Arsenal confident ahead of tough UEFA Champions League opener vs. Marseille
Following five-straight wins in all competitions, of course the Gunners will be going into Wednesday evening’s game against Marseille full of swagger.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his team are churning out top performances, as they move towards hitting top-gear early in the season.
One great stat to come after the 3-1 away win at the Stadium of Light last weekend, Arsenal have won nine-straight games away from home in all competitions. So the North London club won’t be holding back in the fiery cauldron of the Stade Velodrome on Wednesday.
“We have a good away record – we have always been very audacious away,” Wenger said. “Sometimes at home, through some spells last season, we played a bit with the handbrake because we have not had the same confidence at the Emirates that we have away from home. But we will always try to play.”
Expect plenty of attacking panache from Arsenal, especially after the arrival of German international playmaker Mesut Ozil who dazzled on his debut against Sunderland.
But with several slight injury worries heading into this one, Wenger is rightly concerned about his squad lasting the grueling schedule that lies before them in the next two months. Midweek Champions League and English League Cup games coupled with tough Premier League matches at the weekend and a crucial international break in October... Arsenal fans will be holding their breath as their walking wounded do battle over the next eight weeks.
Wenger is “scared” that his squad isn’t big enough. Well, Arsene, you certainly had plenty of time to strengthen it over the summer but only brought in Ozil, Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sonogo. He only has himself to blame, which make his comments before the tough test with Olympique de Marseille a little ridiculous.
“We have a quality squad but I’m a bit scared about the numbers we have in the squad,” Wenger said. “We will face problems because of the numbers in our squad but we’ll do everything we can to rival the big clubs. But I am concerned because we play now for two months every three or four days and it’s important to get some players back, because you cannot play for the next two months with the squad we have at the moment.”
At the moments Thomas Vermaelen is making his way back from injury, as is Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla has been ruled out for the next 2-3 weeks with an ankle injury. Elsewhere, leading scorer Olivier Giroud is nursing a knee problem and Ozil has been feeling the affects of a stomach bug. To say Arsenal are thin on the ground is an understatement. Their starting eleven is top quality, but outside that, eh, not so much.
With the transfer window shut and fans expecting success in both domestic and European competitions, seems like Wenger’s small squad will be shuffled ferociously over the coming months.
I like Wenger, a lot. But he seems to have created a problem for himself with the lack of transfer activity this summer. He went for quality over quantity with his transfer policy... will that cost him?