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Arsenal confident of Euro boost in Premier League

24 Aug 2013 00:47:07

Arsenal confident of Euro boost in Premier League

Arsenal will hope to carry the momentum from their mid-week Champions League victory over Fenerbahce into their trip to London rivals Fulham on Saturday.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger came in for heavy criticism after his side crashed to a 3-1 loss at home to Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the season, with the north London club's lack of activity in the transfer market the subject of particular scrutiny.

However, they planted one foot in the Champions League group phase by winning 3-0 in Istanbul on Wednesday, and winger Theo Walcott says the setback against Villa is now out of their system.

"You don't want to start a season like that, but that's out of the window now," he said.

"We've forgotten about that and we're concentrating on Fulham. And if we perform like that, with that intensity, we can beat anyone."

David Moyes admits he is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Jose Mourinho as the new Manchester United manager faces the first major test of his reign against Chelsea.

Just a week into the new season, the Premier League will witness the first blockbuster clash of the campaign when champions United entertain Mourinho's Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday.

United began their title defence with an impressive 4-1 win at Swansea City last weekend, but Chelsea's visit marks the start of a testing four-game sequence that includes matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.

Chelsea won 2-0 against Hull City on Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge last weekend and followed that up with a gritty 2-1 success at home to Aston Villa on Wednesday.

It means Mourinho's men can open up a six-point lead over their title rivals by winning at Old Trafford.

But for Moyes it is also an early chance to prove United were right to hire him from Everton instead of appointing Mourinho once Alex Ferguson announced his retirement.

"I've not seen him (Mourinho) for a long time," Moyes said. "Our paths have not crossed, probably because I was never in the Champions League, we have not had any reason to meet.

"I am looking forward to seeing him again though. He is probably the best of the young, modern coaches in the world.

"He is the one who has had the most success. He deserves all the plaudits he gets."

Moyes wrote to Mourinho following his dismissal by Chelsea to wish him good luck for the future.

And he insists it is good for the Premier League that his colourful rival is back on the Chelsea bench.

"He was enjoyed by the media. Chelsea supporters obviously enjoyed him," Moyes said.

"From that point of view I would say yes the Premier League has missed him."

Although it is early in the season, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech knows that a positive result in Manchester would give his side an early advantage in the fledgling title race.

"We've won games at Manchester United and we've lost games there. It's always tight," Cech said.

"It's still at an early stage of the season, but any advantage you can gain over your rival is always good."

Manchester City opened their campaign with a stylish 4-0 win at home to Newcastle United last Monday and they visit promoted Cardiff City on Sunday.

City dropped 24 points away from home last season, fatally undermining their title defence, and left-back Gael Clichy says Manuel Pellegrini's side must start reproducing their home form on the road.

"Away from home it will be more difficult, but it is a good way of starting the season," Clichy said.

Tottenham Hotspur, 1-0 victors at Crystal Palace last weekend, host Swansea City on Sunday, with Wales winger Gareth Bale reportedly just days away from completing his long-awaited move to Real Madrid for a world record fee of over £85 million.

Fixtures

Saturday (1400GMT unless otherwise stated):

Fulham v Arsenal (1145GMT), Everton v West Bromwich Albion, Hull City v Norwich City, Newcastle United v West Ham United, Southampton v Sunderland, Stoke City v Crystal Palace, Aston Villa v Liverpool (1630GMT)

Sunday (1500GMT):

Cardiff City v Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City

Monday (1900GMT):

Manchester United v Chelsea


AFP

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