ESPN FC: Arsenal's lack at the back
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Tomas Rosicky will sign a new contract with the club, despite reports that the midfielder has received lucrative offers to play in the MLS.
Rosicky’s current Gunners deal expires this summer, yet the 33-year-old has expressed his desire to extend his stay with the North London club.
And Wenger, speaking ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Aston Villa on Monday, said he is convinced that the Czech Republic international’s wish will be granted.
“Tomas Rosicky will stay here at the end of the season,” Wenger said. “He is a marvellous player and contributes well to the team. He is a typical Arsenal player in that he is mobile, technically sound, team-oriented. He is a fantastic football player.”
Rosicky should have a role to play in the Arsenal side that travels to Villa, with Wenger backing striker Olivier Giroud to regain his best form as he prepares to make his first Premier League appearance of 2014.
“Giroud needed a rest physically and he got one,” Wenger said of the France international, who has carried much of the goalscoring burden as Arsenal’s main striker this season. "I am convinced he will come back refreshed and ready to score again.
“What is important is the team produces a good collective performance, whether he scores or someone else. We have plenty of players in the team who can score. For me the important thing is to play the football we want to play. After that, anyone can score in my team.”
It was an opening-day defeat against Villa back in August that saw many Arsenal supporters turn against Wenger and his team, sparking talk of a crisis at the club.
However, the Gunners’ revival in the months since means a win against Paul Lambert’s men on Monday will ensure they top the Premier League table.
“It’s not about revenge,” Wenger said, reflecting on his side’s shock 3-1 defeat against Villa at the Emirates Stadium. “The opening game of the season was not Villa’s fault. This kind of game happens, what happened after was not their fault. We had to face dissatisfaction from our fans, that was completely normal.
“We have overall a good away record. That explains why we have a good record at Villa. It is always a physical, tense game, but we have always found the resources to do well there. Let’s hope it continues.”
Wenger confirmed he would have “no worries” about throwing the fit-again Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into Premier League action at Villa Park. The midfielder, however, who has not played since he picked up an injury against Villa on the opening day of the season, is unlikely to start.
Mesut Ozil, Kieran Gibbs and Giroud are all likely to be available for the Villa trip, but Wenger expects Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Vermaelen to sit out the game. Nicklas Bendtner, meanwhile, is still three weeks away from a return from an ankle injury.