London - Arsene Wenger claims Arsenal are not ready for the start of new season.
The Gunners kick off their Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace on Satursday and on Tuesday face the first match of a two-legged Champions League qualifier against Besiktas. And Wenger insists his side are not in peak condition.
He said: ‘Honestly we are a bit short in our preparation... we had 11 players (at the World Cup) and many of them had longer holidays after that.I think this year the final of the World Cup was on July 13, the start of the league is August 16. If you want to give some holiday to the players your preparation becomes very short.’
Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski will miss Saturdays’s clash as they only returned for pre-season training on Monday following Germany’s World Cup success. Mertesacker on Friday retired from international football, aged 29.
Centre back Laurent Koscielny is a doubt for today’s match with an achilles injury. Wenger may opt to rest the Frenchman for the trip to Turkey in four days’ time.