Football

Published: Tuesday May 13, 2014 MYT 4:14:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 13, 2014 MYT 5:05:14 PM

Arsenal legend backs team to lift FA Cup

LONDON: Arsenal Football Club legend Charlie George is optimistic the Gunners will beat Hull in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 17 to end their title drought.

Under Frenchman Arsene Wenger, who has been at the helm of the English Premier League club since September 1996, Arsenal have not bagged any silverware for the last seven seasons.

George, who featured for the Gunners from 1968-75 and scored 49 goals, attributes this drought to the lack of funds.

“We did not have the money to buy top players like our rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.

“But now we don’t just have the money, but also the great Emirates Stadium. We also have a great manager who knows how to buy good players,” said George, speaking to Malaysian journalists during a Carlsberg-sponsored trip to the Emirates.

George, who joined the club in 1966 and turned pro in 1968, was integral to the Gunners’ first League and FA Cup double win in 1971.

On leaving Arsenal in 1975, he went on to play for Derby County, Southampton, Bournemouth, Dundee United and ended his career at Coventry City in 1983.

He is now employed by Arsenal to conduct “Legends” tours and act as the match-day host.

George is enthusiastic about the club he has supported since childhood, praising Wenger as the “best manager Arsenal have ever had”.

“We have seen the best football from Arsenal under Wenger. Although we finished fourth in the Premier League, we are confident of lifting the FA Cup.

“We are the best-run team in the world and the players are definitely looking forward to ending the title drought this weekend.

“We will win the FA Cup final, no doubt it,” said George.

With great conviction he said he is “absolutely satisfied” with the club’s performance in the Premier League this season.

“We had a fantastic season and could have won the league. We had a good lead but we dropped points because of a lot of bad injuries.

“It’s not easy to win matches when the team are without four key players,” said George, singling out Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny who struggled with injury in the second half of the season.

It didn’t help that German international midfielder Mesut Ozil, bought from Real Madrid for £42.5mil (RM232mil) at the start of the season, failed to shine.

The 63-year-old George believes that Ozil was a good buy nonetheless.

“Ozil is a fantastic player for our football club ... a world class player.

“Although he struggled a bit as it was his first season, he will go on to be a great player in our club. But he will not be greater than our manager Arsene Wenger.”

Tags / Keywords: Charlie George, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, football, Emirates Stadium, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Carlsberg

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