‘He has the force of an animal, certainly’

Arsene Wenger turned up so early for his first press conference of the new season that he caught a few reporters by surprise.

The boss will be hoping we can catch Leicester cold too when the Premier League campaign kicks off at Emirates Stadium on Friday.

Our prospects of a fast start and the impact of new signing Sead Kolasinac were among the topics up for discussion when the manager faced the media. Read on for his quotes:

on Theo Walcott describing Kolasinac as an ‘animal’…
He has the force of an animal, certainly. But I just think that Kolasinac is a good player and that he has an attitude that is suited to the Premier League. That means he is determined, he is aggressive and forceful and wants to play. In our club that is vital. Every time we win the ball we want to play and he is available to play.

on whether he thinks the negativity of last season has now disappeared…
Yes, of course. But you know, first of all that is a battle that you’ve never won definitely and that is all linked with the results that we will make and the way we play football. You have to accept the public verdict and we have to just make sure that we keep everybody on our side. It’s ideal to have everybody on our side but that is down to the performances we have.

on the importance of winning on Friday to ensure that is the case…
Yes, of course. But statistically we do not always lose the first game. It’s true that in recent years we have, down to some special circumstances, sometimes because it’s after the World Cup or after the European Championship when we have many players who were not ready to start the season. On top of that we had always quality opponents: West Ham, Liverpool and now we have Leicester. So we have a good opportunity to show that we have had a good preparation and we are ready.

on what he takes from Chelsea game…
The quality of the performance was a continuity of our end of season, where we had a strong finish. Overall we looked to have the desire to play, hunger to play together and to win. These are very interesting qualities, but it’s [about] maintaining that and going from game to game with the same hunger.

on not being where he wanted the team to be last season…
We made 75 points, maybe four points more than the season before, but it was not enough and we have to do more.

on the target this season…
The target is very difficult to set. You can interview seven or eight Premier League managers who will tell you they want to win the league and they are very ambitious, and rightly so. Let’s just focus on us, on our quality and go into the games with the desire to win every game. What is needed, I don’t know. How strong the other teams are is very difficult to predict as well because some have been very active on the transfer market. How will that transform in quality? It’s very difficult to predict.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info