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Wenger's grounds for optimism


Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes it would be too easy to blame Arsenal's move to Emirates Stadium for a lack of trophies in the past five seasons - and maintains his young Gunners have not stood still since leaving Highbury.

Arsenal will on Friday publish their latest set of financial results, which are again expected to show a healthy profit and massive turnover, boosted by increased revenue from the 60,000-seat venue as well as sales from property development at the Gunners old home.

"I believe it is never easy to move to a new stadium. The first plan for us was to stay at the top level of competition and we managed that," said Wenger. "I believe it is a bit simplistic as well to say that we have no trophies, like the club has not existed in the last five years."

The Arsenal board have always backed Wenger in the transfer market, with £50million reportedly at the manager's disposal should he want it. However, Wenger has long instead opted for developing world-class talent, such as captain Cesc Fabregas, instead of simply buying it in.

That policy, though, has so far failed to deliver silverware since the 2005 FA Cup, with the last league title being the unbeaten campaign of 2003-04.

The Gunners boss, however, insists there has been plenty of progress on the field as well as off it.

"We have been fighting for championships and didn't win them, for sure, but it is not easy to move to a new stadium," he added. "If you look at the other teams that have done that and where they are, you realise that is not easy."

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Arsenal head into Saturday's home Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom looking to maintain their early-season momentum, which continued with a morale-boosting midweek Carling Cup victory at rivals Tottenham.

Although Fabregas remains out with a hamstring problem, as does centre-back Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles), there is a chance midfielder Abou Diaby could return from a leg injury suffered in an X-rated challenge from Bolton's Paul Robinson which went unpunished.

Winger Tomas Rosicky (ankle) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) also face fitness tests, but Alex Song returns from suspension and Sebastien Squillaci is expected to come back into central defence having been rested at Spurs.

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