Opening win will Stoke our fires claims Wenger

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 August 2017

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the touchline (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the touchline (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the nature of their thrilling opening-day win over Leicester will stand them in good stead for this weekend’s trip to Stoke – and beyond.

The Gunners go to the Potteries for a Saturday evening kick-off, having got the 2017-18 Premier League season off to a stunning start in a seven-goal drama at the Emirates.

Club record signing Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring with barely 90 seconds played, heading home with only his second touch.

But Shinji Okazaki headed a reply moments later and Jamie Vardy struck either side of the break and a Danny Welbeck equaliser to leave Wenger’s men 3-2 down and staring at a home defeat.

Substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud had other ideas, though, and inspired the Gunners to a breathless 4-3 victory and Wenger said: “I felt that to lose would have been terrible for us because we had such good preparation and to sit there in the morning and think we had lost at home would have been terrible.

“It is a relief and I believe as well a reminder to the players that they have hurdles on the way and that we can get round it, so that is quite positive.

“After that, let’s take it game by game – go to Stoke – then to Liverpool, who are as well one of the teams who want to win the Premier League.

“To win like we did will only strengthen it and overall we have good ingredients in the squad and it is a good opportunity again to show it away from home.”

Stoke slipped to a 1-0 loss at a Wayne Rooney-inspired Everton in their opening fixture and whether or not Alexis Sanchez is included in Arsenal’s squad to face them this weekend remains to be seen.

Wenger has stated that the Chile striker will see out the final year of his contract and, amid reports of a possible £60million bid from Manchester City, was questioned about it again at his press conference yesterday (Wednesday) and said: “At the moment he is a player who goes into the final year of his contract and prepares for the season.

“We have to make a choice between efficiency on the field and financial interest and most of the time if you can find a good compromise, it’s better. But in this case, I think I prioritise the fact that he will be useful on the sporting side.”

Sanchez netted along with Giroud (2) and Mesut Ozil as Arsenal claimed their best-ever win – 4-1 – at the Britannia Stadium last May.

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