Wenger eyes early Reds scalp
Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal can use their opening fixture at Anfield to signal their title credentials.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 14/08/10 2:09pm
Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal can use their opening Premier League fixture at Anfield to signal their title credentials.
The Gunners were in the mix in the title race last term before falling away in the closing stages, but registered a double over Sunday's opponents Liverpool.
Wenger has once again managed to retain the services of captain Cesc Fabregas, the subject of intense transfer speculation this summer, and has made additions to his squad.
The Frenchman believes his latest side is better equipped to win the title than in recent years and a win over Roy Hodgson on his league debut as Reds manager would be the perfect start to their bid.
"I am hopeful we can continue our progress, we have kept our captain and overall the team has improved since two years ago," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.
"Liverpool is a good opportunity to show we are ready to fight for the Premier League. You know you will go into a game where maximum concentration will be demanded.
"We must concentrate on our own performance, what is in our own hands. We are encouraged by a good pre-season and so it is important we go there with the needed belief and fire on all cylinders."
Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin has been Liverpool's tormentor in recent seasons, scoring four in one game in a 4-4 draw in April 2009.
The 29-year-old then scored the winner in a 2-1 Anfield success for the Gunners last season, and Wenger is hoping an injury-free campaign for Arshavin can aid their title hopes.
Wenger said: "What I expect from him is he remains completely fit, gives the team everything - with his creative side, he can be decisive, create chances and score goals - that is what you want from him."
Wenger, who signed a new deal to remain in charge of the club until 2014 on Saturday, admits he is not yet finished in the transfer market after adding striker Marouane Chamakh and defender Laurent Koscielny to his squad.
Arsenal are light at the back after the departures of Sol Campbell, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre but Wenger knows who his central defensive pairing will be for Sunday.
"We are looking around, but at the moment nothing will happen before the match, so it will be Koscielny and Vermaelen who will start," Wenger said.
"What is important for us is to focus on what we have, make a good result on Sunday and then we will see if we still bring some players in or not."