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Arsene Wenger: Michael Owen Can Be 'Fantastic', Xabi Alonso Was Great, Chelsea Too Old

Arsene Wenger has commented on a myriad of subjects, from Manchester United's gamble in signing Michael Owen, to the age of the Chelsea team.

Arsenal boss Wenger has seen his side make a flying start to the season, including a 6-1 trouncing of Everton and the establishment of a Champions League play-off advantage over Celtic.

At the heart of the effort has been new signing Thomas Vermaelen, whose quality was doubted by many. The player has quickly slotted in at centre-back to dampen the effect of selling Kolo Toure.

Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool have also let go of big names: Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso respectively. The Red Devils, of course, snapped up Michael Owen as attacking cover, while Alberto Aquilani has joined Liverpool.

Wenger has watched developments around the league with interest, giving his take on Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez's transfer gambles.

"The question this season is, 'who will cope the best with what has happened during this transfer market?' - let's make sure it's us," Wenger said to the club's official magazine.

"The big task for United is replacing the goals that Cristiano Ronaldo scored. He had two fantastic qualities: he was never injured, and he put the ball in the back of the net.

"I'm surprised that they didn't reinvest more of the money they got for Ronaldo, but they may do so in January. They will continue to be a major force in the championship.

"Michael Owen is worth a gamble, I think. I don't believe he can be back to his complete best, but even if he gets to 95 per cent he will be a fantastic player - an impact player."

'The Professor' is slightly less sure of Liverpool's ability to replace Xabi Alonso.

"Aquilani will be a good player [for Liverpool], but they've lost a great player in Alonso," he noted.

"He was the brain of the game for Liverpool last season. I don't expect them to struggle, but people might have a little question mark over how they replace Alonso."

Completing his 'Big Four' round-up, Wenger said of new London challenger Carlo Ancelotti and his Blues, "I still think that Chelsea will be a main threat for the championship, but their squad is a year older, which might have an impact."

Greg Ptolomey,