- Premier League
Wenger moves to alleviate Wilshere fears
Arsene Wenger has moved to alleviate fears that playing Jack Wilshere in Sunday's crucial Premier League clash with Newcastle United will have long term effects on the injury-ravaged midfielder.
Wilshere has been sidelined by ankle problems for large portions of the campaign and may be needed at St James' Park with Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta a huge doubt for the match which Arsenal must win to guarantee qualification for the Champions League.
But Wenger is confident that Wilshere will come through unscathed and be ready for a "big season".
"It will keep him out for two to three weeks, maximum. Then he will come back and have preparation for next season," Wenger said of Wilshere's latest ankle problem.
"It will be a very big season for him because, first of all, it will be a very important season for Arsenal, but as well we also have a World Cup you want to bring back from Brazil."
Anything less than a victory could cost Arsenal a place in the Champions League, but Wenger believes that with the team's enduring "belief", Arsenal will, for the 16th successive season, participate in Europe's premier competition.
"When you finish the season strong - like we do - you prepare already for next season, because you go with more certainty," Wenger said. "Last year we had a new team and we have built up some belief and, of course, with belief we want to use it to win the game on Sunday.
"The game on Sunday is also for next season, to know when you have to turn up, you turn up, that makes your future stronger as well; the strength and belief that you can start strong again, that you are on a run and you don't interrupt that because of the summer break.
"You just know that there are some qualities in this squad that will come out next year."
Wenger is also confident the usual early season transfer speculation hanging over the club will be a thing of the past when the new campaign kicks off in August.
In seasons past, Wenger has been forced to deal with rumours of star players leaving just as the side were preparing for their opening match, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Samir Nasri (Manchester City) and Robin van Persie (Manchester United) all leaving the Emirates at the start of the new season.
But with the rumour mill focused on players and events in other parts of the country, Wenger is preparing to return Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League.
"Last year and the year before, the summers were very difficult because of the Fabregas case, the Nasri case and last year the Van Persie case," Wenger added.
"We started pre-season, on camps, with every time a player being half in or half out and that is not the best way mentally to prepare the season. Let's first finish well on Sunday and then we will give ourselves a good potential chance to win the championship next year by doing well in the transfer market this summer."