Wenger: Alexis to make instant impact
LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez will not need to time to find his feet in English football following his 35 million-pound move from Barcelona.
Alexis, 25, is set to make his Premier League debut against managerless Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.
And Wenger is convinced the Chile international, who started in Sunday's Community Shield win over Manchester City, will impress from the off against the Eagles.
"I think he will be very quick to adapt," Wenger told his prematch news conference. "He is very keen. He is a player who is proactive, wants to make things happen, runs at people. He is committed. I believe he has all the ingredients to be a very good Premier League player.
"I am happy with our signings. [Mathieu] Debuchy, [Calum] Chambers and Sanchez have integrated well with the team. We are not destabilised. It is a strong re-enforcement of our squad."
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Wenger believes the "serene" atmosphere surrounding his squad in a summer when he has not lost any of his key players is a positive factor heading into the new season, while he feels they are ready to mount another title challenge.
"I'm very excited," Wenger said when asked to sum up his mood ahead of the upcoming campaign. "What these players have is ambition and a good togetherness in the team. I believe we have a chance [in the title race].
"We were top of the league for so long last year. It is difficult to know how the other teams will be and we still have some challenges to face that we did not face well last year.
"We need to take more points from the top teams and that will be our real challenge this year and keep the consistency we had last year against the teams that are not challenging for the championship.
"There is a little bit of weight off the shoulders [after winning the FA Cup], that's for sure. Confidence is there for this team, but we want to transform that into efficiency with our performances.
"This is the calmest environment I remember certainly, but I am long enough in the job to know that all that matters is the first game.
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As we count down to kickoff on Aug. 16, ESPN FC previews all 20 teams in this season's competition. Can Burnley, QPR and Leicester stay up? Will the new signings of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Adam Lallana help usurp Man City's crown? Will Manchester United get back on track under Louis van Gaal?
"I know the toughness of the Premier League. All the rest is good for us to have -- good spirit, good quality in our sessions, but the reality comes when we start against Palace. To show we are up for it and ready for the battle.
"It will be a tough competition [this season]. We finished fourth last year with 79 points. Manchester City won with 86, so it was very tight. It was very tight in the top four. If you win against them, they have three points less, then it is down to one game. It is tough to predict who will win it. We know it will be tough."