Arsene Wenger has lost his cool with an angry message to Arsenal fans, claiming: I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, writes John Cross in Istanbul.
Under-pressure Wenger also bit back at Newcastle boss Alan Pardew in as well as insisting he will get it right in the transfer window.
Wenger is facing a huge test against Fenerbahce in their Champions League qualifier which could already make or break season and is clearly getting fed-up with the levels of criticism from angry supporters.
Questioned on , he said: “I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers.
“And if you look at the players who will play here, they are top quality players. And you should never forget that.
“Do not always think that what is outside is better than what you have. What is important is to rate what you have and our fans have to understand that.”
Wenger was during the club’s opening day defeat by Aston Villa, and then faced criticism from Pardew over the timing of his bid for Cabaye – which came on the day of Newcastle’s season-opening match at Manchester City.
Cabaye was subsequently pulled from the team, and the Magpies were thrashed 4-0 at Eastlands.
Wenger said: “We don’t want to hurt anybody, not Newcastle, not anybody.
“You can’t reproach us on one side for not buying and yet on the other side, when we try to buy, reproach us as well. That is a bit contradictory.
“I don’t know if it’s unfair or fair. I just do what I think is right for Arsenal Football Club and that’s it. There’s nothing to explain.
“I won’t explain to you what happened. It’s not down to me to explain to you everything I do. It’s impossible.
“If we do a transfer we will announce it. We always inform you. As for the rest, you have to leave us to do our own things."
Wenger’s attempts to buy Liverpool’s Luis Suarez , while also provoking an angry response from the Merseysiders.
But the Frenchman insisted and it is understood they are still keen on – after making enquiries about whether he would be interested in a move to the Emirates.
They are set to make a new bid for France international midfielder Cabaye, while Mirror Sport understands they are now desperate to sign a goalkeeper, with Stoke’s Asmir Begovic back on the agenda.
Arsenal are holding talks with Valencia’s Vicente Guaita, they have also got Espanyol’s Kiko Casilla on their radar, but there is a determination to make one last push for Begovic.
If Arsene Wenger thought he saw a hostile crowd at the Emirates on Saturday, the Arsenal manager had better brace himself.
It is make-or-break for season already.
On Wednesday night, they venture into the red-hot Sukru Saracoglu stadium for the first leg of a Champions League qualification play-off, with 50,000 screaming Fenerbahce fans hoping to feast on Wenger’s vulnerability.
And no-one is more to blame for their precarious position than Le Professeur, as appears to have caught up with Arsenal.
Even their own as they chanted “Spend some f***ing money” during Saturday’s defeat to Aston Villa.
The atmosphere has turned sour and the new season is not even a week old.
Bold promises about big-name transfers have yet to be kept, while Arsenal’s arch-rivals Tottenham prepare to carry on their incredible summer of spending with , with promises of more to come.
“Honestly!” exhaled Wenger after being asked if he could understand Arsenal fans getting fed-up while their neighbours to continue to splash the cash.
It was almost as if he was incredulous at Arsenal being compared to Tottenham.
He clearly thinks they’re well above that.
Wenger was spiky and prickly here in Istanbul as he rose to the bait when questioned as to why their inactivity and bungled transfer business appears to have completely derailed their preparations for the new campaign.
And the trouble is, they cannot afford to be anything less than fully focused.
Their morale was damaged after a home defeat to Villa, they now face a serious test against Fenerbahce – and they must do so without any of the big-name signings that were promised.
Furthermore, they start their second competitive game of the season having to put a half-fit Nacho Monreal on the bench because they have run out of players.
It is so bad that even an under-21s game next Monday has been postponed, because it is 24 hours before the Fenerbahce return leg.
Wenger enjoyed a 5-2 win in this stadium five years ago, in one of the most fierce and loud atmospheres some of his players have ever experienced.
It is not a venue for the faint-hearted and it will be the ultimate test of Arsenal’s fragile confidence.
The Gunners are teetering on the brink of a disaster. Or a crisis.
Call it what you like.
But going out of the Champions League this early would be ALL of those things for Wenger.
It will hurt him badly and provide a damning indictment of his farcical summer. Defeat is not an option.
Wenger has left his preparations and business late, yet got riled by a question as to whether another last-minute trolley-dash smacked of bad planning and poor preparation.
“I could get lessons of training sessions from everybody at the moment,” said Wenger. “The injuries, though, some of them are accidental. (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain was an accident that could happen in any single game.
“A squad has to have the right number.
“Not enough players is not good. Too many players, there is no competition any more, it is not very good as well.
“And we will have the right balance when the transfer window closes, don’t worry.
“I live in a public job, where there are opinions of everybody. I do with full commitment what I believe is important for the club and the team and prepare for the next game.
“Less than two weeks is a long time and 75 per cent of things happen in the last 10 days. What happens is that we are a bit short because we lost two players, Chamberlain and Arteta, in three days, and for long periods.
“So we are a bit short now, but I don’t worry because I believe in the players we have and the quality of their spirit and attitude will come out again. For the rest we have a long time to do what we want to do.
“As always, we do what we think is right. And to strengthen our team when we find the right players. When we think we have the right players, we do it. We were for years restricted and we competed with exceptional quality.
“This year, we did not lose any players [sold in the style of Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie] – we lost just two players with injury – but we will try to strengthen the squad and make the right decisions until the end.
“I repeat many, many times that the transfer window should be over before the season starts, because it is destabilising a little bit once the season has started – to be there talking about what is not really important in football.
“What is important in football is to go out tomorrow night and see a good football game.
“All that other stuff is good for the newspapers, but it is not real football. What is real football is the quality of the game tonight and for me that is always the most important.”
Sadly for Arsenal fans, what are important to Wenger – his principles and values – aren’t so important to them.
If Arsenal do not make the Champions League’s group stage, the fans really will be in uproar.
And by then it might be too late to win them over again.
The season begun with a bang, as Manchester City rounded off the opening weekend with a romp to make it a familiar-looking top two in the Premier League.
An ominously comfortable victory for Manchester United had sent them top on Saturday despite a troubled summer, whereas down at the Emirates Stadium a torrid transfer window for Arsenal got worse as they lost to last year’s relegation candidates Aston Villa in front of their own fans.
Tottenham wiggled past Crystal Palace on Sunday before Chelsea flew out of the blocks, but a ponderous second half demonstrated that perhaps Jose Mourinho’s men are not the finished article.
While the Special One is a returning face to the Premier League, there were plenty of players who had never featured in the English top flight before, and here are our pick of the eleven most impressive Premier League debutants this weekend:
Manchester City’s impressive demolition of Newcastle United was a rather good omen of what is to come in the Manuel Pellegrini era, and debutants Jesus Navas and Fernandinho both played their part.
The Spanish winger is best-known for his ability to hit the byline with a burst of pace and find a teammate in the danger zone, but his role on Monday night was as more of an interior, drifting inside to find space and even switching wings if he wished.
This of course created space for the marauding Pablo Zabaleta to marauding forward into, as well as for Sergio Aguero and the revitalised Edin Dzeko to experiment with as City ran riot.
Navas’ link-up with Negredo is expected to contribute plenty of goals to this team, but already he looks a player who has slipped perfectly into the framework at City and he enjoyed a very impressive Premier League bow.
Not starting against Manchester United due to his extensive travelling in midweek, Bony came on at half-time and showed the Premier League a skillset that indicates he may well be a great success on these shores.
Boasting troubling pace, great strength and an athletic leap, Bony provided an extra, brutish dimension to the Swansea attack alongside the more subtle charms of Michu.
An aerial presence of note, he also found himself in the right place to net the Swans’ consolation and get that all-important confidence-boosting opener. Although, that said, having pumped the Eredivise for 33?? Goals last season he’s probably feeling fairly good in front of goal.
There’s more to come.
The Crystal Palace man is every inch the rugged Aussie dreamboat, and his assured performance at the base of the Eagles’ midfield was a sign of things to come from last season’s player of the year.
Rock-hard in the tackle and considered in his leadership, his role ahead of the Palace back four will be an absolutely crucial one if the SE25 outfit are to secure Premier League survival for the first time ever.
Occasionally thoughtless in possession, Jedinak’s contract situation is an enormous worry at Selhurst Park and while things are threatening to turn nasty, the midfielder will never be found wanting for commitment and is a pillar of strength for Ian Holloway’s men.
Teammate Joel Ward also deserves an honourable mention.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Norwich forked out a fair pile of cash to secure the signing of the Dutchman in the spring, and the fans have been moist in anticipation of his arrival this summer while they watched Luciano Becchio plug away harmlessly up front.
Now he’s here, RvW has to live up to the hype, and he began his Premier League career in fairly handy fashion with A GOAL against Everton in front of his new supporters.
Mobile, thoughtful and incisive, van Wolfswinkel was quite the coup for Sporting when they managed to lure him to Portugal from the Eredivisie, but a cash flow problem forced them to sell and Norwich appear to be very fortunate beneficiaries.
He only came on as a substitute, and even that was against newly-promoted Palace, but Capoue boasts the physique and playing style to be an enormous success in this country.
Replacing Moussa Dembele as Andre Villas-Boas looked to shore up his side, Capoue was considered in possession, assured in his role and demonstrated why North London rivals and even Manchester United had watched him while at Toulouse.
With Spurs’ current injury crisis may necessitate him dropping into the back four temporarily, he is more than adaptable enough to impress in central defence and looks another sound purchase from the Franco Baldini era.
The livewire forward lived up to expectations in the weekend’s opening fixture, being a key participant in Liverpool attacks as they played some wonderful stuff against Stoke City on Saturday lunchtime.
Even without Luis Suarez there was a verve and dynamism to the Reds’ attack that will have encouraged Brendan Rodgers no end, but their inability to turn it into a lead of any great margin very nearly cost them and will concern the Kop boss.
Aspas is a big part of that, and if he can add goals to his promising play then he will be a terrific acquisition for Liverpool even in tougher tests.
Kevin de Bruyne
Finally getting his chance in West London, the midfielder impressed in Sunday’s opener against Hull City.
Part of Belgium’s golden generation, there was understandable interest in de Bruyne when it looked likely he would be sold this summer – and when Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund are leading the queue it certainly speaks to his pedigree.
In the end, Jose Mourinho decided that this was a player he needed to keep at Stamford Bridge and his place in the starting XI on the opening day could be indicative of a key role with the Blues this season.
Dovetailing beautifully with Oscar, KdB is just the young, dynamic midfielder that Mourinho needs if he’s not going to dip into the transfer market again and his assured debut will give the Special One much confidence.
He wasn’t faced with the strongest of opposition in the shape of Crystal Palace, but Paulinho still managed to impress on his Premier League bow.
Moving from the Brazilian domestic league to Europe is far from easy, and the amount of players who have successfully made the immediate transition to England from the Brasileirao can probably be counted on one hand.
Nonetheless, Paulinho is a far more complete player than those that have previously arrived from CONMEBOL’s strongest domestic competition, and he has a lot of top-level experience having already won the Copa America, Copa Libertadores and being a fixture in the Brazil team.
When provided with a more considered, defensive foil in midfield, he will be able to play his natural game a bit more and should prove an unmitigated success at White Hart Lane.
The beastly former Celtic man was followed by the Premier League’s top four, but when Southampton were the only side willing to take the risk, the Kenyan decided the South Coast would become his new home and on this display Mauricio Pochettino will be truly grateful.
West Bromwich Albion had a wonderful campaign last season and their midfield duo Youssuf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob was one of the most understated and impressive combos in the league. Wanyama – with a bit of assistance, granted – absolutely dominated the Baggies in the centre of the park, breaking up play, carrying the ball forward and distributing well.
Arsenal must be looking on rather sheepishly at what they turned down.
Another impressive Saint, Lovren was not cheap for a centre-back but acquitted himself very well against a dangerous frontline.
Nicolas Anelka is a player with plenty of top-flight pedigree, and Shane Long is one of those natty, annoying little strikers that is a pain to defend against, but Lovren performed well – even alongside the sometimes dozy Jose Fonte – at the back.
Southampton’s purchases this summer have put them into top-half contention and they are now being discussed as outside contenders for Europe.
If they’re to achieve that then Lovren will undoubtedly play a central role.
With Thomas Ince seemingly being the Championship’s premium winger for sale, young Nathan Redmond slipped somewhat under the radar when Norwich nabbed him for pennies this summer.
Crystal Palace and West Ham were also keen on the Birmingham speedster but he chose to reunite with former Brum boss Chris Hughton and dazzled against Everton on Saturday afternoon.
The club are very confident that he will be worth north of the £10million mark within a year or two, and if he can add consistency to his already impressive skillset then there’s no reason to doubt the Canaries’ strong claims.
A player who will really come to prominence this season.
Manchester City players will wear micro-cameras to allow fans to experience what it is like to take part in a Premier League training session.
City have teamed up with US company GoPro to create the unique content which will give fans as taste of what it is like to train with world-class players at the the highest level.
Members of will wear the tiny GoPro cameras during training to give supporters never-seen-before access to practice matches and workouts.
The innovative feature was trialled on , when the lightweight high-resolution cameras were attached to the club’s coaches and players including Joe Hart and Samir Nasri – during training sessions.
Tom Glick, Chief Commercial and Operating Officer for Manchester City, said: “As a club we have always been passionate about providing fans with content that is not only immersive and captivating, but a true reflection of what goes on behind-the-scenes on and off the pitch also.
"From Tunnel Cam to Inside City, we have continually pushed the boundaries to engage fans and bring them closer to the club they love.
“GoPro has enabled us to take that philosophy to the next level, combining both their cutting edge technology and expertise in capturing raw point-of-view sports footage. GoPro is a perfect fit and together with CityTV, we look forward to creating the next evolution in sports content."
GoPro’s Head of Production, Wil Tidman, added: "It was an honor for GoPro to work with Manchester City. The experience provided an amazing opportunity to showcase the unique perspectives and competitive edge our camera can offer to one of the most elite football teams in the world."