Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ruled out entering the race to sign Wayne Rooney after watching the Gunners turn on a dazzling display of goalscoring.
Arsenal swept aside Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 at the Emirates on Tuesday to go three points clear at the top of Group H and leave themselves within touching distance of the knockout rounds.
The rout means Arsenal have now racked up an incredible 14 goals in three games. And with an embarrassment of attacking riches either left on the substitutes bench or still to return from injury, Wenger said there was no chance of trying to lure want-away Manchester United striker Rooney.
“Look, it’s a story I will be happy to read in the newspapers, but I want to keep out of it,” Wenger said. “That means we are not buying anybody. We have enough strikers. We had [Nicklas] Bendtner, [Theo] Walcott and [Andrei] Arshavin on the bench, and [Robin] Van Persie who is injured. What do we do with all the players?”
“We are not in the transfer market at the moment and we are not interested in buying anybody. We have plenty of players,” he said.
Wenger instead preferred to lavish praise on the rapidly blossoming midfield partnership between Spanish World Cup winner Cesc Fabregas and English teenager Jack Wilshere, who both got on the scoresheet on Tuesday.
Wilshere shrugged off the controversy surrounding his straight red card against Birmingham last weekend to give another assured performance in central midfield that belied his 18 years.
“I am convinced it works well together,” Wenger said of the Fabregas-Wilshere axis. “Cesc just came back tonight, but Jack has a good maturity level. You never think he’s 18 years of age when he plays and they combine well.”
With England’s national team currently suffering from a dearth of creative options in the midfield, the clamor for Wilshere’s elevation to Fabio Capello’s starting line-up is well under way.
Wenger acknowledged, albeit reluctantly, that the young Arsenal prodigy was capable of stepping up to the national team, whose next game is a friendly against France at Wembley next month.
BRAGA 2, PARTIZAN 0
REUTERS, BRAGA, PORTUGAL
Goals from Brazilian strikers Lima and Matheus gave Braga their first Champions League group stage points with a 2-0 win over Partizan Belgrade on Tuesday that leaves the Serbs stuck at the bottom of Group H.
Lima struck 10 minutes before halftime to open the scoring, but the hosts had to wait until the final minute for Matheus to make sure of the points after they caught Partizan on the break.
Braga lost their first two group games, conceding nine goals and failing to score, but coach Domingos Paciencia believes the win can help them recover enough to qualify for the knockout stage or at least secure third place and a Europa League spot.
Braga are six points adrift of leaders Arsenal, but only three behind second-placed Shakhtar Donetsk who were thrashed 5-1 in London. Partizan are bottom without a point.
“We’re going to put up a fight, try for the maximum points we can, knowing second place is within reach and third place quite possible. That’s how we have to think,” Paciencia said.
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