Arsene Wenger admits there is 'some work to do' as Arsenal prepare for new season

 

Arsene Wenger accepts there is "still some work to do" as Arsenal step up their pre-season preparations ahead of Friday's clash against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City in Beijing.

The Gunners opened their Asia tour with a 2-1 victory over a Malaysia XI at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, where the English side had to come from behind with late goals from youngsters Thomas Eisfeld and Benik Afobe.

Wenger's 24-man squad - which does not include wantaway captain Robin van Persie or several other first-team regulars who are working on their fitness back in London - now head for China, where they will face City at the Bird's Nest Stadium.

"Overall we still have some tactical work to do and some physical work, but don't forget that some players have only had two or three days training," the Arsenal manager said.

"Some others have only had a maximum of seven or eight so physically we are far from what we can produce."

Wenger felt the game in Malaysia had been a "good workout".

Mohd Azmi Muslim fired the hosts ahead with a fine 30-yard strike in first-half stoppage time.

Wenger made the expected sweeping changes for the second half.

After missing several chances, the Gunners finally levelled with just four minutes left through 19-year-old German midfielder Eisfeld, and then snatched victory when Afobe's shot was deflected in.

"We played two sides and I felt both did well. The first half was played at a high pace and overall it was a good workout for us against a good Malaysian team," said the Arsenal boss.

"Every year they play faster, quicker and stronger. We had to be patient to win the game, but the result was less important than the workout.

"We got the quality of the game we wanted and that is very positive, and we got through it without any injuries."

Arsenal have been linked with a £16million coup for Spain winger Santi Cazorla.

However, when pressed if any more new signings were imminent, Wenger said: "No [we are not close]. Maybe we will sign a Malaysian player!"

While Van Persie's future remains unresolved, as Manchester City watch with interest, Laurent Koscielny yesterday agreed a new deal.

Following a shaky start after a move from Lorient in 2010, Koscielny, 26, has grown into his defensive role, which has often been alongside different central partners because of injuries.

"I have had a fantastic time here and look forward to an exciting future with Arsenal," he said.

Wenger added: "When you consider that until 2009 he was playing in Ligue 2 in France and that he is now performing at the very top level in the Premier League and for his country, the development that he has shown has been absolutely exceptional."

PA

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