I dream of signing Suarez – Wenger

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Arsene Wenger has admitted he “dreams” of signing Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. 

Arsenal tabled two bids for the Uruguay international in the summer after they were led to believe an offer of over £40 million would trigger a clause in his contract. 

That was eventually proved to be false and Suarez – despite his desire to swap Anfield for the Emirates – stayed put. 

However, Wenger has now admitted he still admires the in-form star and refused to rule out making another bid in January. 

He told Telefoot: “He is an angel.

“He turns into a demon when he is on the pitch. We all dream of having players like that. According to information I had about him, he is beyond reproach away from the pitch.

“He has a provocative personality. All the English defenders hate to play against him.”

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Wenger: “It’s a bad day”

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Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal had a “bad day” on Saturday as they were thrashed 6-3 by Manchester City. 

Manuel Pellegrini’s men ran riot at the Etihad Stadium and Wenger was disappointed with his side’s defensive indiscipline throughout. 

Speaking after the game, he said: “It is not beyond a bad day, it is a bad day. We conceded six goals, we lost our discipline at end and were too open when I took [Mathieu] Flamini off.

“Out of the six goals we gave them five and when we came back to 2-1, we had a chance but could not take it.

“They scored the goals and you cannot say they did not deserve them. We have to come back to reality and it’s about us defending together and we have not done that today.”

Arsenal must prove title credentials at City

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Arsenal face the first true test of their title mettle against Manchester City this weekend. 

The Gunners sit five points clear at the top the league, and have played a scintillating brand of football this season. Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud have lit up north London and the side will travel to the Etihad Stadium knowing a win would see them instilled as title favourites. 

They lost to Napoli in the Champions League in midweek but, thanks to work done beforehand, still managed to qualify for the knockout stages. 

There can be no repeat performance on Saturday. Arsene Wenger knows that. So do the players. 

City have been invincible at home so far this term. Free-scoring and at times just downright scary, they have been in stunning form. 

They have played seven games in familiar surroundings, winning seven, scoring 29 goals and conceding just two. 

They have thrashed Manchester United 4-1, Tottenham 6-0 and Norwich 7-0. The Etihad is a fortress. 

Arsenal must breach it. 

That is what title winning teams do. They travel into the lion’s den and emerge victorious. United used to do it. They have slipped since then, but the point stands. The great Arsenal side including the likes of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry did it too. 

If they are to be considered the best, this Gunners side must emulate the history boys of previous years. 

They have the talent. Not since the days of the ‘Invincibles’ have they boasted such a squad. Ozil is world-class, Giroud has become prolific, Ramsey is riding the crest of a seemingly never-ending wave, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have formed a fearsome central defensive partnership and Wojciech Szczesny is now one of the finest goalkeepers in England. 

Yes City have talent. But they have weaknesses. Manuel Pellegrini is yet to settle on his first-choice stopper and the defence in front of either Joe Hart or Costel Pantilimon has looked suspect throughout 2013/14. 

If anyone can take advantage of that leaky backline it is Arsenal, with their quite brilliant playmaking triumvirate of Ozil, Ramsey and Santi Cazorla. 

Should they win, they will finally be seen as the title contenders they deserve to be seen as and will go from strength to strength.

A defeat, on the other hand, would do nothing to destabilise them but the doubts may start creeping back in. 

Is this really a team capable of winning the Premier League? We will find out this weekend. 

Wenger in title dig at rivals City

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Arsene Wenger has taunted Manuel Pellegrini by claiming his Arsenal side have “more creativity” than Manchester City.

The Gunners are currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League, but City boast a 100% home record ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium. 

However, Wenger has now claimed he does not envy the City squad and told reporters: “City has a strong squad, I don’t deny that but, when I look at my squad, I don’t envy them.

“I would say we have more creativity, perhaps less impact physical players, but more versatile. It’s easier for me to rotate.”

 

Barca star fears Arsenal tie

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Barcelona star Pedro has admitted he wants to avoid Arsenal in Monday’s Champions League draw. 

The Catalan giants topped Group H, while the Gunners finished second in Group F – throwing up the mouthwatering possibility of the two sides being drawn together in the knockout stages of the competition. 

However, Pedro has now expressed his desire to avoid Arsene Wenger’s men, as they are one of the “strongest teams” left in the competition. 

He told Barca TV program ‘El Marcador’: “It’s fairly obvious that Manchester City and Arsenal are the strongest teams we might be drawn against, and let’s hope we have a bit of luck and avoid those two.”

Wenger: Napoli tie could define our season

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Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal side that tonight’s clash with Napoli could make or break their season. 

The Gunners must avoid a three-goal defeat to ensure they qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League and, as such, Wenger has taken his strongest possible squad to Italy. 

Arsenal face Manchester City in another titanic fixture this weekend and Wenger believes a win in Naples would be the perfect preparation for Saturday’s game. 

He said: “Will the next three games define our season? Tomorrow’s game certainly [will].

“It is to be in the Champions League or not. The other two games will not definitely … we are five points ahead and the championship is a marathon. We will be in the race, no matter what happens but they [City and Chelsea] will hopefully show our strength. Napoli is a decider, that is for sure.

“Our priorities are simple: first, qualify and, if possible, top. If we finish top, it’s even better. We can’t afford to do anything [regarding rotation]. I rotate a little bit sometimes [but] never more than two or three because stability is important.”

Wenger was also clear on who Napoli’s key man is: Gonzalo Higuain. 

The Emirates chief attempted to sign the Argentina international from Real Madrid in the summer but was beaten to the punch by the Italian outfit, and is keen to avoid seeing his one-time target put his current charges to the sword. 

He continued: “We’ll have to keep [Gonzalo] Higuaín quiet. He is very dangerous and the more we can play outside of our box, the easier that will be. We have to be at our best. An average performance will not be good enough.”

 

Wenger: “I can’t afford to rotate my squad”

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Arsene Wenger has admitted he cannot afford to rotate his squad ahead of the Gunners’ make-or-break Champions League clash with Napoli. 

The Gunners must avoid defeat in Naples to guarantee progression to the knockout stages of the competition and, despite an exerting clash with Everton at the weekend and a weekend fixture against Manchester City on the horizon, Wenger has revealed he has no desire to rest players in Italy. 

He told Arsenal.com: “I cannot afford to do that [rotate]. We will try to rotate a little bit at times, but never more than two or three players because the stability of the side is so important.

“When you play so many games, sometimes in one game you have a feeling the legs are a bit tired, but sometimes the game after they surprise you again and everybody has recovered.

“At the moment we have a stable squad. In some positions I rotate more than others where the stability is important.

“But overall we have no major signs of fatigue medically.”

Arsenal’s team against Everton last time out: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud.