Wenger Confident Wilshere Will Sign New Arsenal Deal

Arsenal’s midfielder Jack Wilshere. Photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said Thursday he is “confident” midfielder Jack Wilshere will sign a new contract at the Premier League club despite a delay in putting pen to paper.

Wilshere’s current deal runs out in the summer and, despite an offer being on the table, the 26-year-old is yet to agree terms.

“I cannot give you any news,” Wenger said at his pre-match press conference. “I don’t know really what is in his mind.

“He has not signed, he has an offer and we want him to stay. The offer is a long-term contract and I hope at some stage he will sign it. I am always confident.

“As a club you want the players to stay and be paid well and I think everyone would agree we pay our players very well.”

Wenger has also played down speculation over his future at the Emirates Stadium amid reports linking Patrick Vieira with the manager’s job.

Former Gunners midfielder Vieira is currently in charge at New York City in Major League Soccer.

“My personal situation is not so much my worry at the moment,” said Wenger. “My worry is to transform the season into a success.”

When asked if he will make his own mind up on his future, Wenger added: “That doesn’t really matter.”

Wenger also revealed Henrikh Mkhitaryan could return for the first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid next week.

Mkhitaryan was expected to be out for a while with a knee injury but Wenger said the midfielder was on the road to recovery.

“Mkhitaryan is running again, he has to progress in the next three or four days,” said Wenger. “Possibly (fit for) Thursday, that is the earliest.”

Arsenal, who are 14 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League, face West Ham at home on Sunday.

Wenger added: “For us it (the Europa League) is the biggest priority now. This weekend is preparation for Thursday. I rested most players after the (CSKA) Moscow game and they will need a game.”

AFP

Wenger Confident Wilshere Will Extend Arsenal Deal

Wenger Confident Wilshere Will Extend Arsenal Deal
File photo: Jack Wilshere

 

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said Thursday he is “confident” midfielder Jack Wilshere will sign a new contract at the Premier League club despite a delay in putting pen to paper.

Wilshere’s current deal runs out in the summer and, despite an offer being on the table, the 26-year-old is yet to agree to terms.

“I cannot give you any news,” Wenger said at his pre-match press conference. “I don’t know really what is in his mind.

“He has not signed, he has an offer and we want him to stay. The offer is a long-term contract and I hope at some stage he will sign it. I am always confident.

“As a club you want the players to stay and be paid well and I think everyone would agree we pay our players very well.”

Wenger has also played down speculation over his future at the Emirates Stadium amid reports linking Patrick Vieira with the manager’s job.

Former Gunners midfielder Vieira is currently in charge at New York City in Major League Soccer.

“My personal situation is not so much my worry at the moment,” said Wenger. “My worry is to transform the season into a success.”

When asked if he will make his own mind up on his future, Wenger added: “That doesn’t really matter.”

Wenger also revealed Henrikh Mkhitaryan could return for the first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid next week.

Mkhitaryan was expected to be out for a while with a knee injury but Wenger said the midfielder was on the road to recovery.

“Mkhitaryan is running again, he has to progress in the next three or four days,” said Wenger. “Possibly (fit for) Thursday, that is the earliest.”

Arsenal, who are 14 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League, face West Ham at home on Sunday.

Wenger added: “For us it (the Europa League) is the biggest priority now. This weekend is preparation for Thursday. I rested most players after the (CSKA) Moscow game and they will need a game.”

AFP

Wilshere Hopes Arsenal Sustain Winning Streak Against CSKA

Wilshere Hopes Arsenal Sustain Winning Streak Against CSKA
(Files) Arsenal players celebrate their victory over AC Milan at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 15, 2018. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal have generated some much-needed momentum for their Europa League tie against CSKA Moscow after victory over Stoke took the Gunners’ winning streak to four games.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice on Sunday before passing up the chance of a Premier League hat-trick by allowing substitute Alexandre Lacazette to mark his return from injury with a goal from the penalty spot as Arsenal sealed a 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

England midfielder Wilshere captained Arsenal to a fourth successive win in all competitions that set Arsene Wenger’s men up for their crunch first-leg clash against CSKA in London on Thursday.

“We needed that 90 minutes out of the way,” he added. “We needed to get the three points, move on and keep the momentum going. We’ve won a few in a row and wanted to keep that going. Now we’ve got a big one on Thursday and we’re ready for that.”

Arsenal scored all their goals in the last 15 minutes.

“Sometimes it’s like that after an international break, it takes 45 minutes to blow the cobwebs off,” Wilshere said. “I think in the second half we tried to up it and as the game went on, they got tired, we upped it and our attacking play was too much for them.”

With the Gunners 13 points off the top-four Premier League finish that would see them into the Champions League, the only realistic way they can return to Europe’s elite club competition is by winning the second-string Europa League.

“It’s a big game,” said Wilshere looking ahead to CSKA.

AFP

Arsenal Stars Have Let Wenger Down, Says Wilshere

Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger checks his watch during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 1, 2018. PHOTO: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Jack Wilshere admits Arsenal’s stars hadn’t done enough to ease the pressure on Arsene Wenger before they finally took the strain off their beleaguered boss by beating AC Milan.

Wenger’s side ended a wretched run of four successive defeats as they won 2-0 at Milan in the Europa League last 16 first leg on Thursday.

With Arsenal having lost eight of their previous 13 matches in all competitions, Wenger was facing a fight to save his job ahead of the trip to Italy.

Arsenal are languishing 13 points adrift of the Premier League’s top four and a dismal 3-0 defeat against Manchester City in the League Cup final exposed numerous flaws in Wenger’s squad.

Winning the Europa League is likely to be Arsenal’s only route into next season’s Champions League, a target which seems an essential requirement to persuade Arsenal’s hierarchy to retain Wenger.

And ahead of Watford’s visit to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday, Gunners midfielder Wilshere conceded he and his team-mates had been performing well below their best for several weeks.

“We know we haven’t been good enough. We are aware of it,” he said.

After almost 22 years in charge at Arsenal, Wenger has presided over a major drop in standards in the last few years and Gunners fans have been increasingly vocal in their calls for his dismissal.

But, although Milan are in a rut themselves, Arsenal’s desperation for a morale-boosting victory was so strong that Wilshere believes they can use take the momentum from the San Siro to ensure Wenger silences the critics.

“If anyone tells you haven’t got to prove anything to anyone, they are wrong,” he said.

“You are always trying to prove yourself to people and play well in the next game.

“We have got to use this win as a target. We have got to reach these levels every week.

“We have got another game on Sunday and then next week, the job in this competition is not done yet…this is AC Milan.

“They can come, want to play and want to win the game. We have to be ready.”

– Painful defeat –

Like Wenger, England international Wilshere also faces an uncertain future with Arsenal.

The 26-year-old has little more than three months remaining on his current deal but negotiations over an extension remain at an impasse.

Wilshere started the season needing to prove his fitness and form in order to earn a new contract.

He has returned to being a first-team regular after been limited to Europa League action earlier in the campaign.

“All I can tell you is that we are no closer to sorting anything out,” Wilshere said.

Watford inflicted a painful defeat on Arsenal with two late goals at Vicarage Road in October, with Hornets striker Troy Deeney infuriating the Gunners by questioning their lack of ‘cojones’ after the game.

The Hornets have won three of their last four matches to consolidate their mid-table position and boss Javi Gracia is in confident mood.

“I think always is a good moment to play. I try to enjoy every game. Every game is a chance to get points and I don’t think anything else,” he said.

“Always it’s complicated to play a big club or team, but we are confident we can do it.”

AFP

Arsene Wenger Eyes Ferguson Record

(L-R) Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger and Former Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson. Photo: Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP

 

Jack Wilshere believes he is nearing a return to his best form as he prepares to make a fifth successive Premier League start when Arsenal visit West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The game will see manager Arsene Wenger in charge for a record 811th Premier League game, passing the mark previously set by Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and give the Gunners an opportunity to strengthen their push for a top-four spot.

For Wilshere, it will also offer the chance to reinforce the view he has re-established himself after breaking a leg towards the end of his loan spell at Bournemouth last season.

Since being promoted into Wenger’s first choice line-up, Wilshere has excelled, prompting talk of an international recall ahead of next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

READ ALSO: Mourinho Highlights Klopp Inconsistency Over Van Dijk

The 25-year-old’s most recent display in Thursday’s 3-2 win at Crystal Palace –- a win that moved the Gunners to within a point of the top four ahead of the latest round of matches –- drew praise, in particular for the pass that set up Alexis Sanchez’s second goal.

After several injury-scarred seasons, Wilshere insists he is feeling as good as he has done for some time.

“I was happy with my form last year and I’m probably better now,” he told arsenal.com.

Arsenal’s midfielder Jack Wilshere. Photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

“I feel better, I feel fitter and I’m getting better with each game. I’m enjoying my football.”

Wilshere is out of contract at the end of the season but expects to open talks about a new deal soon.

“I spoke to the boss and he says he’s going to speak to me, so we’ll see when he speaks to me and I’m sure it will be done,” he said.

– ‘A big blow for us’ –

Sanchez’s double underlined how important the Chile international is to Arsenal when he is on form and put the focus firmly on the player’s contract impasse.

The South American is in the final year of his current deal and is expected to be a target for Manchester City in January — the leaders having failed to sign him on deadline day back in August.

Wilshere, though, is in no doubt about his team-mate’s quality.

“He comes to feet, spins in behind and just makes it difficult for defenders and easy for midfielders to pick passes,” said Wilshere.

“He makes it a lot easier and he puts it in the goal which means I get the assist for it.”

West Brom are winless in 18 straight Premier League games including six under recently-appointed head coach Alan Pardew, who has suffered a further blow with the news Nacer Chadli has been ruled out for another two months.

The Belgium international has played just three times in the Premier League this season because of hip problems and limped off only 15 minutes into his latest comeback in the 3-1 defeat at Stoke City last weekend.

“We think he’s going to miss the first two months of this year which is a big blow for us,” said Pardew.

“Coming out of the Stoke game that was probably as big a blow as the defeat.

“It’s something I’m going to have to look at in January, because obviously he’s a quality player going out of the group for some considerable time.”

AFP

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-0 To Set Club Record

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-1 To Set Club RecordLeague leaders Chelsea thrashed Bournemouth 3-0 at Stamford Bridge with a brace from Pedro Rodriquez and a goal from Belgian forward Eden Hazard.

With the victory, Chelsea set a club-record 12th successive Premier League victory while Hazard also earned his 50th Premier League goal

Pedro had given Chelsea the lead with a curled effort from 18 yards supplied by Cesc Fabregas’ 98th Premier League assist, before Hazard scored a penalty in the 49th minute after he was fouled by Simon Francis.

The Belgian became the sixth Chelsea player to reach 50 PL goals after Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

AFC Bournemouth were dangerous throughout and twice went close through Jack Wilshere and substitute Benik Afobe, but Antonio Conte’s men held firm and got a late third through Pedro’s deflected shot.

Manchester United’s resurgence in the English Premier League continued as the Red Devils beat Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford with goals from Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Mkhitaryan.

Olivier Giroud’s 87th minute goal was all arsenal needed to secure maximum points against West Brom at the Emirates Stadium while Watford and Crystal Palace played a 1-1 draw.

Everton also beat defending champions Leicester City 2-0 while West Ham secured a priceless 4-1 away victory over Swansea City.

Arsenal Beat Bournemouth 2-0, Go Top Of Premier League

arsenalArsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Monday night to move to the top of the Premier League table.

However, their position is only secured going into the New Year if Leicester fail to win against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Gabriel’s header and Mesut Ozil’s strike sealed the points for the Gunners with Ozil adding to his assist tally for the defender’s goal.

Asides the 2-0 win pushing Arsenal to the top of the log, the win also meant a personal milestone for goalkeeper Petr Cech who broke the Premier League clean-sheet record.

The legendary goalkeeper secured his 170th shut-out to move past David James’ long-standing record.

Arsène Wenger described the win as a nervy one considering how badly they needed to recover from the humiliation at Southampton.

“It was nervy at the start because we had to swallow the 4-0 [at Southampton] and it didn’t go well and I think we were focused at the start not to concede a stupid goal and got slowly into the game.

“I changed a few players and put Calum Chambers at the centre of the park so it took us a while to get going but I think in the last 70 minutes we were in control of the game and did very well,” he said.

The manager believes his boys have moved on from the disappointment as the victory meant they responded well. “You can’t go from the start of the season to the end of the season without disappointment at some stage,” he said demanding more consistence from his players.

He also had kind words for midfield maestro, Mesut Ozil.

“Mesut was the focal point of our team because we had a new midfield today and he gives reassurance with his technical security and ability. When we had problems in the first part of the game it went always through him and it gives you confidence and security.

“I have seen a few good games from Ozil but what is important is that he convinces everybody that he is not only a talented player but a player that is always willing to work for the team and work hard. He has added scoring goals to his assists and overall he is a complete player.

Knockout: Southampton Humiliate Arsenal On Boxing Day

SouthamptonSouthampton humiliated Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day as the gunners missed a chance to go top of the English Premier League.

The title favourites had gone into the match needing a win to top the log, with Liverpool having defeated Leicester City 1-0 earlier in the day.

The Gunners, however, started badly with the saints ensuring that Wenger’s men were not allowed space for their style of football.

Southampton showed better coordination as they mounted pressure on Arsenal and deservedly went into half time leading 1-0.

Backup right back, Cuco Martina, chose the right match to show his quality with a spectacular low volley in the 19th minute.

The goal came after a long spell of pressure on a shaky Arsenal defence, marshaled by Laurent Koscielny and Par Matersacker.

In the second half, Southampton continued from where they left off and quickly put the ball in Arsenal’s net but was rightly ruled out for offside. They, however, made it 2-0 in the 50th minute through Shane Long to further darken Arsenal’s Christmas.

Wenger introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Joel Campbell in the 64th minute and it appeared the players suddenly realised what was at stake as they tried to get back in the game.

The night got worse instead. It was 3-0 in the 69th minute courtesy Jose Miguel Fonte and Shane Long completed a brace in the 90th minute as the hosts refused to be intimidated by Arsenal’s stars and pre-match rating.

The Saints held on for a famous 4-0 victory over the London giants as Arsene Wenger’s men missed a glorious chance to become league leaders after trailing Leicester for weeks.

Wenger Warns Arsenal Ahead of Southampton Trip

ArsenalArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger has warned his players not to slip when they visit out-of-form Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Boxing Day.

Wenger’s side travel to St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday looking for a fourth successive league victory as they look to keep pace with leaders Leicester City.

Arsenal trail Claudio Ranieri’s men by two points, but enjoy a four-point cushion to third-placed Manchester City.

To maintain that difference, they need to remain focused against Ronald Koeman’s side, who have just one point from their last five matches, a 1-1 home draw with bottom club Aston Villa.

“For us the most important thing is to focus on ourselves, and not to speculate too much on any weakness of Southampton,” Wenger said.

“When you look at their team they have the potential to be a very strong team. We have to convince ourselves that again we need a top-level performance.

“Football is pragmatic. No one can predict what will happen in the next 17 games. So we want to go in with same attitude, spirit, and earn the right to win the games.”

Santi Cazorla (knee), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (calf), remain sidelined for Arsenal although Sanchez is closer to return than others.

Southampton also welcome their goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, back after missing two matches with a toe injury.

Facing Arsenal will be a daunting task for the hosts given the impressive recent displays by Wenger’s side, the visitors having beaten title rivals Manchester City 2-1 last time out.

“We know we’re in a difficult situation,” said Koeman, whose side won the fixture 2-0 last season. “We had a bad run last year, but not like this one.

“It is always difficult, it means maybe a lack in confidence and belief, but the best medicine is to win the game. The team is changing a bit, the team is doubting their qualities and not playing as they can, and that’s all about confidence.

“But they have to realise we can play good football, but we need to score when we have chances.”

Wenger Blames Fatigue For Arsenal’s Performance Against Sunderland

ArsenalArsène Wenger believes fatigue played a part in the inability Arsenal to break down Sunderland’s brave resistance in their rescheduled league match on Wednesday night.

Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s goalless draw against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.

On the draw against Sunderland, Wenger said, “You can say that we dominated possession and we lacked a bit of sharpness in our movement, in the way we prepared our chances and in our finishing as well.

“Physically it was an intense game on Sunday from what we have analysed and we were a bit jaded tonight. We haven’t scored in the last three games at home and the fact that we couldn’t score played a big part in our spontaneous attitude when finishing.”

Wenger admitted that his team showing fatigue ahead of the FA Cup final is “a little bit of a concern” but there’s nearly two weeks to go. He, however, was not sure if he would rest players in the team’s final league match on Sunday.

“Have I got any nerves about finishing third? No. We want to win our game on Sunday, that’s all. We want to prepare to win the game on Sunday. You could see that some players are a bit [tired].

“We played our 56th game of the season tonight and some players have given a lot. We still have time to recover for Sunday and prepare well for the FA Cup final. What is important now is that we win on Sunday.”

Sunderland went into the game needing a draw to secure safety from relegation and they went for it with a defensive formation to frustrate Arsenal.

“We played with three strikers. Two wingers and one centre forward. We had the full backs going forward. Sebastian Coates especially and John O’Shea defended our crosses very well. We didn’t look like scoring, even if we had 28 shots on goal.

“There was something missing always and you could see that they would throw their body in every time. We needed something special to score tonight because they defended very well”, Wenger said.

He continued, “When you don’t win, you’re frustrated and tonight some players looked like they had not completely recovered from Sunday. Now we know that the point we took at Manchester United was vital. Had we lost that game, then we would be in trouble.”

Sunderland held their nerves in an outstanding manner to secure Premier League football next season and Wenger could not deny this.

“You have to expect your opponent to play well and you to be good enough to beat them despite that. Overall it is what it is.

“We are in a strong position now to finish in the top three. Let’s do it and finish the season well in the cup final. We have to recover. It’s important to win on Sunday and give a good final game to our fans. After that we need to prepare for the FA Cup final,” he said.

Asides third place being relatively secure, Wenger would also take solace in the performances of his recovering players, particularly Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.

He (Wilshere) did alright. He had a good change of pace, he gave a good chance to Mesut Ozil in the first half and he worked very hard for a guy who has not started since November. He was good. Theo Walcott came on and played well, Kieran Gibbs has done well. That’s positive.”

Arsenal v Monaco: I’m Not Bothered By Pressure – Wenger

Wenger UCL
Arsene Wenger

The pressure on Arsenal as favourites for their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Monaco is welcome, says Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, before Wednesday’s first leg at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have exited the competition at this stage in each of the last four seasons.

“The French might give us the status of favourites. It doesn’t bother me.

“There’s a lot at stake but these are the games you want to play,” said Wenger.

The Ligue 1 side gave Wenger his big break in management in the late 1980s but the Arsenal boss was not in sentimental mood in his pre-match press conference.

On reunion with Monaco, Wenger expressed his excitement on the club’s return to the top level from the second division.

“I am happy that Monaco is back at the top level after being in the second division.

“It was my first chance at a big club but I have been manager of Arsenal for 18 years now and I am focused only on qualifying for the quarter-finals against a good side.”

On team selection, he said the only uncertainty he had was [Jack] Wilshere, “but everybody else is available”.

When asked about goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Wenger said: “I cannot tell you [who will be] goalkeeper.

“I worry about every player, but only 11 players can start. That’s the same for everyone. There’s competition for players.”

On Arsenal’s (allegedly) easy draw, the Arsenal boss said: “Easy is a word you have to ban in the Champions League, it is hard-earned every time.

“There’s always one goal between going out and staying in.

“In the last four years we’ve gone out in the last 16, twice against the winner, on goal difference or on one goal.”

Speaking on the French side, Wenger said: “They might give us the status of favourites. It doesn’t bother me.
“The worst thing that happened in my career was to play games without any pressure. There’s a lot at stake.

“These are the games you want to play when you are a player and a manager.”

The Gunners will be hosting the Ligue 1 side, AS Monaco in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16, at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

FA Cup: Wenger Gives Updates On Arsenal’s Injured Players

Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Arsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger, has disclosed some details about his team on Friday, ahead of the team’s FA Cup game against Middlesbrough.

Wenger, revealed that “Alexis is still not able to go out (and) he could be short again for Sunday,” stressing also that Aaron Ramsey would be out as he has a little hamstring strain.

On whether Ramsey has an underlying problem, Wenger said “We haven’t found the underlying reason.

“There is an underlying reason that is certainly medical or bio-mechanical because he is a guy who is serious, works hard, has a controlled and disciplined life, so there’s no obvious reason why he should have muscular problems.”

When Wenger was asked whether he would change his training regime, he said “No, we have individualised training for the players and prevention.

“I don’t think that is any special case that has been neglected, it’s just that we have to find a reason why that happens.

“It’s not a major injury, it’s a Grade One, a small injury, a small muscle problem,” the 2014 FA Cup Winner noted, confirming that the injury would keep Ramsey out for about two weeks.

On Jack Wilshere, Wenger said “He’s motivated and focused to come back as quickly as possible.

“He worked very hard but he has still been out for [more than two] months and what he needs now is to get back.

“Competition gives you that sharpness that training cannot give you because it’s about a combination of fitness and decision-making and speed of decision-making,” Wenger noted, adding that it would take Jack a while to get that back.

He further noted that Oxlade-Chamberlain is the closest to recovery among the trio of Arteta, Debuchy and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal host Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.