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Monday 5 December 2016

Wenger competing for everything

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud

Arsene Wenger insisted Arsenal will compete for every competition this season ahead of tonight's EFL Cup meeting with Reading.

The rebranded League Cup is usually a distant fourth in Arsenal's priorities, and probably more so this term as they currently sit level on points with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

Wenger's training schedule for the Emirates Stadium clash was disrupted by the club's annual general meeting yesterday but, in his speech to shareholders, the Gunners boss revealed his desire to get through to the quarter-finals.

"Our challenge is to compete for everything, starting (tonight) in the League Cup," he said.

Challenges

"Even if you see some new faces, our desire is to qualify and fight for everything because I believe we have a squad that is more mature and better equipped to cope with all the challenges we have.

"I am committed to give my best to ensure we are successful at the end of the season."

Wenger will make changes so youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chuba Akpom, who played in the 4-0 win at Nottingham Forest in the previous round, could feature again along with Spanish forward Lucas Perez.

Striker Oliver Giroud could also be added to the squad following a toe injury, with Wenger determined to get back to winning ways after the goalless league draw against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

"That's our target," the Frenchman said. "We have a game on Tuesday night so let's come back to winning habits straight away.

"It's about how you deal with disappointment and how you bounce back and I believe that the group is strong enough.

"We lost the first game here against Liverpool, and after that we bounced back in a very strong way so that's what we want to do again."

Wenger himself was giving little away, other than confirming that he would not still be in charge in another 20 years.

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