will certainly know a bit more about us on Saturday afternoon – but much more about us after 10 or 15 games.”

 

Gunners Not Scared to Spend

Arsene Wenger has said that Arsenal are not scared to splash major cash in the transfer market although he admits that it is impossible for them to compete with some rich clubs.

We want to spend our money in the right way. We are not scared to spend the money. With some clubs we can’t compete on certain players – and for the rest, we only want to bring in players who add something to our squad and give a chance as well to the young players we have. We have good players, because to buy one more, we have to get one out,” the Gunners boss said.

 

Arteta Defends Chelsea’s Torres

Ahead of Arsenal’s Saturday afternoon clash with Chelsea, Mikel Arteta has said that his fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres has been treated unfairly by the Blues.

The 28-year-old striker is a shadow of his former self since joining Chelsea from Liverpool in 2010, and Arteta believes that the tag of being the £50 million man is the main reason behind his struggles.

In an interview with Arsenal.com, Arteta said: “I don’t like the way he has been treated because I have known him since we were 16, 17 and I really appreciate him. He is a friend of mine. Obviously, football is like that – it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, it is only what you have done in the last few weeks.

“He has been criticised. Mentally he is a really strong guy even if someone doubts him. When you play as a striker and they pay £50 million for you, you are under huge pressure. And obviously when the ball isn’t going in the net, it is even more difficult because people always look at that. For a striker, sometimes it is not fair. For a midfielder or a defender it is a bit easier to adapt. For a striker it is tough.”

 

Santos Handed One-Year Driving Ban

Arsenal defender Andre Santos has been handed a one-year driving ban after he admitted that he drove his car at 145mph last month on the streets of London.

The Brazilian full-back was asked to pull over his car by the police on the morning of August 17 but instead of obeying their orders, he sped away his black Maserati and gave up only after a high-speed chase. Later on, it was found that he was playing loud music in his car and therefore didn’t realise that he was being chased by the police.

He pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention on Thursday in a London court, after which his driving license was suspended for a year and a fine of £3,600 was imposed on him.