Striker linked as Carling Cup draw made

Reports from France suggest Arsenal could be on the brink of signing Monaco’s South Korean striker Park Chu-Young.

Park was due to join Lille, but apparently left midway through his medical tests there to travel to London to join Arsenal. Lille’s president Michel Seydoux said, “Park went to England, apparently to Arsenal. We are stunned by this unacceptable behaviour.”

BBC’s football reporter, David Ornstein, has confirmed with Lille that Park is on his way to sign for the Gunners. More on this as we get it.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been drawn against Shrewbury Town in the 3rd round of the Carling Cup. The game will take place at the Grove in the week beginning Sept 19th.

Wenger: New faces would help us compete with United

Arsene Wenger believes that Arsenal will be able to challenge Manchester United for the Premier League title if they make two or three signings before the close of the transfer window.

Accepting that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have started with more vigour than usual and maintaining that they are the outright favourites for the season ahead, the Frenchman stressed that he still had utmost confidence in his own young squad to be a competitive force on the domestic scene.

“They [United] have regenerated quite well compared to last year. There are still some good, experienced weapons on the bench.

“Last Monday [against Spurs] when they made the changes there was still Berbatov and Giggs coming on, Carrick and Park. I would not be surprised if all these players start against us.

“They are the favourites because they won it last year and do not look weaker. It’s up to us to make sure they do not win it.

“I try to strengthen the squad in depth because at the moment we are a bit short numbers wise. If we get two or three players in, we have the quality to challenge them.

Asked if he was worried about the clock counting down on the transfer window, Wenger, who also expressed a specific desire to sign a striker, confirmed it was an unavoidable concern:

“Am I anxious? Yes, because I want to do it [make signings]. I am confident as well because we have some good young players who can make a step up very quickly.

One player who looks unlikely to be a member of the Gunners squad in the near future is 19-year-old Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell. Although the teenager has represented his national team at both youth and full level Wenger confirmed he has yet to seal the necessary paperwork which would allow him to play in England:

“We don’t have a work permit for Joel Campbell at the moment and we’re not in the position where we know if we’ll get one.”

AW: “We’re looking for a striker”

With Nicklas Bendtner on his way out, Arsene Wenger feels the club are short of striking options and said he’s on the lookout for a signing before the transfer window closes.

Asked about Bendtner’s departure, the boss said, “We are looking for one more striker because we know he will leave. We will be short this season because we also have Chamakh leaving for the African Cup of Nations”.

Wenger still expects Bendtner to find a new club despite having an ankle injury which could keep him out for two months. “He has an ankle problem. It is not a bad injury and not threatening, but he will be out for two months. But I cannot give you a day that he will be back”.

It strikes us that a player facing a two month lay-off just five days before the transfer window closes might well be hard to move on. Then again, based on everything we’ve seen so far this summer, a £35m move to Man City isn’t impossible either.

Update: Seems the Wenger quote should read “but he will not be out for two months”. Which makes much more sense and could add another £5m to whatever City pay for him!

Wenger hits out at Bolton over Cahill

Arsene Wenger has reacted to Bolton’s public statements regarding the club’s bid for defender Gary Cahill.

Described earlier in the day as ‘not even close to derisory’ by Owen Coyle, Bolton chairman Phil Gartside took to Twitter to re-tweet a Bolton fan’s opinion of the reported bid.

boltontweet

When quizzed about it in his press conference, Wenger said, “That number is completely wrong. If Gartside can say I am lying I am ready to confront him.. You can believe Gartside or you can believe me. It’s not right. It’s not the truth.

“The truth is that we never speak about our negotiations. If a club doesn’t want to sell a player it can keep him. When we sign a player we come out here and tell you and keep the price a secret”.

And just to make things even more clear, Wenger said, “If you ask do I want to buy your house and you are not happy with the price you say no, that’s it.

“Why should you feel insulted? I don’t understand. If the player is not for sale they can keep him. I don’t understand the problem. If we want to buy the player we buy the player. I do not have to explain for how much.”

Arsenal’s chief negotiator, Dick Law, was in Bolton on Monday to try and broker a deal but clearly the difference between the clubs was too great, and with this very public falling out, it remains to be seen if Arsenal will turn their attention elsewhere.

Also, Phil Gartside has a midget’s head. Seriously, he does.

philgartside_midgethead

Arseblog News suspects that Arsenal will try and do business with a club that isn’t run by an oversized Time Bandit.

Djourou and Koscielny fit, but Vermaelen ‘a little doubt’ for United

Arsene Wenger has confirmed this afternoon that both Johan Djourou and Tomas Rosicky will be available for Sunday’s match against Manchester United, while French centre-back Laurent Koscielny is also in contention.

Worries remain though about the fitness of Thomas Vermaelen after the Belgian picked up a knock in Wednesday’s match against Udinese.

Midfield pair Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere are not expected to be available for several more weeks, Kieran Gibbs is still sidelined with a hamstring problem while Sebastian Squillaci is struggling with a troublesome calf (I recognise this makes him sound like a vet).

Arsenal will also be without Alex Song, Emmanuel Frimpong and Gervinho who are all suspended.

More to follow…

Miles: Arsenal are open for business until transfer deadline day

Arsenal club secretary David Miles believes that Arsene Wenger will be working on signing new players right up to the transfer deadline.

The Frenchman has remained coy on whether or not he will be adding high profile additions to his young Gunners squad, but having sealed Champions League football and with at least £60 million in the bank from the sale of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri he is fully expected to do so by success hungry supporters.

Speaking in the aftermath of this afternoon’s Champions League draw which pits Arsenal against French side Marseille, Greek champions Olympiakos and Bundesliga winners Borussia Dortmund, Miles told Sky Sports:

“I think that you’ll appreciate I can’t exactly give you specifics but certainly everyone is committed.

“If there’s quality players to be brought in I’ve got every faith in Arsene Wenger that he’ll do so.

“As you rightly say we’ve got just under a week. I’ve been involved myself in some last minute transfers so until the window actually closes I think that we’re still open for business.”

In the last 24 hours the likes of Swiss starlet Xherdan Shaqiri, French enforcer Yann M’Vila, Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard and Everton’s Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta have all been linked with the club.

Arsenal draw Marseille, Olympiakos and Borussia Dortmund in UCL

The draw for the 2011-12 Champions League has taken place in Monaco this afternoon and after qualifying for the competition proper for the 14th successive season, Arsene Wenger’s young squad will now face Marseille, Olympiakos and Borussia Dortmund.

Full Champions League Draw

Group A – Bayern Munich / Villarreal / Manchester City / Napoli

Group B – Inter Milan / CSKA Moscow / Lille / Trabzonspor

Group C – Manchester United / Benfica / FC Basel / Otelul Galati

Group D – Real Madrid / Lyon / Ajax / Dinamo Zagreb

Group E – Chelsea / Valencia / Bayer Leverkusen / Genk

Group F – Arsenal / Marseille / Olympiakos / Borussia Dortmund

Group G – FC Porto / Shakhtar Donetsk / Zenit St Petersburg / APOEL

Group H – Barcelona / AC Milan / BATE Borisov / Viktoria Plzen

 

Arsenal Fixtures (All matches to be played at 7.45pm)

BV Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal / Tuesday, September 13

Arsenal v Olympiacos FC / Wednesday September 28

Olympique de Marseille v Arsenal / Wednesday, October 19

Arsenal v Olympique de Marseille / Tuesday, November 1

Arsenal v BV Borussia Dortmund / Wednesday, November 23

Olympiacos FC v Arsenal / Tuesday, December 6
PLEASE NOTE: Tottenham Hotspur are not in the Champions League.

RVP and Jenks hail character

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Both Robin van Persie and Carl Jenkinson have praised the spirit of the Arsenal team after last night’s 2-1 win over Udinese.

The Gunners came from a goal down to qualify for the Champions League knock-out stages for the 15th consecutive time, and while the squad was weaker than many would like, a ‘proud’ van Persie reckons they made up for up using Arsene Wenger’s favourite quality.

“Some people questioned our mental strength, but if you look at the game that’s what we showed”, he told Arsenal Player. “Now it’s up to us to show that every three or four days, not just tonight. We have to do that over and over again, that’s just football.”

And new boy Jenkinson, making his first ever Champions League start, said, “Tonight showed completely how together we are, and our character shone through. We had some tricky times out there where a lesser team might have crumbled and would not have battled like we did.

“We’ve had some down times lately and that win is massive for us. It showed how united we are, how together we are.

“I’m just happy that over the 90 minutes we showed how good we are, got the win we needed and we’re in the Champions League where we should be”.

Arsenal go into the Champions League group stages draw later today which takes place at 4.45pm.

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Udinese 1-3 Arsenal (agg): By The Numbers

Champions League data can be notoriously difficult to find but never fear, 7amkickoff is here with some fresh numbers for you to digest.

The Numbers:

92 – Percent of 71 passes completed by Aaron Ramsey**
78 – Percent of 41 passes completed by Benatia
0 – Percent chance I heard of Benatia before this match
0 – Percent chance any of us will remember his name after tonight’s celebrations
21 – Number of passes between Vermaelen and Sagna*
17 – Number of passes between Ramsey and Song and Sagna and Ramsey
12 – Number of passes between Frimpong and van Persie
1 –
Fouls committed each by Frimpong and Jenkinson
4 – Fouls committed by Song
4 – Days since Arsenal have had a red card
331 –
Days since an Arsenal keeper last saved a penalty in the Champions League (Partizan 1-3 Arsenal)
331 –
Days since Arsenal last recorded an away win in the Champions League (Partizan 1-3 Arsenal)
14 – Consecutive years that Arsenal have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League
10 – Consecutive Champions League qualifiers that Arsenal have won
21 – Positive goal differential for Arsenal in those 10 matches
19 – Arsenal shots
13 – Arsenal shots on goal
229 – Days since Arsenal last had 13 or more shots on goal (Arsenal 1-1 Leeds, FA Cup, January 2011)
35 – Degrees Centigrade at kickoff
20440 – Combined Meters covered by Walcott and Jenkinson on the right**
18582 – Combined Meters covered by Sagna and Gervinho on the left
7103 – Bottles of Lucozade consumed by the Arsenal players after the match

Let me know if I missed anything!

*Led his team in this category
**Led both teams in this category

Wenger on Udinese win: We showed great belief in our football

Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to his young Arsenal squad after they secured a 3-1 aggregate win over Udinese to seal a 14th successive season of Champions League football.

Second half goals from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, either side of a vital penalty save by Wojciech Szczesny, helped sealed a 2-1 win on the night as the Gunners fought back from 1-0 down at half-time to ease the tension which has been hanging over the red side of North London in recent weeks.

Speaking to ITV after the match the Frenchman reflected: “It’s a relief of course because we didn’t want to go out. I feel pride as well because we had our backs to the wall at half-time and responded very well in the second half. There was only one team on the pitch in the second half

“Wojciech saved the penalty, which was [given] very generously. Overall though we had a great football game tonight.

“Since the beginning of the season when we finished games with eleven players we always won the game.

“Under pressure [this team] can respond with football. They remained calm and composed on the ball and tried to play like we can play. They showed great belief in the way we want to play football.

“There are many questions around our club, if we had gone out tonight it would of course had been much worse for the team to play in a serene way. It was very important tonight, not financially as many people said, but more for the fact we want to play at the top level.”

Asked if the result, and another season of Champions League football, would now result in him spending money in the transfer market, Wenger continued:

“We work very hard on it, I’ve said that many times. We have many players out. The team that played tonight  was missing top class players. I think we can be very positive.

“There may be signings, but I cannot give you any name tonight. I cannot lie and say we signed somebody, because it’s not true. We try very hard.”