Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger wants Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to play freely and express the innumerable qualities that he has at his disposal. The manager also warned his side to be wary of West Ham United’s Ligue 1 import Dimitri Payet.

Arsenal FC face West Ham United in the first game of the Premier League on Sunday at the Emirates stadium. The North London club have had an excellent pre-season, winning all four friendlies along with the Community Shield. Arsenal FC were at their swashbuckling best in the win’s over Lyon and Singapore XI, while a more pragmatic approach was adopted against Wolfsburg and Chelsea FC. The new season will be the Frenchman’s 20th at the helm of Arsenal FC.

Wenger hails complete Oxlade-Chamberlain and urges the winger to express himself

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a productive pre-season so far and the English international would be looking to build-up on that. The 21-year-old scored the winner against Chelsea FC which was a remarkable strike where he beat full-back Cesar Azpilicueta with his trickery. Arsene Wenger has urged the Southampton youth product to play without the handbrake and go out and express himself. The combative winger has been praised by the Frenchman, who described him to be a complete player and also hailed his selflessness.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, as quoted by Arsenal FC’s official website, Wenger said:

a When you look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain you think, a What has he not got?a and then youa re a bit speechless,a

a Ita s all there but I dona t want to put any special pressure on him because he has it all in the locker.

a What it demands is for him to let it come out. What I want from him is complete concentration, dedication, to bring his qualities to the team. Naturally hea s a guy who likes to do it for the team and hea s not a selfish player, but you want him to play a bit less with the handbrake on and get out what is really in there.a

Chelsea v Arsenal

What has he not got? – Arsene Wenger on Chamberlain

Wenger also warned the Gunners about the potential threat possessed by West Ham’s latest recruit – French international Dimitri Payet. The 65-year-old acknowledged Payet’s ability to “deliver the special pass” and insisted that the 28-year-old will bring something new to West Ham’s attack.

a Ia ve known him well for a long time because hea s played at Lille, at Saint-Etienne, at Marseille – a very difficult club to play for because you are under extra special pressure,a the manager said.

a He can always deliver the special pass. Hea s a highly-gifted player and he will add something on the creative front to the West Ham team, thata s for sure.a


The pressure for me today is even bigger because you know what is expected – Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger, however, maintained that he has not lost the excitement after completing 19 years with Arsenal FC as the uncertainty and unpredictability of football helps keep up the excitement. The manager was also upbeat about the preparation of the squad and insisted that the expectations of the Gunners was very high as always.

a I still feel the same excitement, the same uncertainty, because football is not predictable so you always have the level of excitement and uncertainty,a the manager told Arsenal Player.

a The pressure for me today is even bigger because you know what is expected – the expectation level is very high at Arsenal and you have that weight of wanting to do well and start well. That is why we are all under a huge desire to perform from the start.a

a I couldna t ask for a better preparation,a he said. a Preparation breeds confidence so we can go into the season in a good shape. Now ita s about points, about performance, about efficiency, about togetherness and about heart. We have to earn the right to win the games through effort. Those are the qualities that will be tested now.a