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Interview

'Freddie’s character was key to his signing'

Even though he was only watching the game on television, Arsène Wenger knew he had witnessed something special.

England had travelled to Solna for a crucial European Championship qualifier against Sweden back in September 1998, but their experienced defenders were being run ragged by a fresh-faced 21-year-old called Freddie Ljungberg.
 
Sweden would go on to win the match 2-1 but the result didn’t matter to Wenger. The only thing on his mind after watching Ljungberg’s performance was securing the youngster’s signature as soon as possible.
 
“In this game, it was all his character,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “They played that game in Sweden on a Saturday and then we bought him the next week because I liked what he did, his character.
 
“He gave Martin Keown a torturous time in that match, took him on and I must say he’s a guy who strikes you straight away when you see him play. I remember I bought him on against Manchester United and he scored. I was thinking that when your guy comes on, you always have a feeling straight away whether it’s his place there.
 
“Usually we think you have to give them time but with experience, you think that the guys who make it showed you that they had the quality to be there in their first game. Freddie had that, that decisiveness in his mind and that desire to win. He was an exceptional footballer and also an exceptional mind.
 
“Freddie is a winner and a guy who gives everything to the team. When he didn’t win, he was sick, really sick. I like the quality of his attitude, the quality of his commitment and of course what he has done for our club is absolutely sensational.
 
“To add to that, I would like to say that it shows you how football moves forward. We bought him for £3m! That kind of quality you got at that time for £3m… I leave you to imagine how much that would cost today!”

News

Tickets for Atletico Madrid (a) to be subsidised

We will subsidise tickets for our Europa League semi-final second leg away at Atletico Madrid.

This will ensure our travelling fans pay no more for their tickets than Atletico’s supporters will pay for the first leg in London.

Tickets for the away match on Thursday, May 3 were priced at £79 by Atletico compared to £36.50 for the Spanish side's fans in the first leg game. We will make up the difference.

Arsenal supporters’ liaison officer Mark Brindle said: “We know our match in Madrid is already shaping up to be an expensive one for our supporters with the early May Bank Holiday increasing travel costs.

"On top of this, our fans are being asked to pay a higher ‘non-member’ price for their tickets to Estadio Metropolitano.

"We’ve decided to subsidise tickets for the second leg, meaning our travelling fans will spend the same as those from Atletico. Our travelling fans are the lifeblood of the club and we hope this measure helps to make their journey to Spain a little easier.”

News

We will play pre-season match in Stockholm

We will be playing a pre-season match in Stockholm in August.

As part of the International Champions Cup, we will face Chelsea at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday, August 4.
 
This match comes as part of our pre-season schedule, when we will also be playing two other matches in the International Champions Cup against Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, both in Singapore.
 
The first match in Singapore will see us take on Atletico Madrid on Thursday, July 26, with the match against Paris Saint-Germain being played on Saturday, July 28. Both matches kick off at 7.35pm local time (12.35pm UK time). Both Singapore matches will be played at the National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub.
 
Fans wishing to attend any of the ICC matches can get further details and sign up for access to pre-sale tickets here
 
All fixtures are subject to change. Any developments will be communicated accordingly.

Quotes

Wenger - The Premier League is very conservative

Arsène Wenger

Arsene Wenger has made no secret of his support for safe standing - even if the Premier League has rejected its introduction.

West Bromwich Albion recently had an application to bring it to The Hawthorns turned down, and the Arsenal manager would like the governing body to be more open to the idea.

"At the moment, I would say that the Premier League is very conservative in all its decision-making," Wenger said. "You can see that with VAR and you see it as well with standing.
 
"I’m a bit more [understanding] with standing - because you can raise government rules, safety rules - than with VAR. Personally I’m in favour of it.
 
"The Premier League has been created by people who wanted to be in front of everybody else. Overall I must say at the moment we look a little more like we look first at what happens everywhere else, then if it goes well we follow it.
 
"But it’s a bit of a conservative approach. That’s the tendency, always, when you are successful, not to take many risks anymore."

Interview

‘A fan opened the door and jumped in my car!’

Mohamed Elneny is establishing himself as a firm fans’ favourite at the club.

The popular midfielder enjoys meeting supporters when he’s out and about - even if one did get a little close! 

“Once, after one of our games, I was leaving the stadium,” Elneny told Arsenal Player. “There are usually some fans waiting to take pictures with players or get their autograph. So this guy opened the door and jumped in the car! It was a funny incident. 

“When I go out, I see a lot of fans who of course recognise me because I play for Arsenal,” he added. “The whole of London supports Arsenal. So yes, I come across many fans who approach me and speak to me. 

“If we had just lost a game, they would ask you to win the next one and if we won they say ‘well done’ and are happy. It makes me happy to interact with the fans like that and to speak to them.”

 

Gallery

The boys train in the sun at Colney

The sun was shining at London Colney on Wednesday - and the boys were hard at work.

Our club photographer was at the training session and sent back these images:

News

Club announces pre-season matches in Singapore

We will play two pre-season matches in Singapore this summer.

 
As part of the International Champions Cup, we face Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in July. Both matches will be played at the 55,000 capacity National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub.
 
The first match will see us take on Atletico Madrid on Thursday, July 26, with the match against PSG being played on Saturday, July 28. Both matches kick off at 7.35pm local time (12.35pm UK time).
 
Arsenal legend Robert Pires, together with representatives from Atletico Madrid and PSG, are in Singapore to celebrate the official launch of the ICC matches. Further details and ticket information can be found here.

 

These games will be our only matches outside Europe this summer. There will be two further pre-season matches in Europe after returning from Singapore. Full details of these matches will be announced soon.
 
Due to close-season developments at Emirates Stadium, we will not be staging an Emirates Cup this pre-season.
 
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “We are looking forward to playing in the ICC matches in Singapore against high-quality opposition in the National Stadium. It will give some of our many fans in the region the chance to see the team in action and I know playing against Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will produce two exciting matches and give the team some very good preparation ahead of the new season.

Interview

How 'positive' Laca has helped Aubameyang settle

The blossoming partnership between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette is one that should fill Arsenal fans with optimism.

The two strikers have formed a strong bond both on and off the pitch, even if Auba wasn't too sure about his new team-mate at first!

"My friend Lacazette was at Lyon when I was at St Etienne," Aubameyang said. "He’s a player I appreciate and was good for me when I arrived here as he’s a nice person, very positive. 

"I wasn’t 100 per cent sure about him when I came here as there were some Lyon players I didn’t get on well with but he wasn’t someone I had problems with when I played against them. 

"I’m really happy to get to know someone so positive and he helped me settle into the dressing room."

Interview

Cech The five goalkeepers I rate most

Petr Cech and Iker Casillas

When it comes to modern-day goalkeepers, Petr Cech has established himself as a true legend of the game.

The Premier League’s record clean-sheet holder has won the Golden Glove award four times since arriving in England back in 2004.

But which keepers does Cech look up to?

“I had a few inspirations in terms of goalkeeping and it was, let’s say the goalkeeping giants in the years I was growing up,” our goalkeeper told Arsenal Player. “I would start with Peter Schmeichel. He was always a huge influence the team, he made big saves and I think the way he played the game was ahead of his time. He was one one of my role models. I tried to think that if I could have the same influence on the team, it would be beneficial.

“Second was Edwin van der Sar. The moment Ajax started using him as an extra defender, I realised this was probably the future of the game. It made me think that I need to work on my feet and make sure that if I’m playing in a team that use me like that, I’d be able to cope with it. 

“I probably saw more Bayern Munich games at that time, because Germany borders the Czech Republic. The Bundesliga was probably the league I watched the most, so I saw a lot of Oliver Kahn, with his presence, his charisma and his concentration. You could see he was a fighter, someone who did everything for the team to win. You realise that you need people like that on the pitch to be successful. 

“The next one is Gianluigi Buffon. He was only 17 when I saw him playing with Parma against Sparta Prague. When you look at someone playing so well at the age of 17, you realise that it’s not always about experience and being a certain age. I think it showed to everyone that it’s more about being at the top of your performance and being ready. He gave me the motivation to work hard and get my chance, no matter how old I was. 

“To conclude that, the confirmation came straight away with Iker Casillas, who started playing for Real Madrid at the age of 17. He’s only one year older than me. I was 16 when he started playing for Real Madrid and there was a realisation that if this guy could play for a top Spanish team at that age, why couldn’t I do it with a Czech team?”

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