Arsene Wenger hints at possibility of taking charge of national team at 2022 World Cup

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Arsene Wenger has not ruled out the possibility of taking charge of a national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Frenchman is currently enjoying life away from the dugout having left Arsenal after 22 years at the helm in May 2018.

Wenger has been linked with a return to club management, including ahead of the new Premier League season at Newcastle following the departure of Rafael Benitez.

During his time away from the game, Wenger – who won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups as well as reaching the 2006 Champions League final – has been working as a pundit for beIN Sports.

Asked by the Doha-based broadcaster if he could see himself at the 2022 World Cup as a spectator or working for a team, Wenger said: “I could see myself working for a team.

“I will have enough time (and) distance with my last job (to give me perspective), and I would not be against that.”

Wenger also worked in France and Japan before his hugely successful spell with the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger won seven FA Cups at Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger won seven FA Cups at Arsenal.

“It will be interesting because you have some countries that have shown quality, especially Qatar who has just won the Asian Cup,” the 69-year-old continued.

“It will be interesting to see how they develop, but overall I must say I always wanted to go to the World Cup (finals) because I felt it is the job of a manager to be where the best football players in the world play football.

“Hopefully, you will see me, touch wood in Qatar in three years’ time.”

Wenger told beIN he had rejected “some nice offers” because he did not yet feel ready for a return to the game, but added: “You will see me in a dugout again, when, I don’t know exactly.”

The former Monaco coach, though, suggested he remained determined to look towards a fresh challenge.

“I enjoyed a bit to take a distance. I had a reluctance to go back into the heat again,” Wenger said.

“I still cannot live today with the fact that I will never be on the bench again. I might go for an intermediate position.

“What I want for sure is to share what I know, and what I have learnt as much as I can in the game.

“I would like to experience one more time the intensity of the competition.”

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Fantasy Premier League: Why likes of Harry Wilson and Nicolas Pepe show strong FPL value

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If goals are the currency for Fantasy Premier League managers, then shots are of interest too – so who’s taking the bulk of them for their team?

We compiled a list of the players to have taken the highest percentage of their team’s shots while on the pitch this season to find out which teams depend on one player.

These are the Premier League’s shot-hogs.

FPL shooters

[PA Graphic]

HARRY WILSON

Harry Wilson was famed for his long-range efforts with Derby in the Championship last season, and he appears to have brought his shot-heavy game to the Premier League with Bournemouth.

The Wales international has already bagged two goals for the Cherries this season including a stunning free-kick – and when the 22-year-old is on the pitch, 35.3% of Bournemouth’s shots come from the Liverpool loanee.

That’s the highest proportion for any team in the Premier League this season, and at £6.0m and just 2.9% ownership, could make Wilson a fine differential to back.

NICOLAS PEPE

Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe is trying to make his mark at the club and it shows – the winger has taken 31.4% of the Gunners’ shots during his 268 minutes on the pitch, but he has yet to score.

As a result the Ivory Coast international’s FPL price has dropped to £9.4m while his ownership is 3.6%. Pepe has managed an assist however and has only played the full 90 minutes twice, so managers might want to keep backing him for now.

One of those shots has to fly in sooner or later, right?

ROBERTO FIRMINO

While Sadio Mane was reportedly upset with Mohamed Salah for not passing to him against Burnley, it is the central member of the feared trio – Roberto Firmino – who has taken the highest percentage of shots for Liverpool while he has been on the pitch (24.6%).

The Brazilian has managed two goals and two assists so far this season and has started every game for the Reds, accumulating a handy 27 points as a result.

Salah takes 18.6% of his team’s shots while on the pitch, while Mane has 12.7%.

SERGIO AGUERO

If anything summed up Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side, it would be the equal distribution of shots among the team – Sergio Aguero has taken the highest proportion of shots while on the pitch at 19.4%, but the rest are not far behind.

Bernardo Silva (18.4%) Riyad Mahrez (16.7%) Kevin De Bruyne (15.8%) and Raheem Sterling (15.4%) make up the rest of the top five for the champions.

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Bernd Leno backs Arsenal to finish above Tottenham

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Bernd Leno has backed Arsenal to finish above Tottenham this season because he and his team-mates possess both the character and quality to do so.

The Gunners battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with north London rivals Spurs in their Premier League meeting at the Emirates Stadium.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were again on hand to provide the goals after the visitors had taken control of the game courtesy of Christian Eriksen and a Harry Kane penalty.

Eriksen’s 50th Premier League goal was a tap-in from close-range after Leno had only managed to palm a Son Heung-min shot into the path of the Denmark international.

Despite his error, Leno went on to make a great save to deny Son and then did well to keep out an Eriksen free-kick and – after rescuing a point, the Germany international insists Unai Emery’s side can catch Spurs this year, having finished below them for the past two seasons.

“Today we showed that we can play better than them,” he said after the game.

“To be honest in the first half you saw the quality of Tottenham so again it will a very hard fight until the end of the season and then we will see who will be better.

“Some minutes after the game it was a little bit disappointing because we had the chance. But after one hour you have to say it is okay because we were 2-0 down and came back to 2-2 and also that Tottenham had a lot of chances and could have scored the third goal so at the end it was a deserved draw.”

Leno went on to praise the character of the Arsenal players and said it was up to him to show his own mental strength to recover from his early mistake.

“I think the first goal was a little bit unlucky,” he said.

“I couldn’t catch the ball completely and then I tried to get up but Eriksen scored, it was unlucky but that is the life of a goalkeeper.

“For me it was then like the team, I had to stand up. It is not a big problem just because we conceded a goal, I had to stay positive and I thought after that I did a very good job.

“I think it was a very difficult start but then we said as a team on the pitch after going 2-0 down ‘we have to stay positive’.

“There was still an hour to play and we know about the character in this team and also our quality and then after it went to 2-1 you could see that we at least wanted to draw the game and at the end we still had the chances to win.

“Everybody was going crazy in the last minutes, all the fans and players were crazy and the referee made the right decision, he just said that everyone should calm down so it was okay.”

With Lacazette and Aubameyang on form at the other end of the pitch, Leno feels Arsenal have a forward line that can ensure they outscore the majority of their opponents.

“We know about our character but also about the quality,” he said.

“The three players up top, with Pepe also there now, we have unbelievable quality. They can score the big chances but also score from nothing and so the other teams always know and have to be aware that we have a lot of dangerous players and that gives us big confidence.

“You can see the game against Liverpool (a 3-1 defeat) we had one or two chances to score when it was 0-0 so we can score with our quality in that top three.

“We can score against everybody but I think the key is always the balance with the defence because in the end that is the most important thing.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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