Rosicky: We shouldn't fear anyone
Tomas Rosicky has insisted Arsenal still have all their "great players" and are ready to mount a serious assault on the Premier League title. The Gunners continued their impressive pre-season build-up, which now stretches to six games unbeaten, with a 3-0 win over Scottish champions Rangers in the Emirates Cup final.
Former defender Kolo Toure, who joined Manchester City following seven years at Arsenal, claims his old club have lost all of their leaders, which was one of the reasons he decided to leave.
Playmaker Rosicky has returned to action following 18 months out with a series of niggling injuries, and this, along with the match-fitness of striker Eduardo, has boosted Arsene Wenger's attacking options following the summer departure of striker Emmanuel Adebayor, also to City. The Czech international is adamant Arsenal still have plenty of strength in depth.
"I don't think the best players have left," declared Rosicky, signed from Borussia Dortmund in July 2006. "We have still got [Andrey] Arshavin, [Cesc] Fabregas and they are still great players. I don't see it this way. I don't see why we should be afraid of anyone.
"I see the potential and think we need to focus on what we have got. We have got plenty of options and that is why I feel we will be stronger than last season - because the boss will have more options. We know what we have to do better and we are not blind.
"I can see the positives. I hope we can achieve something together and we will fight for trophies this year. If the boss decides to buy someone that is always good and will give us another option. But I think even if he doesn't, we have plenty of options."
Wenger has urged caution on Rosicky's recovery programme, and is likely to ease him back into regular action. But having spent so long on the sidelines, the 28-year-old is glad to be involved once more.
"It is a great feeling to be back and playing again at this stadium because it has been too long for me," said Rosicky, who had last played at the Emirates in an FA Cup tie against Newcastle United in January 2008. "It was frustrating (being injured), but I don't want to talk about that anymore. I am back and that is the most important thing for me."
Samir Nasri will, however, be unavailable for the start of the campaign after suffering a broken leg while at the Gunners training camp in Austria. The France attacking midfielder nevertheless hopes to return within a couple of months.
"Now I just have to be patient. I have about three weeks of immobility before starting my rehabilitation at the start of September," Nasri told L'Equipe.
Wenger, meanwhile, will this week make a decision on his final squad for the new campaign, and it could yet include former captain Patrick Vieira, now at Inter Milan. Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen, signed from Ajax for £10m, is expected to recover from a slight hamstring problem ahead of the season's kick-off, as is William Gallas, who was taken off against Rangers as a precaution following a tight hamstring.
As well as considering Vieira, Wenger is also said to be monitoring Saint-Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi, Real Madrid goal-getter Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Bordeaux forward Marouane Chamakh. The latter has lashed out at the French champions for standing in his way of a "dream" move to Arsenal.
"I am angry. I am even disgusted. I don't understand why people are doing this to me," said the £10m-rated forward. "I have given my all for this club and for the fans. I believe I deserve more consideration.
"To go to Arsenal, it's my dream. I am a year from the end of my contract and the club wants to make it all about money. What the club is asking for isn't fair."