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English Premiership

Wenger looking for striker

PORTSMOUTH, December 31 – Arsene Wenger could sign a striker in the January transfer window despite Arsenal breaking the 50-goal mark for the season with a resounding 4-1 victory at lowly Portsmouth.
Eduardo, Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song all got on the scoresheet for the Gunners at Fratton Park on Wednesday to leave Arsenal within four points of leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

Yet Wenger concedes he is limited in his striking options with Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie injured and Theo Walcott struggling to reach a high level of fitness.

Out-of-favour AC Milan forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is a potential loan target for Wenger, who admits he is surprised that a team without so many attacking talents remain the Premier League’s leading scorers.

Wenger said: "I keep reading and people keep telling me we need to sign a striker but we have the best attack so I do not know.

"There is a confusing rationale in football and while we have problems up front if you look at the league nobody has scored more goals than us.

"We have players who know how to move the ball and get in dangerous positions but we are still in the market (to sign a striker)."

Even without van Persie, Bendtner, Walcott and captain Cesc Fabregas, the north London side were on fire against Portsmouth.

They cruised into a two-goal lead before the break with Eduardo’s free-kick deflecting off Younes Kaboul and France midfielder Nasri finishing a fine move with his first league goal since March.

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Welsh midfielder Ramsey added a gloss to the score with a dipping left-footed strike after the break to cap an eye-catching display.

Fabregas will be back in two weeks however and Wenger dismissed suggestions Ramsey is ready to replace the Spaniard just yet.

Wenger added: "The only way to combat injuries is by playing young players like Ramsey who was very good against a Portsmouth team who made it difficult for us.

"I think Aaron can play right-back, left-wing, centre-midfield – he is an all round player, Cesc is a playmaker but what they both have is a personality on the pitch, the ability to get on the ball and make their presence known in the game."

Song’s header completed the rout after Nadir Belhadj had grabbed a consolation but it was a grim day for the hosts as Pompey’s supporters finally began to turn on the club amid a cloud of financial uncertainty.

HM Revenue and Customs have issued a winding-up petition in regards to unpaid tax and key players will have to be sold to meet outstanding debts to former owner Sacha Gaydamak and Chelsea, Watford, Lens and Rennes over unpaid transfer fees.

Portsmouth fans chanted, "where has all our money gone?", "sack the board" and jeered captain Aaron Mokoena to be sent off or substituted following an anonymous display by the South African.

Manager Avram Grant said: "I think the supporters are behind the team. When I came here I knew what the problems were on the pitch, off the pitch? I was not sure.

"The fans were here before any players, any manager and we will try to lift them with what we do on the pitch."

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