Arsenal ‘Audacious’ On Their Travels – Wenger
Arsene Wenger believes that his Arsenal charges play their best, most expansive football on their travels and become a bit more tentative at home.
The Gunners have won each and every of their last nine away games dating back to March when they defeated eventual-UEFA Champions League winners Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena in Germany. Add pre-season friendlies to the equation, and their already impressive away streak turns into an unbelievable 12-0 figure- a club record.
Their next assignment is another away game, this time against Marseille in France. Ahead of that clash, Wenger was asked to reveal the secret behind his side’s amazing run of form in their opponents’ backyards. He explained: “Away from home we are audacious. At home we sometimes play with the handbrake, but if you look at our record away from home in the Champions League we compare with the best in Europe. We try to play, but it doesn’t mean we always win.”
Per Mertesacker also chimed in with his take on the topic, by saying: “We have an exceptional team and you can feel there is something special in it. We have shown we are ready to keep this run going, but we have confidence because we haven’t lost in so long away from home.”
Gunners ‘Scared’ About Mounting Injuries
Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal’s increasing injury problems are a cause of serious concern for him as the new season begins to get into full swing.
The Gunners are currently missing eight first-teamers due to various injuries. Moreover, their only fit centre-forward, Olivier Giroud, recently confessed that he has been carrying a stretched medial collateral ligament injury for several months. The 2013/14 season has only just begun, and with non-stop club football scheduled for the next two months, fixtures will come thick and fast for the North Londoners.
An injury-free or a very deep squad like Chelsea’s is needed to keep up with what’s coming, but the Gunners have neither at the moment. Commenting on the situation, Wenger told the press: “Of course I am concerned because we now play for two months every three or four days. It’s important we get players back. You can’t play the next two months with the squad we have at the moment.”
The lack of senior players is bothering Giroud too, who added: “We’re a really united squad and everyone works for the team. That’s good, we have a quality squad but I’m a bit scared about the numbers we have in the squad. We will face problems because of the numbers in our squad but we’ll do everything we can to rival the big clubs.”
Ba Talks About His Failed Arsenal Move
For the second time in a span of three days, a Chelsea striker has talked to the press about how close he came to joining Arsenal before the proposed transfer collapsed.
The Blue in question this time is Demba Ba, who was on the verge of becoming a Gunner on the transfer deadline day earlier this month, but his manager Jose Mourinho scuppered the deal at the eleventh hour after deciding that it would be like strengthening a title rival.
“I was ready to go but it didn’t happen. The boss said it. I spoke to him before. I won’t tell you what we said,” Ba said.
But those Gooners thinking that their crosstown neighbours will now be stuck with a disgruntled player on their hands will be disappointed to hear that the levelheaded Ba isn’t bitter at not being allowed to join Arsenal. Instead of protesting at being made to play third-fiddle to Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres, the Senegal international took it as a pro. “I told him [Mourinho] I would keep fighting for the flag. It all depends on me. If I play good the manager will put me on the pitch and if I don’t perform it will be only my fault,” Ba said.
Juanfran Claims He Rejected Arsenal Move
Atletico Madrid right back Juanfran has claimed he was courted by Arsenal FC in the summer transfer window and could have made a lot more money had he signed for the North Londoners, but he decided to stay put.
The Gunners were linked with a move for the 28-year-old Spaniard last month, but no confirmation from either side was made at that time. But now that the transfer window has closed, the player has come forward to reveal he could’ve left but didn’t, as he is very content in Madrid.
Marca have quoted Juanfran as saying: “It is true that I had an offer from Arsenal that any player would have liked to have accepted. But I am very happy here. For me, as everyone knows, there is no better club than Atletico.”
It is unclear whether there is any truth behind his claim or it is just a ploy of extracting an improved contract from Atletico.
Hansen Tips Arsenal for UCL Exit
Arsene Wenger’s failure to strengthen the weak areas of his squad would result in Arsenal failing to progress out of the Champions League group stages, Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has claimed.
The Gunners satisfied their fans’ thirst of some transfer market joy by signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, but Hansen believes midfield creativity was never the problem for the North Londoners, and they should have bolstered their options at the back instead.
In a newspaper column, Hansen wrote: “And having been drawn in the hardest group of all, Arsène Wenger’s decision to sign Özil rather than a commanding defender and leader could see Arsenal fall at the first hurdle. Their counter-attacking approach works for them more often than not in the Premier League but the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Napoli are capable of exposing their inability to defend properly without the ball. Arsenal have not changed. They will continue to have good runs, but then see it all fall apart with a catastrophic defeat, which is why I fear for them in this group.”