Belfast Telegraph

Returning stars will give Arsenal balance, says Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hopes his returning full-backs will give the Gunners a better balance for the rest of the season.

Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson are all back in action after periods on the sidelines, while Andre Santos is also close to a return.

Wenger told the Arsenal website: "I felt that for a long time we had to play players out of position and when we go into crucial games that is not ideal.

"You play a right back in the right back position, and a left back in the left back position and it gives you a natural balance.

"So far we are in a shape that is quite positive because we are motivated, we have good confidence levels and we have some players available who are used to playing in those positions."

Wenger will be hoping captain Robin van Persie shows no ill effects from his midweek outing for Holland as the Gunners prepare for tomorrow's lunchtime Barclays Premier League clash at Liverpool.

Van Persie was withdrawn at half-time of Wednesday night's 3-2 friendly win over England at Wembley to avoid aggravating a tight groin which had caused him to miss the final minutes of the Oranje's pre-match training session.

The Dutchman is just one goal short of 30 for the season, and Gunners legend Dennis Bergkamp - who won three league titles and four FA Cups - hopes Van Persie will soon be rewarded with trophies as Arsenal look to end their long trophy drought.

"It seems he can make the difference time after time and in my opinion that describes a great player," Bergkamp said in the official Arsenal magazine.

"It is fantastic how he has developed himself, and players like that deserve trophies. I honestly hope that comes soon, because his character and style of play is fantastic."

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey missed Wednesday's Gary Speed Memorial Match against Costa Rica due to an ankle injury, and may struggle to be involved for his club tomorrow.

Winger Tomas Rosicky also did not play in midweek, the Czech Republic international having picked up a back problem in the 5-2 win over Tottenham.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have announced Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith - a former board member who remains a minority shareholder - has been confirmed as an honorary vice-president of the club.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph