Wenger talks up Arsenal’s title chances

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger declared on Thursday that the strength of his squad convinces him that they stand a “good chance” of winning the Premier League title this season.

It is 11 years since Arsenal’s last league title, but they have won back-to-back FA Cups and are currently second behind Manchester City in the table after a strong start to the campaign.

Wenger saw his side defeat Manchester United 3-0 prior to the international break and with players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at his disposal, he is increasingly optimistic about their title credentials.

Addressing the club’s annual general meeting at the Emirates Stadium, he said: “I know you want to ask me – will we win the championship this year? I think we are back in contention and we have a good chance.

“All of our numbers confirm that we have the potential to be in the fight. We are now equipped around the whole team to say we are really advanced in the way we work, prepare and develop players.”

The Frenchman, now in his 20th year at Arsenal, added: “I know I have faced some adversities, but I am more motivated than ever, more committed than ever.

“I am resolute to commit until the last day of my contract here to bring back big success to this club and leave this club in the position it can do even better when I leave.”

Arsenal’s AGM saw a number of issues raised, ranging from ticket prices and the state of the club’s accounts to the beer served at the Emirates and the quality of defending at set-pieces.

Earlier, Wenger said that he was crossing his fingers that in-form forward Sanchez will return from international duty with Chile unscathed.

Sanchez is in stunning form, having followed up a fine brace against Manchester United with three goals as Chile opened their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with wins over Brazil and Peru.

He was not due to return to England until Thursday and Wenger, whose side visit Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, hopes the 26-year-old has not been overburdened by his international exertions.

“I cannot do a lot about it,” Wenger told his weekly press conference.

“He came off as you have seen against Manchester United with a hip problem, a problem with the rotator muscle, and he wanted to go (with Chile).

“Let’s see what happens and how he comes back. We have to see if we have to protect him in our next game or not.”

Arsenal could be able to recall centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who has been sidelined since the end of last month with a hamstring problem.

But England pair Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck are still some way from full fitness after respectively undergoing leg and knee surgery.

“They are progressing well,” Wenger said. “Jack Wilshere is still one month away at least and Danny Welbeck at the earliest will be back beginning of January.”


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