Barclays Asia Trophy 2015

Wenger goes for 'kill' with top guns

Arsene Wenger at a pre-match press conference.
Arsene Wenger at a pre-match press conference.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

There was no lack of ammunition on Wednesday as Arsenal beat a Singapore Selection 4-0.

But as they face fellow English Premier League club Everton in tonight's Barclays Asia Trophy final, Arsene Wenger is set to field his biggest guns in an aim to nail down a trophy before the new season gets under way.

New signing Petr Cech, Mesut Oezil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny played no part in Wednesday's win but news of their involvement in tonight's final is sure to delight the fans at the National Stadium.

Some 55,000 fans are expected to fill the arena and the tournament is set to achieve record attendances of over 77,000 over the two match days.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference yesterday, Wenger refuted the idea that he had fielded fringe players against the hosts.

"Sorry to surprise you but we have no fringe players, only good players," he said. "I came out here to give game time for everybody. The players who didn't play against Singapore will play tomorrow."

He confirmed that Giroud and Walcott would start together, though he did not want to be drawn into a discussion on whether the latter would be fielded on the wing or play up front with the Frenchman.

"Yes, Walcott and Giroud will play but whether that will be up front together or not is something that I have yet to decide but they will play," revealed Wenger.

The Frenchman was, however, more forthcoming on his ambitions for the coming season.

"The title is our target," revealed Wenger, who has been the manager of Arsenal since 1996.

"We finished third last year and we won the FA Cup so that shows we are not far away."

They retained the FA Cup last season after beating Aston Villa 4-0 in the final. They finished third in the EPL - behind champions Chelsea and Manchester City - that was fuelled by an impressive run of form towards the season's end.

In their last 17 matches, Wenger's side have lost only once, a 1-0 defeat by Swansea in May, and the 65-year-old tactician believes his team can only push on from here.

"We have a good cohesive group that has the quality and ambition to do better, and that's our aim.

"But as I have said before, we are in a league in which it is very difficult to know how good our opponents will be at this stage, but it is important to focus on making sure we are as strong as we can be; then, we have a chance."

BARCLAYS ASIA TROPHY
Final: Everton v Arsenal, Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 8.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2015, with the headline 'Wenger goes for 'kill' with top guns'. Print Edition | Subscribe