Western Sydney Wanderers v Arsenal

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Wenger on Alexis, Mbappe and the Ox

Arsene Wenger was asked about Alexis, Kyllian Mbappe and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when he faced the media shortly after our 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Here’s how he responded:

on reports that Alexis has agreed a new deal…
No, a lot that comes out [about] Alexis doesn’t look completely right! No, that’s not the case.

on reports of a £123m offer for Mbappe…
That’s not true as well. People have a big imagination. What we know now about Mbappe is that it’s over £100m. After that it’s free to imagine what you want. But we have not made an offer. It looks like he will stay at Monaco [for one season]. Too much choice maybe, so in the end people don’t move!

on whether he expects the Ox to stay…
Yes, 100 per cent I expect him to stay. There is no speculation - no matter what happens he will stay.

Arsenal in Sydney

All the goals from our Wanderers win

Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny were all on target as we signed off from the Australia leg of our summer tour in style as we beat Western Sydney Wanderers.

More than 83,000 fans were packed into ANZ Stadium as a fine first-half showing put us in control, before the hosts pulled one back after the restart.

Press 'Play' to watch our 12-minute highlights package above, or our bitesize round-up below, while you can also:

  • Watch the first half
  • Watch the second half


Nketiah - It’s intimidating… but I like it

Imagine being an 18-year-old striker without a minute of first-team football under your belt. Then imagine being thrown in for a game in front of 83,000 fans.

That has happened not once, but twice for Eddie Nketiah on tour in Australia – but rather than be overawed by it, he has enjoyed every moment.

“I thought I did well when I came on [against Western Sydney Wanderers],” he told Arsenal Player. “I contributed to the team and brought something different. 

“It’s just unfortunate, it’s the second time in two games that I have hit the post but it’s nice to be in and around it, getting chances and hopefully next time it goes in.

“I have been happy with my performances here in Australia. I have been playing in positions I am not really used to and I think I have adapted well and brought something different to the game each time I have come on, and that’s all I can do really.

“It is great experience, I am loving every second of it, taking everything in and trying to show the boss what I can do. Hopefully I can get on more trips like this and be more involved in the first team.

“Performing in front of 83,000 fans is probably [more intimidating than doing an initiation song] but then again I think I like it! I enjoy it, it is something different and hopefully it is the first of many.”

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 3-1 WSW - The way we saw it

Olivier Giroud


The Australia leg of our pre-season tour drew to a close with a 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a trademark first-time finish at the near post after a powerful run down the left from Nacho Monreal.

The Spaniard belied his defensive position to set up the second goal too, Aaron Ramsey running onto his long pass to lift the ball over Vedran Janjetovic.

Wanderers made it a physical game with Giroud on the receiving end of much of the buffeting and Granit Xhaka getting involved in a spiky exchange.

But our football did the talking and Mohamed Elneny strode forward from defence to score a third from Alex Iwobi’s lay-off, his shot taking a wicked deflection.

Our pace dropped in the second half and Steven Lustica scored from close range at the second attempt after we were penalised for a backpass from Ramsey.

Arsene Wenger repeated his tactical approach from Thursday’s win over Sydney FC, replacing his goalkeeper at half-time and every outfield player after 66 minutes.

Mesut Ozil was one of the subs and he curled a free-kick against the post with six minutes left. Eddie Nketiah hit the same post even later.


Alex Lacazette made his first start for us, two days after scoring his first goal for the club. These were his key moments:

3 - Absorbs a challenge and turns brilliantly to get away from his man before dancing past another defender. He shoots… but the keeper gets down to save.

7 - Makes a darting run into the box but Alex Iwobi’s cross just eludes him

Alexandre Lacazette

19 - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finds him with a cross to the far post but the forward’s first touch deserts him and Wanderers clear.

32 - A deft touch releases Nacho Monreal down the left and he picks out Giroud for a near–post finish.

66 - Leaves the field as the boss makes a raft of second-half substitutions

AS it happened


Most of the side that finished Thursday’s 2-0 win over Sydney FC started this match. 

That meant Elneny continued at the heart of a three-man defence - a new role for him. With Xhaka and Ramsey seemingly first choice in the centre of midfield, could Mo make a new home for himself in the back three? 

Mohamed Elneny

Ainsley Maitland-Niles - usually seen in central midfield or on the right - was also in unfamiliar territory at left wing-back.

Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were back though, the latter making his first appearance since that red card in the final game of the Premier League season.


Our Sydney fanbase have waited 40 years to see Arsenal in the flesh and they appeared to enjoy every minute of it. For the record, Saturday’s attendance of 83,221 eclipsed the crowd from Thursday’s game.

We head to China next for a two-city stop and two high-profile matches. Bayern Munich lie in wait in Shanghai, and another clash with Chelsea will round off our 2017 tour in Beijing.


‘I’ve been bewildered by the size of the crowds!’

After five days in Sydney, our time is nearly up – but the tour has made a big impact on Arsene Wenger, who admits to being “bewildered” by the size of the crowds.

Both of our games have attracted crowds of more than 80,000 fans and the Arsenal manager has been amazed by the level of support the team has received.

on the game against Western Sydney Wanderers…
We played with a good intensity because our opponents made it very physical. I must say after two nights here, we had over 160,000 people at the games and I am just absolutely bewildered - I am a long time in the game and it was amazing. We are very, very happy to have so many fans here. There quality of the game was good, we dropped a bit physically in the second half but as long as we could maintain it physically we were good.

on whether he was surprised by their quality…Western Sydney Wanderers were physically ready, they told me they had five weeks preparation already and we have some players who only have five days, so that pushed us a bit physically and that’s quite good. I think we finished our trip to Australia in a good way, now lets focus on China - difficult opponents who will certainly more dangerous going forward but maybe less physical in defence.

on the youngsters settling in quickly…
What is amazing is how quickly they go from being a young player to being at ease in the side. That shows as well that the experienced players help them and every day I feel they move forward. It is amazing to see, when you have them every day, how quickly they improve. They have all done well.

on how he will remember the trip…
The people here in Australia are wonderful, they are very respectful, very nice, they love the Premier League and overall Sydney is absolutely beautiful so it was a dream to stay here.

Arsenal in Sydney

’The first team have welcomed us brilliantly’

Eight members of our 25-man touring squad are aged  21 or younger - and judging on their performances in Australia, they’re settling in pretty well with the senior pros.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles already has first-team experience and, speaking to Arsenal Player after starting in the 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, explained how the older players have helped those with less experience to feel at home.

Here’s a full transcript of his interview:

on playing at left wing back…
It felt alright at the beginning. The pitch was a bit hard so it took me a while to get into the game but I found it comfortable at the end, so it was alright.

on playing in these two days…
There’s always pressure when you’re in big stadiums with all the fans there. I think the most pressure was the quick turnaround of the games. We’re not used to that and just had to deal with it really.

on the standards of the opposition…
We’re just getting back into the swing of things and every team is a test in some sort of way so we just look to progress in each game. 

on the experience of Australia…
It’s been alright to be fair! I’ve enjoyed myself a lot and maybe I’ll come back here another time. 

on young players made to feel welcome…
I think the first-team players have been brilliant with welcoming us. I’m really thankful that they’ve been like that. It’s taken a lot of pressure off the boys and everyone’s performed well I think.

on what the main thing he’s got from the tour…
I think it’s the togetherness, that’s priceless.

on his summer and winning World Cup…
A great experience - it’s not every day you get to win a World Cup. I’m very happy that I’ve come back with a medal and now I’m looking to kick on.


‘I love the way he loves our club’

We’ve seen it so many times from Olivier Giroud: a timely dart to the near post and a neat finish from a low cut-back.

The Frenchman did it again on Saturday to convert Nacho Monreal’s pass and open the scoring in what ended up as a 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Here’s what the boss said about Giroud, Theo Walcott and how he intends to use Alex Lacazette:

on Giroud’s response…
There is a lot of speculation, I have many times said that I have a huge respect for Olivier Giroud for the man he is and the way he loves our club. Even with all the speculation he is focused and does his job. I always said [that I expect him to stay], I was always consistent with that.

on how he will use Giroud…
Lacazette will play most of the time as centre forward. He can play in any system because he’s a provider as well, he can combine and play in a 442. At the moment he plays a little bit behind Giroud, tonight he was more on the left, and he can play in that position as well.

on how he keeps Theo Walcott motivated after so many years…
There is no secret. Theo Walcott wants to score and wants to play and fight and is focused. It’s just to continue to play like he plays, he will score. He creates chances and that will come again. Sometimes you fight a little bit for it but if you create chances that will come back naturally. 


‘It was physical but we were fluent’

Arsene Wenger is in awe of Australia’s love for sport after another huge crowd watched us in action in Sydney on Saturday.

In his post-match press conference the boss also talked tactics and looked ahead to the China leg of our tour:

on the game from a tactical perspective…
I felt that we did very well in the first half against an opposition that made it physical for us. They left always something in, and they pushed us to go into the challenges. Overall the first half was very positive, we played at a good pace, very fluent, technically very good and with the right intensity. Our target was to maintain that as long as we could. We dropped a bit in the second half because most of the players have had five days’ training. It was quite amazing how well they did. When the other team came on we got an impulse again and dominated. Unfortunately we couldn’t score but we hit the post twice and created chances. It’s a bit similar to what we have seen against Sydney FC - they defend with heart. This team looks a bit more physical and a bit more ready, more advanced physically than the opposition we had the other night. 

on the support in Australia…
I must say tonight that 84,000 people… in two games we have over £160,000 people in Australia. It makes us realise how big the support is here in Australia, and how much people love football and sport here. It’s absolutely amazing. 

on his expectations of the China trip…
What I expect from China is that we play against opponents who are certainly as well in preparation, it will be less robust physically but as well of course you play against teams who have top quality going forward as well. We will have to share better our focus on defending and attacking. In the last two games we focused a lot on attacking. Apart from that we will play as well in a different climate. It will be very hot, so we have to adapt to that as well.