Arsene Wenger has confirmed his German World Cup-winning stars will miss the Gunners' away trip to face Besiktas in their crucial Champions League qualifier on Tuesday.
The Frenchman spoke during his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal's Premier League opener with Crystal Palace on Saturday evening. He believes his German trio need another week to recuperate from a hectic summer, although Laurent Koscielny should be fit, per Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph:
Arsenal squad v Palace likely to be unchanged from Community Shield. Test today on Koscielny Achilles but expected to be OK— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) August 15, 2014
Wenger also confirms Ozil, Mertesacker, Podolski won't be back until Everton game and so will miss Champions League game v Besiktas— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) August 15, 2014
Interestingly, Wenger also confirmed he is looking to bring in new faces before the transfer window closes at midnight on Sept. 1. Wilson reported the details:
Wenger also still hoping to add someone before the end of window and says 'we have a chance' to win the league this year— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) August 15, 2014
Arsenal are reportedly looking at Greek centre-back Kostas Manolas to further strengthen the back line after Thomas Vermaelen's departure, as reported by the Daily Mail (h/t Tom Sheen of The Independent). Versatile German defender Benedikt Howedes, Brazilian defensive midfielder Luis Gustavo and Portuguese destroyer William Carvalho are also being considered, per Wilson.
The Gunners boss also praised those he has already landed this summer—Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers—confirming the quartet have settled in nicely at the Emirates, per Arsenal's official Twitter account:
Wenger zoned in on Sanchez, a player many expect to achieve greatness during his time in north London. He believes the Chilean has what it takes to become a Premier League star:
It's worth noting Wenger reiterated his desire for Joel Campbell to stay, despite reports the Costa Rican star could be loaned out again, per Giuseppe Muro of the London Evening Standard. Arsenal's feed provides Wenger's thoughts:
Arsenal go into the new season with tremendous confidence after whooping Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield. While City were noticeably off the pace, Wenger's men enjoyed control of the ball and dictated play throughout.
The experienced manager outlined the teams he believes will compete for the domestic title across the coming year:
Wenger: "The favourites [for the title] are Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Man City and us" #AFCvCPFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 15, 2014
Wenger wants his side to improve against elite Premier League opposition after seeing their title hopes destroyed against last season's top three. Arsenal lost 6-3 to City, 5-1 to Liverpool and 6-0 to Chelsea last campaign, results Wenger knows must be improved upon:
Wenger: "I believe we have a chance because we were top for a long time but we have to take more points from the top teams" #AFCvCPFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 15, 2014
He also reacted to the news of Tony Pulis' departure from Palace, which was revealed late on Thursday night, per David Ornstein of BBC Sport. A disagreement over transfer policy is said to have caused the shock announcement, leaving Palace without a manager just two days before the season is set to begin.
Wenger admitted he didn't see the decision coming, per Arsenal's Twitter account:
Wenger on Pulis' future: "It was a complete surprise for me. The only thing you can say is he's done a remarkable job there" #AFCvCPFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 15, 2014
Arsenal can get their Premier League season off to a great start with victory over Palace. The team should be nearing full fitness after their Community Shield exploits and will be looking ahead to a busy schedule of fixtures with optimism.
Victory over Palace would certainly offer a better start than last year's loss to Aston Villa on opening day. Although Arsenal sat atop the domestic summit until the Christmas run, Wenger's team ran out of steam as the latter half of last season began.
He appears keen on ensuring this doesn't happen again, especially as new signings are planned, and he appears confident of finally improving on the club's patented fourth place finish.