Cape Times

Arsenal have enough options, says Wenger


LONDON: After failing to score in their opening two home league games for the first time in 36 years, Arsenal will be looking for their first goals and their first win at the Emirates this season when they play Stoke City tomorrow.

Manager Arsene Wenger has been criticised by the club’s fans for failing to strengthen his team during the transfer window, especially in attack.

Arsenal are sixth in the table with seven points from their opening four matches that include a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace, a 1-0 win at Newcastle and a goalless draw with Liverpool.

But two of those three goals were own goals, and Arsenal appear to have a lack of firepower upfront with Danny Welbeck’s injured knee keeping him out of the side at least until Christmas time.

Including their 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield in August, Arsenal have only scored four goals in five games so far. Wenger, though, defended his transfer policy yesterday, saying he was satisfied with his squad.

“I have made over 300 transfers and every time the decision you make is do you buy the player to strengthen your squad, or not,” he said. “The solutions we had were not convincing at all and in the end you do not buy to give wrong hopes.

“Buying and selling is one way to strengthen your team but it is not your only way.

“It’s about finding an effi- cient solution. They don’t just drop down from heaven.”

Welbeck, scored only four league goals in his first season at Arsenal following his move from Manchester United just over a year ago, but knows where the net is as his 14 goals in 33 England appearance­s prove.

Without him, the burden falls on Olivier Giroud, who has scored once this season, and Alexis Sanchez, who hasn’t scored any, as Wenger’s senior front two, although Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey have consistent­ly backed up with goals from midfield in the past.

Asked about Giroud’s start to the season – he was jeered by French fans for a series of missed chances in France’s friendly against Serbia on Monday – Wenger replied: “I have confidence in the ability and quality of our strikers.

“I’m confident that I have enough cover and quality.”

The last time Arsenal failed to score in their opening two league matches was in the old First Division in August 1979 when they lost 2-0 to Ipswich Town and drew 0-0 with United at Highbury – the same sequence they have had this season with a 2-0 loss to West Ham followed by the draw with Liverpool.

If they are looking for omens, their third home game ended in a 2-0 win over Middlesbro­ugh, a result that would delight everyone connected with the club this weekend. – Reuters

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