JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Arsene Wenger says 'exodus is over' at Arsenal

Date

Paul Hayward

Arsene Wenger (extreme right) during Arsenal's first team training session on Thursday.

Arsene Wenger (extreme right) during Arsenal's first team training session on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Arsenal's "vulnerability" has ended, Arsene Wenger promises as his team warm up to face the Premier League champions in Sunday's Community Shield. No longer he says will the Gunners be a nursery for richer clubs or weeds in the transfer market.

Manchester City, who caned Wenger's men 6-3 last season, have added Bacary Sagna to the list of players seized from Arsenal but Wenger insists the exodus is over. He also sees the contradiction in his club playing the victim when Arsenal have taken Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and now Calum Chambers from Southampton.

"We are less vulnerable for sure," Wenger says, reflecting on a phase in which he lost Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri to City. "In the last two years we have bought [Mesut] Ozil and [Alexis] Sanchez. Five years ago we would have lost Ozil and Sanchez."

If City have capitalised on Arsenal's developmental work Wenger is no longer asking for sympathy. "Look, Southampton could say that today," he says. "The team they had last year, if they had Chamberlain, Walcott and Gareth Bale, we see the quality of the work they have done. They could say they are in a position today that we were in years before with the other clubs who had superior financial power."

Wenger's cheeriness reflects the catharsis of the 2014 FA Cup final win and the sense that the Emirates construction bill is no longer restricting first-team finance. Seasoned Arsenal watchers think he still needs an A-list deep midfielder, another striker and a centre-half to replace Thomas Vermaelen, who looks sure to leave.

The mood, though, is noticeably brighter as Sanchez works on his English. "We're lots [he meant lost]," the club's new Chilean striker said as he marched through the Arsenal press room looking for the exit. There are more 'ins' than 'outs' these days, even if Sagna's departure still needles Wenger. "Always, because he came here unknown and he made his career and became a French international," he said.

"I respect Sagna because until the last day of his contract he was super professional. After, OK, he decided to go somewhere else, but he was ready to die on the football pitch to fulfil his contract and I respect that. I made him a proposal to stay for three years and he chose City. Had he chosen that a long time ago? Maybe. Has he made an early decision? Maybe. It looks to me like he agreed it a long time before."

The identity of Sunday's opponents was bound to stir memories of last season's crushing defeats at City, Liverpool and Chelsea, but Wenger places the Manchester result in a separate category. He says the damage was "honestly not so much because we finished with 10 men and when we looked at the game again we had six or seven chances to score. I took a gamble at 10 against 11 like I always do to have a chance to come back, but when you look at the chances we missed, that was not damaging.

"For us what was damaging was the two games at Liverpool and at Chelsea. With City we came home and felt that we played Wednesday night in Naples and then Saturday morning at Man City and we had plenty of chances. We were not outplayed, we lost the game in the last 20 minutes really."

Recalling the Liverpool (5-1) and Chelsea (6-0) games he says: "I was concerned. I was concerned and shocked by the number of goals we conceded. Of course we were Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde defensively. We had 18 clean sheets but when we did not keep a clean sheet we let them score. I think it was confidence. But overall we were quite sound defensively. We have a good opportunity to improve that."

Arsenal's World Cup-winning players, Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, return on Monday but will not be considered for the opening Premier League game against Crystal Palace. "The final was July 13. They lost a few days for celebrations," Wenger said. "They played seven games at the World Cup plus a whole English season. You can bring them back quickly and lose them in October. Or bring them back more slowly."

Wenger claimed to have no interest in another German weltmeister, Sami Khedira: "We were never close to signing him because Jack [Wilshere] was just back fit and we have quite a few box to box players." Walcott, on the other hand, will be "back in the group on Aug 31. He's doing well but is not completely ready."

Another Southampton old boy, Chambers, a right-back at Southampton, is spoken of as a possible defensive midfielder.

When Wenger's mind turns to the title race he sees no certainties: "I think today even the most intelligent football people cannot predict who will win the Premier League. That makes it interesting. If a team had won by 10 or 15 points we would say yes. But if we analyse, Chelsea were so close, Liverpool were so close. We were over 100 days top of the league. Man United were not there but will come back." You can tell he fancies Arsenal's chances too.

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Stats
SYD 1 vs HRT 1 Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
SYD 3 vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
HRT 1 vs NEW 1 Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5 vs HRT 2 Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4 vs NEW 1 Stats
ADE 2 vs PER Stats
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
HRT 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER 2 vs NEW 1 Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2 vs CCM Stats
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL Stats
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs BRI 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WSW Stats
ADE vs SYD Stats
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs VIC 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs HRT 3 Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 4 Stats
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs WEL 1 Stats
SYD vs VIC Stats
PER 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
HRT 2 vs CCM 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs BRI Stats
PER 2 vs WEL 1 Stats
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs NEW 1 Stats
HRT 1 vs SYD 2 Stats
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 3 vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1 vs PER 1 Stats
WSW 1 vs SYD 1 Stats
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 5 vs HRT 1 Stats
NEW 1 vs CCM 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1 vs PER 2 Stats
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1 vs WEL 3 Stats
ADE 2 vs WSW Stats
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
HRT 1 vs BRI Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 1 Stats
PER 2 vs NEW Stats
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs CCM 1 Stats
VIC 3 vs SYD 3 Stats
Wed, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 3 vs HRT 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
HRT 1 vs VIC Stats
PER 4 vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 2 Stats
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1 vs WSW 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
HRT 1 vs PER 1 Stats
SYD vs ADE 3 Stats
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3 vs BRI 3 Stats
VIC 1 vs NEW Stats
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WSW Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs HRT 5 Stats
BRI vs SYD Stats
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs WEL 3 Stats
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM Stats
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs PER 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW Stats
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 3 vs BRI Stats
CCM 2 vs HRT Stats
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs VIC 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 7 vs NEW Stats
CCM 1 vs SYD 5 Stats
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 3 vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
HRT 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI 3 vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1 vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
VIC 3 vs HRT Stats
PER 1 vs SYD 3 Stats
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2 vs WEL Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs HRT Stats
NEW 1 vs WSW 1 Stats
SYD 3 vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs PER 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD 4 vs CCM 2 Stats
ADE 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2 vs NEW 2 Stats
HRT vs PER Stats
Wed, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs VIC 19:40Suncorp Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HRT 3 vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM Stats
WSW 3 vs SYD 4 Stats
PER 2 vs BRI 2 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL 3 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 1 Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2 vs ADE Stats
VIC 1 vs PER 1 Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs HRT Stats
BRI 1 vs WSW Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
HRT 4 vs NEW Stats
PER 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 5 vs BRI 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs HRT 1 Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs NEW 2 Stats
ADE 2 vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs CCM 1 Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
HRT vs BRI 19:30AAMI Park
PER vs WSW 21:30nib Stadium
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 15:00Westpac Stadium
NEW vs ADE 17:00Hunter Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 20:00Suncorp Stadium
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs HRT 19:40Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 19:30Allianz Stadium
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 17:00Westpac Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 17:00Hunter Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:40AAMI Park
PER vs SYD 21:45nib Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs WSW 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
HRT vs WEL 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30Westpac Stadium
NEW vs SYD 19:45Hunter Stadium
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30Suncorp Stadium
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER vs HRT 17:00nib Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:40Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW vs PER 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs HRT 19:30Coopers Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs SYD 15:00Westpac Stadium
VIC vs CCM 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 28
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
View All Fixtures
Round 29
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 16:00TBC
View All Fixtures
Round 30
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 16:00TBC
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W L +/- Pts
Wellington Phoenix 22 13 6 16 42
Melbourne Victory 22 11 3 19 41
Sydney FC 22 10 4 10 38
Perth Glory 22 10 4 7 38
Adelaide United 22 11 7 12 37
Melbourne City FC 22 8 8 -1 30
Brisbane Roar 21 7 10 -5 25
Central Coast Mariners 23 4 11 -17 20
View all
 
Featured advertisers