Wenger steps up preparations

Image: Wenger: Working hard

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal squad that the hard work starts now as their pre-season gathers pace.

Gunners boss hoping efforts in pre-season pay dividends

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal squad that the hard work starts now as their pre-season gathers pace. The Gunners kicked off their preparations for the 2010/11 campaign with a friendly date against Barnet on Saturday. A comfortable 4-0 victory helped to ease the players back into action, while allowing new signings Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh to get a first outing under their belts. The victory will not have taught Wenger much about his squad, as the result was never in doubt and a number of the club's World Cup stars are yet to report back for duty. However, with the new Premier League season fast approaching and with the Gunners set to fly out to an Austrian training camp on Monday, Wenger knows now is the time to start putting the groundwork in place for a successful campaign. "We finished third last season, so we of course try to improve," said the Frenchman. "Manchester City have now joined in on the big targets, so it will be hard."

Challenges

He continued: "We have six players coming back to join us on Monday when we go to Austria, and then the hard work starts. "We have some tougher challenges coming up, especially in the Emirates Cup, so those games will give the new signings an opportunity to adapt, but we have to give them some time." Meanwhile, Wenger has hinted that he may look to move a few players on this summer, with new Premier League regulations stipulating that top flight sides must work with 25-man squads, with eight of those players having to qualify as home-grown. "We have to respect this rule, so with players coming in, that means players going out at well," he said. "I am not too much for rules, I believe what is important is the quality. "The Premier League is the most watched league in the world, and you only get that if you focus on quality more than on artificial rules. "I do not believe the fact that England did not win the World Cup is linked with that."

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