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Arsenal v Celtic, Wednesday 26th August, 19:45 ITV1

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Cesc Fabregas will not face Celtic on Wednesday night.The Arsenal captain picked up a hamstring strain against Portsmouth on Saturday and was withdrawn at half-time. Fabregas underwent a scan on the injured muscle on Tuesday morning.Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsène Wenger described the scan results as "reassuring" but confirmed he will miss Wednesday night's clash."From last Saturday we lost Cesc Fabregas who did not train today" the manager said."His scan was quite reassuring as he has no muscular strain but it will take a few days to settle down."There's a chance he'll be fit for Old Trafford."
When it comes to the Champions League, Arsène Wenger knows you must be in it to win it.Arsenal took a giant stride towards the Group Stages with a 2-0 win at Celtic last Tuesday in the Play-off Round first leg. If they can complete their passage through after Wednesday’s second leg it would be their 12th consecutive season in Europe’s top competition.But at his pre-match press conference, Wenger was taking nothing for granted.“My priority is still to get into the Champions League first and once we are in it, to try to win," he said. "We live in a pragmatic world so let’s first get in it.“It’s not job done, it’s job to do. That’s how I approach it. There’s a job to do and to finish. We have done a big part of it but the most important [thing] is to get over the line and that’s what we want to achieve tomorrow.”
Arsène Wenger will not consider Saturday’s Old Trafford trip when he makes his selection on Wednesday night. The Gunners’ second leg against Celtic will end a run of four games in the season’s opening 11 days. But, even though they face Manchester United on Saturday, the manager is not thinking about rotation. Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, Wenger once again outlined the importance of Champions League qualification and insisted he is taking nothing for granted against Tony Mowbray’s side, despite their 2-0 aggregate advantage.“I rest players who I feel need a rest without considering the game after,” Wenger declared. “My target is to win tomorrow’s game, it’s a massive game for us and after that we will see what we do for the weekend. “I will not rotate as a result of the Man United game because when a player is very tired and you have a player who is very fresh you play the player who is very fresh because he will be better. “But some players who have played many, many games if I feel they need a rest I’ll do it.”
The injury to Cesc Fabregas will not force Arsène Wenger to shelve his new formation because he is confident that his squad can cover for their captain. The influential Spaniard has excelled at the heart of Arsenal’s new 4-3-3 set-up, scoring twice in the Gunners’ 6-1 victory over Everton before another superb display against Celtic last week. However, Fabregas picked up a hamstring strain during Saturday’s Premier League clash with Portsmouth and was replaced by Aaron Ramsey at half-time. The injury will certainly keep the 22-year-old out of Wednesday’s second leg against Celtic but Wenger is not planning a formation reshuffle. In Ramsey the manager believes he could have a ready-made replacement. And, speaking at Tuesday’s press-conference, Wenger revealed his ambitions for the young Welshman. “I still have the personnel who can come in,” the manager insisted. “I will see. “The only thing I know from tomorrow is that Cesc will not be in the squad. “It is another chance for Ramsey. It’s a big season for him but don’t forget he is only 18. “I believe his target for this year, I told him before the season, [is] between 15 and 20 games. “The way he is developing, he could get that.”
Arsène Wenger has NOT made a move for Blaise Matuidi.Tuesday morning’s media suggested the Arsenal manager had revived his interest in the St Etienne midfielder. But at a press conference a few hours later Wenger could not have been more blunt about the speculation. In fact, despite the approaching transfer deadline, the Frenchman said he was not near to bringing in anyone.“I deny that,” he said pointedly when asked about Matuidi. “The only thing I can tell you is that at the moment we are not close to signing anybody. We have still one week."
Arsène Wenger has revealed there is “no news” on Philippe Senderos. The Swiss defender returned from a season-long loan deal at AC Milan during the summer and featured for the Gunners during pre-season. Various newspapers have reported that Senderos is close to a move away from the Club and Wenger gave an update on the situation at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference. “[There is] No news,” the manager said unequivocally. “If he has not moved before the 31st August then he will be considered as any other player in the squad.”
Despite having seen Liverpool lose two of their opening three Premier League games, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has refused to write off the Merseysiders’ chances in the title race. The Anfield side responded to a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on the opening weekend with a 4-0 win against Stoke last week. However on Monday they suffered their first home League defeat since 2007 by going down 3-1 to Aston Villa.In spite of their poor form, Wenger believes Rafael Benitez’s side have had two tough early-season fixtures and should still be considered a threat in the battle for the Premier League title. “They had two tricky opponents,” said Wenger. “Tottenham are on a high at the moment, and when you play Aston Villa at home, you know they can be dangerous on the counter-attack. “But I do not discount Liverpool. I believe they will still be a threat for the title.”
Arsène Wenger has not been surprised by any of the early-season results. The new campaign has already produced a few eye-catching scorelines with Premier League new-boys Burnley assuming the role of tormentor-in-chief for some of the division’s most established clubs. Owen Coyle’s side beat champions Manchester United 1-0 at Turf Moor then repeated the trick - and scoreline - against Everton four days later. According to Wenger, the Lancashire club’s start to life among England’s elite is not too dissimilar to that of Hull City last season. Of course the Tigers came from behind to beat the Gunners at Emirates Stadium in one of the campaign’s shock results. “You can expect it at the start of the season sometimes,” he explained at Tuesday’s press conference. “Some teams have no history handicap and go into the season fresh like Burnley. At the moment they are in the position Hull were in last year. “They come up with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of strengths as well - they are good teams. “Some top teams are not completely ready to play every game at their best.”
Arsène Wenger has expressed his surprise at Sol Campbell's transfer to Notts County. The Arsenal manager, however, believes the move could be a good one if the former Gunner wants a career in coaching. “It was a surprise because of the level Notts County play at,” said the Arsenal manager ahead of the Champions League tie with Celtic. “That shows you how much financial potential Notts County have suddenly. In May, did you expect Sol to go to Notts County? Certainly not.” Having been brought to Arsenal by Wenger in 2001, Campbell made 197 appearances and scored 11 goals before going to Portsmouth five years later. The Arsenal manager said that he is unsure whether the move will work for Campbell but believes the centre half could have a future in coaching if he chooses to go down that avenue. “Time will show if it’s a good move for him,” the Frenchman said. “It depends what is in his mind, if it is purely a football move or if it is a long-term move and he wants to be involved afterwards as a coach. “Maybe it can be a good decision if he wants to build something in the long term. In the short term, he will suffer a bit because he is used to top-level football. When you move down, it is always difficult to cope mentally.” Wenger also backed Campbell to succeed should he wish to pursue a career in coaching. “Sol has coaching potential,” Wenger believes. “Every good central defender has coaching potential, because they always analyse the game of the strikers.”
Tomas Rosicky is back in full training and could return for Saturday's trip to Old Trafford.After spending 18 months on the sidelines, the Czech midfielder made his long-awaited return to action during pre-season, playing three games for the Gunners.But he sustained a hamstring problem before Arsenal's final clash of the summer against Valencia.Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsène Wenger confirmed that although Wednesday night will come too soon for the 28-year-old, he might return on Saturday. "Tomas Rosicky is back," the manager said. "not for tomorrow, but he was in normal training today."He could be in the squad on Saturday if needed."
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Don't really want Rosicky playing Saturday if he's not fully ready.Would love him to replace Cesc if he was fully fit and Fabregas is still out.

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Arsène Wenger has paid tribute to the mental strength of William Gallas after losing the captaincy last season. The 31-year-old was replaced as Arsenal skipper by Cesc Fabregas last November but bounced back with some impressive performances in the season’s run-in. The Frenchman has picked up where he left off this term with a trio of towering performances alongside summer-signing Thomas Vermaelen in the heart of defence. What’s more, he has found the net, albeit sometimes scruffily, in all three games. Speaking at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference, Wenger hailed his compatriot’s attitude to losing the captaincy before lifting the lid on the defender’s long-term future.“I feel it was certainly a big blow to him, but he has shown his mental strength, and [that’s] what I respect a lot,” the manager said. “Secondly he has worked even harder and it was quite an amusing situation because now suddenly he’s captain of the French national team. “That shows you he has taken the right attitude, what we expect from a top level sportsman.” “[We haven’t discussed a new contract] yet, no. We are early in the season, and we will see later, but he is now a big influence in the side.” Gallas has averaged more than one goal every ten games for Arsenal during his four years at the Club, more than any other regular member of the back-four. But what does the manager make of his current goal-a-game ratio? “What is most important for me is that he's looking sharp defensively,” said the manager. “We know that the goals he will score some of them are a bit accidental but very helpful.“What I mean is that it's not what I expect from him. But as a defender I'm very happy. That's all I want from him.”
Aaron Ramsey could be handed the chance to replace the injured Cesc Fabregas in the Arsenal midfield tonight.Arsène Wenger decided to bring on the 18-year-old at the weekend when the Spaniard tweaked his hamstring during the first half against Portsmouth. At his press conference ahead of the Champions League tie with Celtic, the manager suggested he may retain the services of the Welshman.“It is another chance for him,” said Wenger.“It’s a big season for him but don’t forget he is only 18. I believe his target for this year, and I told him before the season started, is between 15 and 20 games. The way he is developing, he could get that.“I am not scared to put Ramsey in [for this game],” the manager added later. “But we still have Song, Diaby and Denilson.”
Arsène Wenger does not expect Theo Walcott to report for international duty next week because of his ongoing back problem. The rapid winger did not feature during the Gunners’ pre-season campaign until he completed 45 minutes against Valencia on August 8. That outing was enough to earn Walcott a call-up to Fabio Capello’s squad for England’s clash with Holland three days later. However, the back injury put paid to any involvement against the Dutch. The 20-year-old has now missed his side’s first three games of the new season and will not face Celtic or Manchester United this week. Because of this obvious lack of match-time, Wenger can see no reason for Capello to risk him against Slovenia or Croatia.“England? No,” he said at Tuesday’s press conference. “There is no way. “I can't see a player who has played one half since May going in to vital games for England. It would not be realistic. “There is still an inflammation of his back. The scan was fine; he has no hernia but he has pain. He is out of the Manchester United game.“If he doesn't play against United how can he play for England? His last game was in June. We are now in August. We wait until he has no pain.”Wenger also rejected claims that the midfielder’s injury has become a “mystery” but he did admit that the problem might be related to Walcott’s recent shoulder operation.“It’s not a mystery because he hurt his back with the wrong movement in Valencia,” said the manager. “It’s difficult to say, he had surgery on both shoulders, his shoulders are less flexible, I don’t know. He’s injured and nobody can tell you where that injury comes from.”
Arsène Wenger is not interested in knee-jerk reactions.A few weeks ago, the Arsenal manager was facing a barrage of questions as to why he had not strengthened his squad for the coming campaign. A fortnight later, he is being asked why his side appear to have started more impressively than the other ‘Big Four’ teams.Ahead of the visit of Celtic in the Champions League Play-off Round, the Frenchman was dismissive of the idea that Arsenal had stolen a march on their main title rivals.“Let’s not speculate that after two games the other teams are weaker,” he said. “I believe that what is very important [is] let us focus to be stronger.“Two years ago in the Premier League we made 83 points and didn’t win the title. Last year Liverpool made 86 points and didn’t win the title.So let’s not speculate on any weakness of any other team, but just look how high that level is and that it means we need really to be super-consistent.”
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Arsène Wenger believes this season is “massive” for Eduardo.The Arsenal manager admits “only a fool” would have been 100 per cent confident the Croatian striker was capable of returning to his best following that horrible leg break against Birmingham on February 23, 2008. However the 26-year-old made his first Premier League start since that fateful day at the weekend following a string of niggling injuries last term. Now he’s back, Wenger feels the frontman finally has the opportunity to make his mark at Emirates Stadium. “It is a massive season for Eduardo,” said the Frenchman. “He was out for such a long time. He is in his third season without ever having had the opportunity, until now, to prove how big a player he is.“The strength of our team has always been that our strikers can score but they can provide as well and Eduardo is one of those so we missed him highly. We missed the 100 per cent Eduardo who is now coming back.” Wenger confessed he was concerned that he would never see Eduardo back at his best.“I had doubts about his injuries,” said Wenger. “Only a fool would say they had no doubt. When you see his first injury, you had to have them.“But he has shown his strength of character and now I have no doubts any more about him because for me he is completely a normal player.”
Arsenal were not given the credit they deserved for reaching last season’s Champions League Semi-Final, according to Arsène Wenger. The Gunners were just one win away from the Final in May having knocked out the likes of Roma and Villarreal in the latter stages. They were eventually well beaten by Premier League champions Manchester United in the last four. However the Arsenal manager says their achievements were overlooked because of the recent success of English clubs in Europe. “We were not given any credit at all for reaching the Semi-Finals last season,” explained Wenger. “It was for two reasons. First of all it looks like at least one or two English clubs always reach the Semi-Finals so it doesn't seem like a major achievement anymore. “Secondly, we lost in a non-convincing way against Manchester United and that took credit away from us. For me we knocked out good teams. But it's like that. You have to accept it.”
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I'm going. First of the season can't wait.

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