Arsenal can go unbeaten all season, says WengerPosted: Friday September 20, 2002 6:47 AM
Updated: Friday September 20, 2002 12:36 PM
LONDON (AP) -- Arsene Wenger said Friday he believes Arsenal can go undefeated this season and win the Premier League, F.A. Cup and European Champions Cup treble.
The Frenchman, who guided the Gunners to the league and F.A. Cup double last season, said he was not being arrogant. He said he was merely speaking his mind while other managers are "scared of looking ridiculous."
Arsenal dominated the domestic scene last season but was knocked out of Europe's most prestigious club competition in the second round. A year earlier, Arsenal went out in the quarterfinals.
The Gunners opened this season's Champions League campaign with a 2-0 home win Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund.
"We know what we want to achieve and I am convinced we can do it," Wenger said. "The treble? Why should I think it is impossible? If people say to me, `You look arrogant,' I would say, `No, I just think it is strange for a manager to go into a competition and think he cannot win it.' "
Wenger said Arsenal -- riding a current 27-game unbeaten streak -- could realistically avoid defeat all season, even though a similar prediction by Manchester United star David Beckham a year ago ended in United losing nine league games.
"It's not impossible as AC Milan once did it but I can't see why it's so shocking to say it," Wenger said. "Do you think Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea don't dream that as well?
"They're exactly the same. They just don't say it because they're scared to look ridiculous, but nobody is ridiculous in this job as we know anything can happen."
Sacked by Leicester, Wise signs for Millwall
LONDON (AP) -- Two days after losing his appeal against his sacking by Leicester City, Dennis Wise was given a chance Friday to resume his career at Milllwall.
Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis said the division one club expected to complete the signing of the former England and Chelsea midfielder on Tuesday.
Wise had his Leicester contract terminated after breaking teammate Callum Davidson's cheekbone in a July 26 fight during the club's preseason tour of Finland.
Wise took the matter to the Football League's Football Disciplinary Commission, which ruled that Leicester could only fine the player and not fire him.
But City appealed to the League's Appeals Committee, which ruled in the club's favor Wednesday.
Paphitis said he met with Wise on Thursday to offer him the chance to join Millwall.
"As a result he agreed to do so," Paphitis said. "We shook hands and once he's sorted out a few legal formalities we expect him with us on Tuesday."
Paphitis said he had no qualms about signing the 35-year-old Wise.
"We didn't have great concerns about signing Dennis," he said on the club's website. "We know that he can get a bit excited about things but he is also a very good player.
"We're hopeful that he will take the opportunity to settle down at The Den and kick-start his career once more with us. At the age of 35 he still has much to offer."
Lions manager Mark McGhee welcomed Wise's arrival.
"We have been on the case over the last two weeks but with his appeal going on we've had to wait," he said. "As soon as we knew the result we met with Dennis straight away.
"`I'm sure the supporters will be looking forward to seeing Dennis in a Millwall shirt. There have been a lot things going on but he wants to get on with football and get on with his life - and we can take advantage of that."
Forlan facing return to the bench
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -- Diego Forlan has been told his first Manchester United goal has not earned him a place in Alex Ferguson's starting line-up Saturday.
The Uruguayan striker will have to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench against Tottenham Hotspur despite breaking an eight-month duck with a penalty in the 5-2 defeat of Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday.
"Diego would deserve a start. He has great perseverance with his football," Ferguson told reporters Friday. "He came on on Wednesday and he was hitting shots all the time. He is not afraid and his movement and work rate deserved a goal.
"He has never let his head drop and that is a wonderful quality. He has got a goal. It may just set him off. I could play him easily in any game but I have been trying to get the Solskjaer-Van Nistelrooy partnership off the ground again.
"That has been important to us because we know what great finishers they are. Ole's goal on Wednesday was absolutely velvet-glove stuff, so delicate it was beautiful."
Ferguson will need to devise a plan to stop former Old Trafford favorite Teddy Sheringham inflicting United's third successive Premier League defeat.
"Teddy was a fantastic player for us," Ferguson said. "We were very fortunate to have him at the peak of his career. He put in some terrific performances the year we won the Treble."
Tottenham has made an impressive start to the season with Sheringham key to its success.
"Spurs have made a very good start," Ferguson added. "Second top of the league and are scoring a few goals. Teddy has been in great form and can expect a great reception.
"We know the qualities he brings and they have added Robbie Keane to their squad. He can be a handful. We have some work to do to ensure they don't get any joy against us.
"Wednesday showed us that in important games, concentration is vital. You don't want to give players like Teddy and Robbie room to use their abilities. Les Ferdinand has always been a threat. He is a very dangerous striker.
"They can also bring Steffen Iversen in, so they have a few alternatives. They have a lot of experience and that has helped put them in the position they are in at the moment."
Ferguson admitted teams no longer fear coming to Old Trafford, with United having slipped to seven home Premier League defeats over the past 12 months.
"It is possible teams are not as apprehensive about coming to Old Trafford because of the number of home defeats in the last few years," he said.
"But we have dominated all these games and if our finishing had been as decisive as it was on Wednesday we would be top of the league."
United are still without the injured Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Wes Brown, but Ruud van Nistelrooy is expected to shake off a calf strain and England defender Gary Neville could return after five months out with a foot injury.
Radebe keen to end Leeds career with silverware
LEEDS, England (Reuters) -- South Africa captain Lucas Radebe is determined to finish his club career in England by winning something with Leeds United.
Radebe, in the final two years of his contract at Elland Road, is back playing following the knee injuries that kept him out of action for 14 months before the World Cup finals.
The 33-year-old defender, who may captain Leeds at Blackburn Rovers on Sunday with Dominic Matteo still an injury doubt, doesn't plan to leave Yorkshire empty-handed.
"I'm going to make sure in the two seasons I have left we achieve something in the club," he said.
"I'm going to play as many games as I can. I haven't got much left on my contract really, so I'm going to take in what I can."
Radebe, who plans to scale down his playing commitments with South Africa, will decide on his future in the game next season.
But he hopes he won't have to wait that long to achieve his ambition of bringing a trophy to Leeds.
"If we do simple things and go out there with the belief, I think we can win some silverware," he said.
"We've got a good squad now, with a lot of depth. What we are doing now on the pitch has given us another dimension and I think we're going to get stronger.
"Hopefully, we can improve our game and hopefully at the end of the season we will be there smiling."
Leeds has started well under Terry Venables and while a number of Arsenal's likely challengers in the Premier League have frittered away points, United will be looking for their fifth win in seven games at Blackburn.
"The one that has surprised me is Liverpool, because I think they have a good squad," Radebe added.
"They haven't had so many changes. Manchester United have had a taste of what we had with the last few seasons with the injuries.
"It's always going to be like that, but that's when we've got to take advantage because it's a crucial time for us to get points and to stay up there."
Leeds has also been boosted by the return to fitness of striker Michael Bridges, who made his first appearance in almost two years when coming off the bench in a UEFA Cup tie Thursday.
Radebe has shared much of the comeback route with Bridges and believes the former Sunderland player will add to Leeds' cutting edge.
"I understand what he's been through and it is very difficult," he said. "The treatment room is not a nice place to be every day.
"He deserves to be back. We knew the quality player he is and he proved that. With him up front I think we'll do better."