Arsene Wenger seeks fresh Arsenal start

Arsene Wenger seeks fresh Arsenal start

Published Sep. 9, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun are in line to make their Gunners debuts along with Germany defender Per Mertesacker.

Fellow recent arrivals Brazil full-back Andre Santos and South Korea captain Park Chu-young, provided his visa clearance comes through, could also feature in the Arsenal squad.

Arsene Wenger cannot wait to get back into action as his men aim to get the 8-2 thrashing at Manchester United out of their system with a convincing performance against Swansea at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

"For us basically it is a new start. We start now and want to win a strong way," the Arsenal manager said.


"I expect Arteta to have an immediate impact - and Benayoun.

"They are players I admire for their technical qualities. They are mobile and technically gifted. That's the game we want to play, so they should integrate very well.

"They are all good players, and what we want to achieve of course is to make a good team with the players who came in.

"Their quality is not questionable. We have a good opportunity now to show that in the coming games."

Wenger believes the additions have strengthened a squad which saw captain Cesc Fabregas and playmaker Samir Nasri sold, while Belgium centre-half Thomas Vermaelen has joined England midfielder Jack Wilshere on the injury list.

The Arsenal manager, however, insists the signings of more experienced men does not signal a fundamental shift in club policy.

"The ages were not a priority for me - if Arteta and Benayoun were 24 as well I would have taken them," Wenger said.

"It is a fact that they have more experience."

He added: "Our basic policy remains exactly the same - to continue with our style of play, to give a chance to young players who deserve it and to compete at the top level."

With almost all of the first-team squad away on international duty following the morale-sapping defeat at Old Trafford, Wenger admitted the time away will have done them good.

"The players have something else to think about and that's the best way sometimes to get it out of your mind," he said.

"Sport at the top level is about what is next, and you must focus on it."

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers expects to face a backlash from the Gunners, who have picked up just one point from their opening three league games.

Wenger, though, insists whatever the final score on Saturday, the achievement of the Welsh side to earn a place among England's elite is "absolutely magic".

"At this moment last season, no-one would have given them a chance, so what they have done is fantastic," he said.