Arsene Wenger: Arsenal boss says ‘retirement is dying’ as he vows to continue

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has reiterated his desire to manage next season as he believes “retirement is dying” for people of his age.

Wenger, 67, has been criticised by some fans after Arsenal slipped to sixth in the Premier League following four defeats in their past five games.

A 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League added to the pressure on the Frenchman.

But Wenger said: “I will not retire. Retiring is for young people.”

Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season but he has been offered a new two-year deal. He says he will make a decision on his future “very soon”.

“For old people retirement is dying,” added Wenger, speaking before Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Manchester City.

“I still watch every football game. I find it interesting.”

Wenger is into his 21st year as Arsenal manager but he has not led the Gunners to a Premier League title in 13 years.

“Of course I’m as hungry,” he said. “I carry a bit more pressure on my shoulders than 20 years ago but the hunger is exactly the same.

“When you see what the club was and what it is today – when I arrived we were seven people [members of staff], we are 700 today.”

He added: “I hate defeat. I can understand the fans that are unhappy with every defeat but the only way to have victory is to stick together with the fans and give absolutely everything until the end of the season, that’s all we can do.”

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Wenger: This win gives us a platform

London – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger felt his side had established a benchmark for their season after a convincing 3-0 win over Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield

Read: Arsenal Thrash City

Substitute Olivier Giroud capped a one-sided victory with a brilliant 25-yard strike on the hour mark at Wembley on Sunday, after first-half goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey had put Arsenal in control.

Arsenal’s league title bid last season was fatally undermined by losses to their biggest rivals – including a 6-3 humbling at City – and Wenger is hopeful that the FA Cup winners have now turned a corner.

“To win today gives us a positive platform to prepare,” the Frenchman told his post-game media conference.

“You want to win the game and you want to look at the quality of the performance as well.

“It was important for our confidence to win the game, but it was even more important to have a big part in the game with the quality.

“And that is a comfort for me to see that we can produce the kind of quality that we have produced for some long patches in the game.”

Reminded of his team’s poor record against their title rivals last season, he replied: “That’s why it was important for us today (Sunday) not to lose the game.

“Last year we were very consistent against the teams below the top six and not consistent against the top six teams. The year before it was the reverse. So let’s hope that this year it will be right on both sides.”

Wenger was particularly pleased by the performances of new signings Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez.

He said that 19-year-old Chambers, who again played at centre-back, had been “outstanding” and described Debuchy’s display as “excellent”, while he felt that Sanchez had been “always a danger”.

Wenger also revealed that Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta has succeeded Thomas Vermaelen as club captain following the Belgian defender’s move to Barcelona, with Per Mertesacker named vice-captain.

Vermaelen’s departure leaves Arsenal light at centre-back, with Laurent Koscielny the only other established central defender on the club’s books.

But while Wenger admitted that he would like to bring in another defender, he added: “To find another one of (Vermaelen’s) quality will not be easy.”

The pain of defeat for City was softened by the fact that they were without several key first-team players, including captain Vincent Kompany, right-back Pablo Zabaleta and striker Sergio Aguero.

“It was not the day today to make pressure for different players. It was one game more for pre-season,” said manager Manuel Pellegrini.

“We have seven players who have just worked for five days. They were not considered for this game. We have another five players who have just worked for eight or nine days.

“It’s difficult to be ready in two weeks. Aguero, Zabaleta, (Martin) Demichelis, Kompany, (Bacary) Sagna, Fernandino just arrived seven days ago. They started working on Monday.

“They will have 15 days before we start the Premier League so we’ll see during the week which of them are ready and which of them are not ready.

“It is always bad to lose, but we don’t need to worry.”

City open their league title defence at Newcastle United on Sunday and Pellegrini refused to confirm that England goalkeeper Joe Hart will come back into the team after new signing Willy Caballero played against Arsenal.

“All the 22 players that we have in our squad must demonstrate who is number one in all the positions,” said the Chilean.

“The goalkeeper and the other positions of the team are exactly the same. Joe finished last season playing very well. We’ll see next Sunday which 11 starts against Newcastle.”

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More Wembley joy for Arsenal

London – Arsenal have delivered a rousing demonstration of their Premier League title credentials by overwhelming league champions Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

Buoyed by last season’s FA Cup success over Hull City, Arsene Wenger’s side took charge with first-half goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey before substitute Olivier Giroud added a glorious long-range third.

With £30 million new signing Alexis Sanchez also impressing on a sunny afternoon in northwest London, Arsenal’s fans will hope it proves the precursor to a sustained title challenge, after seeing their side fall away last season.

Victory in the traditional season curtain-raiser — which witnessed the first use of vanishing spray in English football — suggests Arsenal are in fine fettle ahead of their opening league fixture at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

In mitigation for City, manager Manuel Pellegrini could point to the absences of first-teamers such as captain Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but his side’s rustiness will be cause for concern ahead of their season opener at Newcastle United.

With the millstone of a nine-year trophy drought no longer weighing them down, Arsenal made an assured start on their return to Wembley, with new signing Mathieu Debuchy obliging Gael Clichy to head a cross clear.

Debuchy then blocked a shot by Samir Nasri — lustily booed by the fans of his former club — at the other end, before Cazorla gave Arsenal the lead in the 21st minute.

Jack Wilshere was felled on the edge of the box by Dedryck Boyata, but play continued and the ball ran to Cazorla, who threw Clichy off-balance with a clever feint before drilling home left-footed.

Edin Dzeko looked to get City level by racing away from Calum Chambers and teeing up Stevan Jovetic, but Laurent Koscielny produced a timely block. Moments later it was 2-0.

From Sanchez’s sweeping through ball, Yaya Sanogo played a pass inside that was slightly behind Ramsey, but the Welshman checked his run and smartly chipped the ball on before drilling a shot into the bottom-left corner.

It had been a less than ideal first 45 minutes for new City goalkeeper Willy Caballero — who was preferred to Joe Hart — but he helped limit the damage in first-half stoppage time by rushing out to prevent Sanchez collecting a pass from Sanogo.

Sanchez made way for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after a lively first-half cameo on the right flank, while City were given fresh impetus by the introduction of David Silva.

Jovetic twice threatened to halve Arsenal’s lead, heading against the post and blazing the rebound over before seeing a rasping 15-yard shot blocked by Wojciech Szczesny.

But Giroud put the game to bed on the hour, gathering the ball in the inside-right channel and launching a superb, dipping strike from 25 yards that plunged beneath the crossbar.

Arsenal’s fans goaded their City counterparts by aping their backwards-facing ‘Poznan’ goal celebration.

The teams will resume hostilities in the Premier League on September 19, by which time Pellegrini will expect to have witnessed significant improvements.

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Arsenal ‘never wanted Balotelli’

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal were “never in” for Mario Balotelli and told Milan that Joel Campbell isn’t for sale.

The Gunners boss spoke in his press conference this afternoon and shut down on-going transfer gossip about Balotelli.

“For weeks we were buying Balotelli from one minute to the other and it was all wrong. We were never in for him,” insisted Wenger.

“We do not master the noises that come out.”

He was also at great pains to point out Costa Rica striker Campbell, who spent last season on loan at Olympiacos, was not heading for Milan.

“Yes, Joel Campbell is part of my plans. He might play tomorrow against Benfica.”

Wenger also wants to see England win the next World Cup with a team made up of Arsenaltalent.

The 64-year-old has signed England Under-19 captain Calum Chambers from Southamptonduring his summer recruit drive, with the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain andTheo Walcott already in his ranks at the Emirates Stadium.

With previous World Cup winners Spain and Germany having a nucleus of players fromBarcelona and Bayern Munich, respectively, Wenger is keen to provide the backbone of an England team who can challenge for major honours in the coming years.

“He was a long-term goal,” Wenger said when asked about his pursuit of Chambers.

“I like the player and the quality he has, he is a young prospect as well.

Of Wenger’s current home-grown crop, only Wilshere appeared from England in Brazil in a disappointing showing from Roy Hodgson’s side.

Since then the 22-year-old midfielder, who has suffered with knee and ankle injuries in recent years, has courted controversy having been photographed smoking a cigarette whilst on holiday.

But Wenger has been impressed with the player he has seen in pre-season training, although he admits the coming campaign will be a pivotal one for Wilshere’s development.

“It is a big season for Jack,” Wenger said.

“But in the last three years, for me, this is the best shape he’s has been in. He has prepared, I think he is rid of his ankle problems and if he can maintain that I think he will have a great season – but it is a very important season for him.”

If Wilshere can keep fit and hold down a place in an ever-competitive Arsenal midfield, he could find himself playing alongside Chambers – who Wenger believes is equally adept at playing in a more advanced role as he is at operating at full-back or in the heart of the defence.

The move away from Southampton continued an exodus from St Mary’s, with Chambers joining Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw in leaving the south-coast side.

The 19-year-old has also extended the trend of Arsenal taking young, English talent away from Southampton, joining Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain in north London.

Wenger admits the Saints could have been one of the biggest teams in Europe had they kept those players, as well as current Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, and will be watching on intently as new coach Ronald Koeman looks to cope with the loss of so many talented players.

“I respect the quality of work they have done,” added Wenger.

“You look at Southampton and the team they had last year, plus Walcott, Chamberlain and Bale – they could have won the European Cup had they managed to keep everyone together.

“The modern game has changed and the smaller clubs with less potential are not in a position to keep their players. It will be interesting to see how they get over what happened to them.

“They have made a lot of income and they have shown in the past they are very clever at scouting and it will be very interesting to see how they manage what has happened to them.”

“He is English and I hope in the future we have a core of the English national team because what we have learned over the past two World Cups is that Spain won it with six players from Barcelona, this time Germany won it with six players from Bayern Munich – I hope England win it with six players from Arsenal.” 

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Arsenal confirm Sanchez deal

Arsenal signalled their attacking intent for the looming Premier League season by completing the signing of Chile striker Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona on Thursday.

No fee was disclosed but Arsenal are believed to have paid in the region of 35 million pounds ($59.56 million) for the 25-year-old Chile international who joined Barcelona from Udinese in 2011 and went on to score 47 goals in 141 games.

“As many people have seen during the World Cup this summer, Alexis is a fantastic footballer and we are delighted that he is joining us,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on the club’s website (www.arsenal.com).

“Alexis will add power, creativity and quality to our squad and we are looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks.”

The clubs had already reached a deal in principle but were ironing out personal terms for the player who was deemed surplus to requirements at Barca by new manager Luis Enrique despite his healthy goalscoring record.

Sanchez’s move to London will be a blow to Liverpool who were hoping to sign him as part of a deal taking Luis Suarez in the other direction. Sanchez had also attracted interest from Italian champions Juventus.

“I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London,” Sanchez, who completed a medical on Thursday, said.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my new team mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League.”

Sanchez was a key member of the Chile team that shone in Brazil, reaching the World Cup last 16 before losing to the hosts on penalties. He scored two goals in four appearances.

Arsenal’s lack of striking prowess has been blamed for their failure to challenge for the Premier League title since the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012.

Their total of 68 goals from 38 matches was the lowest of the top four last season with Frenchman Olivier Giroud scoring 16 in the league.

With Chelsea having already signed Spain striker Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, Wenger has moved quickly in the transfer window to beef up his attacking options.

Blessed with exceptional pace and ball control, Sanchez should prove to be a popular signing for the club’s fans, not to mention his new team mates.

“What a Signing!!!!! Can not wait and looking forward to playing with Alexis Sanchez!!!!!” England forward Theo Walcott said on Twitter after the news broke.

Sanchez, who grew up in Tocopilla, a grim industrial city in northern Chile, scored 39 goals in 88 La Liga games for Barcelona, helping them win one La Liga title, one King’s Cup, two Spanish Super Cups, one European Super Cup and one Club World Cup.

“He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the squad,” Wenger said.

Sanchez is expected to make his first appearance in Arsenal colours in the pre-season Emirates Cup on August 2-3.

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Wenger signs three-year Arsenal deal

Arsene Wenger has signed a new three-year deal to remain as Arsenal manager until 2017.
Wenger, 64, has led Arsenal to eight major trophies since joining them in September 1996.

This season he guided the Gunners to a 17th consecutive Champions League qualification and ended a nine-year wait for silverware with victory over Hull City in the FA Cup final.
The Frenchman was coming to the end of his previous contract.

Arsenal had not lifted a major domestic trophy since 2005 prior to the recent FA Cup triumph, although they did reach the Champions League final in 2006.

During Wenger’s time at the club, Arsenal moved to the new Emirates Stadium close to their old ground at Highbury.

Wenger, who became the longest-serving manager in England when Sir Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United in May 2013, is credited with bringing new ideas about sports science and nutrition (external) to English football.

“This is a guy who works 24 hours a day all year around,” former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson told BBC Radio 5 live.

“He hates to lose. He totally revolutionised all sorts of things in the game in this country. People tend to think he has too much power, (but) a guy who dedicates himself to the game in the manner that he does is someone you treasure.”

Wenger’s greatest achievements was when his side, dubbed ‘the Invincibles’, remained unbeaten in winning the 2003-04 Premier League with a team featuring striker Thierry Henry and captain Patrick Vieira

A quiet summer in the transfer market in 2013 and a 3-1 defeat at home by Aston Villa on the first day of last season drew criticism from some sections of Arsenal support.

The signing of Mesut Ozil for £42.4m on transfer deadline day and a good start to the season, where Arsenal were top of the Premier League for long periods, helped Wenger.

But a 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea in March saw him under fire again after his 1,000th game in charge, and Arsenal slipped out of contention for the Premier League title, eventually won by Manchester City.

But despite the uncertainty over his manager’s future, in January the Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis predicted that Wenger would sign a new contract in due course.

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Ramsey ‘will be big summer target ‘

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be a summer transfer target for several high-profile clubs, according to ex-Gunners striker John Hartson.

Wales international Ramsey, 23, hopes to secure his first piece of silverware with Arsenal when they face Hull in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

“Aaron Ramsey will be linked to 10 clubs in the summer,” Hartson said.
“But I can’t see him leaving Arsenal in the foreseeable future. He’s settled and loves the club.”

Ramsey, who signed a new five-year contract in March, impressed for Arsenal this season despite four months on the sidelines.
Hartson added: “He’s a top player and Arsenal don’t want to lose him.

“He may feel ‘I’ve had one outstanding season and Arsenal stuck by me when I wasn’t playing that great a few years ago’.
“When he does get linked and when bids come in for him that tells you he’s doing exceptionally well.”

Caerphilly-born Ramsey left Cardiff City to join Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal rather than Manchester United in the summer of 2008.
However, he broke a leg against Stoke City in February 2010, and admitted it took him years to regain his regain his confidence.

He scored 13 goals in 27 games this season before suffering a thigh injury in the 3-1 victory at West Ham on Boxing Day.
He returned in Arsenal’s defeat at Everton on 6 April and scored two goals during the closing weeks of the season, including a stunning volley on the final day against Norwich City.

“Aaron’s done terrifically well. He’s shown great mental strength,” added Hartson, who spent two years at Arsenal and won 51 caps for Wales.
“Let’s not forget 18 months ago at Arsenal he was facing a bit of a backlash from the home fans. They were thinking, ‘he’s not really stepped up his performances’.

“But he’s found something. He’s gone up a gear and he’s so influential to Arsenal now and the way they play.”

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Chelsea v Arsenal: 1,000th game leaves a nasty scar on Arsene Wenger’s heart

The nature and scale of this defeat will deepen the suspicion that Arsene Wenger’s teams can go so far towards success but then no further – promise and potential always unravel

On the eve of the worst party in football history Arsene Wenger said: “Every defeat is a scar in your heart.” This one left a gash on Arsenal’s season, Wenger’s 18-year reign and the credibility of a sport too manic to stop for 60 seconds to check whether the right player has been sent off.

The Kieran Gibbs-Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain red card farrago cannot hide Arsenal’s ineptitude here at Stamford Bridge. In isolation, a 6-0 defeat to Chelsea could be dismissed as a freakish derby day demolition. But the Gunners have a habit of collapsing away from home against fellow title contenders. They went down 6-3 at Manchester City and 5-1 at Liverpool. They have lost 17-4 on the road against fellow top four teams.

Arsenal’s hopes of raising the Premier League trophy in May expired before they were reduced to 10 by Andre Marriner sending the wrong man off. By then they were already 2-0 down after twice losing the ball in the centre of the pitch and failing to react to Chelsea’s counter-attacks.

Even in the warm-up Arsenal looked dopey. In the nostalgic preamble Wenger remembered banning Mars bars before his first game in charge, way back in 1996. Get them back on the menu. In those first seven minutes, when Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle scored, Lukas Podolski was malingering high up the pitch as Chelsea attacked his flank and Arsenal’s defenders retreated as a rabble rather than a defensive unit who had studied Chelsea’s speed on the counter.

The FA Cup still offers salvation for Wenger, who won seven trophies in his first 500 games and none in his second half-century. As the anniversary approached, he emphasised the importance of top-four finishes, of consistency. We all joined the Arsene Wenger Appreciation Society to salute a manager (and a man) of real class. But the fixture list was not joining in. Wenger ended up in the kitchen at his own party, wishing everyone would leave. Fans of Mike Leigh’s plays will appreciate the joke by one tweeter who called this “the most unsuccessful party since Abigail’s.”

The lyricism and wisdom of Wenger’s look-back at the Arsenal training ground on Friday was blown away by Mourinho’s marauding team in “10 amazing minutes,” to quote the Chelsea manager, who said “we came to kill.” Chelsea’s power, pace and defensive strength was too much for an Arsenal side who looked frail, small, floaty and ill-equipped to win this title race, which will now be fought out by Chelsea, Liverpool and City. West London has a hex on the north. Spurs went down 4-0 here two weeks ago.

“Specialist in failure,” chanted Chelsea’s fans, reviving Mourinho’s taunt. The patience operated by (and extended to) Wenger by the Arsenal board appears to be viewed by Mourinho as some kind of personal affront. What is it: jealousy? Contempt for Wenger’s philosophy? Either way he found a weapon far more powerful than press conference slurs. This was the joint-highest margin of defeat endured by Wenger in his thousand games, matching the 8-2 defeat at Manchester United in August 2011.

That day Sir Alex Ferguson felt sorry for Wenger. An internal voice said “enough” when the score reached seven. The point about Arsenal’s frailty had been made. There was no such sympathy here for Wenger, whose future is once more in doubt, at least until the FA Cup has been played out. Those Arsenal fans who feel his reign has run its course will feel emboldened to say again that the farewells should be said in May.

Plainly Arsenal are in a pattern where paradise never comes. The squad bristles with good young players. Most have been signed to long-term deals. No Premier League club would turn away Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Gibbs and Serge Gnabry. But at the core of the last few years has been an inability to sustain the challenge for major honours. There is a kind of conviction deficit that shows in the biggest matches.

Wenger left Stamford Bridge without attending the usual press conference. The press office staff said he had spoken to newspaper reporters for Monday’s editions. But this was a sad postscript to Friday’s Arsene Wenger love-in, with its celebratory, respectful tone. It was no more than he deserved. We see now, though, how he has walked the rim of the volcano since Arsenal’s last major trophy, in 2005. The mantra of consistency, improvement and financial prudence cannot withstand the turbulence of 6-3, 5-1 and 6-0 defeats to the club’s biggest rivals.

Injuries are a factor, clearly, but are not a get-out-of-jail card. On the simplest level, Wenger’s reliance on Olivier Giroud up front is an indictment of transfer policy. Giroud, beset by personal problems, lumbered at Spurs and lumbered again here. The concession of those two early goals, meanwhile, pointed to poor preparation, mentally and tactically.

Opinions on Arsenal have lurched this way and that all season. If they win the FA Cup the reviews may turn again. Undeniably, though, the nature and scale of this defeat will deepen the suspicion that Wenger’s teams can go so far towards success but then no further. Year after year we see promise and potential unravel.

A reckoning is coming, on all sides. This thousandth game started out as a chance to praise a lifetime’s work. It ended with another “scar” on Wenger’s heart. A really nasty one.