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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Wenger gets serious as Euro qualifier looms

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is banking on goals from all quarters as his side aim to book their place in the Champions League group stage.

The Frenchman expects the club's main goalscorer Thierry Henry to still be lacking in match-fitness when their third qualifying-round tie, almost certainly against Croatian side Dynamo Zagreb, rolls around.

Henry played in Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial in the first match at the Emirates Stadium, but prior to that his last outing was in the World Cup final for France.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie demonstrated their sharpness with two goals each in an 8-1 thrashing of Austrian side Schwadorf yesterday evening, but Wenger expects everyone in the side to contribute when they play their first competitive game on August 8 or 9.

'Jens Lehmann will be suspended (for the Zagreb tie) and Thierry Henry will be very short (of fitness). I've not yet made up my mind on that, but I am convinced he will be very short,' Wenger said.

'Anybody can score in our side and that is what you want. Overall, offensively the game (against Schwadorf) was quite good.

'We found a few bursts and we were always dangerous and our combination game was good, so if the combination game is good everybody can score.

'We did what we wanted to do, and that was to give everybody a game, (suffer) no injuries and score a lot of goals.

'I think it will be Zagreb, they won 4-1 away, so it would be unbelievable if it would not be them. It is a difficult side because they have a lot of experienced players, South American players and they are experienced at the back.

'They have a culture, they know how to go into these games and that's why for us it could be a difficult game.'

In addition to the braces for Adebayor and Van Persie in Austria, there were goals for Johan Djourou, Kolo Toure, Nicklas Bendtner and Alexander Hleb.

The Gunners' next outing will be against Dutch top-flight side AZ Alkmaar on Friday evening, who were UEFA Cup semi-finalists two seasons ago.

'First of all it is important to recover now, and to prepare well for Alkmaar,' Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

'That will be the last preparation game and we will not rotate as much and play with a much smaller side.'

Meanwhile Abou Diaby, who suffered a season-ending ankle fracture and dislocation in the Premiership game against Sunderland in May, is 'in front of what is expected from him' in his recovery according to Wenger, but the Gunners boss does not expect him back until November at the earliest.

Philippe Senderos is expected to miss the first two months of the season after dislocating his shoulder while playing for Switzerland in the World Cup.