Arsenal’s season got off to a chaotic start last Friday as they somehow came out on top in a seven-goal thriller at the Emirates.
Club record signing Alexandre Lacazette scored his first goal for the club, while Sead Kolasinac chipped in with an assist – but the Gunners will need to be smarter this weekend when they make the trip up north to take on Stoke.
The Potters have been something of a bogey team for Arsenal in the past, and Arsene Wenger has been speaking ahead of his side’s game this weekend.
Follow everything he said during his pre-match press conference earlier in the week below.
On team news for Stoke
Mertesacker will be available again.
For Sanchez it looks a bit early again, he works hard in training. I think Saturday comes too soon but he should be available for Liverpool.
On Alexis’ recovery
His recovery is going very well. He is working very hard.
We have to be cautious. It’s a muscle strain and we don’t want to have any set back on that.
On last season’s win at Stoke
We were well organised, efficient. We were under pressure to win the game, we were in a strong run as well.
Overall we had a convincing win there which should inspire us.
It’s traditionally been a tough place to go for everybody and of course we want to continue in a strong way our start to the season.
On Mustafi and Coquelin
They will be in the squad.
On Jack Wilshere
For him it’s good that he is back and available. I think he needs game now.
He might play again now on Monday night. What is important for him is a natural progression to be really fit.
He is not far away now.
On whether Wilshere’s future is at Arsenal
At the moment yes. I plan on him to be here for the whole season. Afterwards, we’ll see at the end of the season.
On if there has been any progress on Sanchez’s contract
At the moment no, we have not progressed on that front. He goes into the final year of his contract and prepares for the season.
We have not made any progress on that front.
On whether is prepared to let him walk away for nothing
That’s a consequence of what I said yes, unfortunately.
We have to make a choice of efficiency on the field and financial interest. Most of the time if you can find a good consequence it’s better, but in this case I prioritise the fact he will be useful on the sporting side.
On whether there is any comparison with Costa
No. Costa doesn’t have one year to go, I don’t think there is any comparison because we want him to be with us and Chelsea does not necessarily want that.
On whether he would support early closure of the transfer window
Yes, I would support it of course. For the regularity of the season it’s better because you can have a player who can play three times against you if the window is not closed before the start of the window.
And for the psychological comfort of the manager and the focus. It’s difficult to start he season with a team and have some players who are not completely on board.
On whether it would give foreign clubs an advantage if it was just introduced for the Premier League
Not really because you have enough time.
I spent my whole summer on the transfer market. We had basically 10 weeks.
What people will do is adapt. What makes people decide is that there is only three or four days to go and suddenly everyone comes out of the bushes and says we are alive and want to do business.
If the timing is shorter they will adapt to that as well.
On players leaving, like Lucas Perez
There is a possibility. I opened the door for him because we have many strikers.
If he finds a good opportunity we will help him.
Are Stoke still a bogey team?
They are still a good team. I don’t believe too much about bogey teams. I think what is a result of the day is the performance.
We had a good performance last season and we have to focus on that and deliver the same performance.
On Arsenal being better at dealing with team who ‘get in your faces’?
I don’t know too much what it is to get into faces. You want to play football and respect the game.
We have to focus on the quality of our game.
I think it’s a tough place for everybody. Stoke have a good record at home against many teams.
I’m convinced if we play our game we have a good chance.
On whether he will be busy at the end of the transfer window
Getting players out keeps you as busy as getting people in, so I think I will be busy.
On whether Oxlade-Chamberlain will be at Arsenal this season?
Yes. Because I rate him highly, he is a player who is on his way up.
In the last year he has made huge progress, I want him to stay here for a long time.
I’m convinced he will be maybe the English player in the next two or three years everyone will look at.
On whether Giroud gets the credit he deserves
I think so. I think he is highly rated by our supporters and myself.
If you look at his numbers, the impact he has, the weight he has in the dressing room and his desire to win, I think he is respected by everyone at the club.
On what the Invincibles had that this team doesn’t
It’s difficult to analyse in one sentence. When a team doesn’t lose in the Premier League it has special qualities.
We had exceptional players of course and the spirit was strength as well by te fact we didn’t lose.
The quality of the players we had was exceptional.
On whether it will be done again
No-one has done it since the Premier League exists and you had some good teams in the Premier League and some great ones.
Maybe one day one team will do it but I don’t think there is a team at the moment that will do it.
On whether he will keep Oxlade-Chamberlain if he asks to leave
Yes. I have regular conversations with the payers were I tell them where I stand. They know what I want and where I stand on that front.
On whether he is pleased no-one has handed in transfer requests
Yes, I am very happy about that because I believe it is important that you have a serene atmosphere inside and a clarity as well about your commitment.
It’s important the players are not half in and half out, but completely in.
On whether the club is financially equipped to let the contracts run down
It’s not an ideal situation on the financial side, it demands some sacrifice.
But it doesn’t mean the players will not extend their contract, we still have that possibility and we work on that as well.