I did not lie about Welbeck: Wenger

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended his decision not to bring in reinforcements in attack and hit back at suggestions he lied about the fitness of Danny Welbeck.

The 24-year-old England striker is expected to be out of action at least until Christmas after he underwent surgery on a knee problem which caused him to miss the end of last season.

Despite that, Wenger did not move to sign a replacement before the transfer window closed on Sept 1. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is the only new face to arrive at the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's game at home to Stoke City, Wenger said: "You either find someone who strengthens your squad or not. Whether we have players injured or not doesn't change the problem, that's what I don't understand from the media.

"First of all, I am surprised that people accused me of lying when I was in the press conference on Friday morning, I did not know Welbeck had a bad setback.

NO PANIC

Of course, I'm confident that I have enough cover and enough quality.

ARSENE WENGER

"I did not lie to you, I gave you the information I had.

"I heard late on Friday night that his condition had not evolved as well as we thought it was and he had needed specialist and needed further investigation.

"Apart from that, if we did not find someone (to sign), we did not find them."

Arsenal failed to score in their opening two home Premier League games for the first time in 36 years.

They will be looking for their first goal and first victory at the Emirates Stadium this season against Stoke who have only two points so far after four games.

Without Welbeck, the burden falls on Olivier Giroud, who has scored once this season, and Alexis Sanchez, who has not scored any, as Wenger's senior front two.

Giroud missed a series of chances in France's friendly against Serbia on Monday and was jeered by French fans.

Asked about the hitman's start to the season, Wenger replied: "I have confidence in the ability and quality of our strikers. "Of course, I'm confident that I have enough cover and enough quality."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2015, with the headline 'I did not lie about Welbeck: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe