Arsenal v Aston Villa: Arsene Wenger not expecting 'presents' from Premier League rivals in title race

The Gunners kick off their season tomorrow at the Emirates

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned his side cannot expect any “presents” from their Barclays Premier League rivals next season as the Gunners look to mount a long-overdue sustained title challenge.

With the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Wenger is now the longest-serving boss in the top flight, while the managerial changes at both Manchester City and Chelsea could offer Arsenal the advantage of stability when the new campaign kicks off this weekend.

Wenger, though, warned against any suggestions life would thus be made somewhat more straightforward for Arsenal, who have not won a trophy since 2005.

"The fact that of the four top teams last year, three have changed manager will certainly create the most interest to see how they all respond to that," Wenger told Arsenal Player.

"These teams changed managers, but there is a stability there [in terms of the players], so that shouldn't create too much uncertainty.

"(But) let's not expect presents from these clubs because that would be the wrong way to go into the championship - let's just think they will be as strong as ever and make sure that we are strong."

England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - who was one of three Gunners involved against Scotland at Wembley on Wednesday - also stressed Arsenal must deliver consistency, having gone on an unbeaten 10-match league run at the end of last season.

"We have got to focus on our job in hand," he said.

"I am sure for the neutral looking in, with the managerial changes and players coming in, it always makes it exciting, that is what the Premier League is all about.

"I am sure it is going to be a really good season, another exciting one."

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis may have talked up Arsenal's new "financial firepower" at the end of last season, but so far the only confirmed signing has been France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, and that was on a free transfer from Auxerre.

Arsenal, who failed to land Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain earlier in the summer, continue to pursue wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, but will have to up their bid to closer the £50 million demanded to close out the protracted transfer.

Wolfsburg have, meanwhile, moved to deny reports a £17million deal for Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo has been agreed, while 20-year-old Lille winger Florian Thauvin is also said to be on Wenger's radar, together with Romania forward Ciprian Marica following his release by Schalke.

While the Gunners boss clearly is determined to bolster his squad, albeit not in time for next week's crucial Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbahce in Turkey, Wenger accepts patience will be key as the clock ticks down towards the September 2 deadline.

"We are active. We are in a situation like Manchester United, like Chelsea, where everybody expects signings and at the moment not a lot has happened," the Arsenal manager said.

"There are 18 days to go, so that is a long time in the transfer market and we will be active.

"I cannot certify what the number [of players coming in will be], but we will be active until the end, that is for sure."

Arsenal have fitness doubts over several players ahead of the Villa game, including England forward Theo Walcott (knee), midfielders Mikel Arteta (thigh) and Aaron Ramsey (ankle).

The Gunners, meanwhile, have announced Bodog as their official Asian betting partner in a three-year, multi-million pound deal. The Emirates Stadium club enjoyed a successful pre-season tour to Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan earlier this summer as they continue to develop the Arsenal brand in new markets.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor