Wenger demands Arsenal prove quality

Arsene Wenger has called on Arsenal to provide the "perfect" response and show their true quality by beating Standard Liege to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Gunners had looked sublime before the international break, moving above Manchester United and closing in on Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea following a 13-match unbeaten run across all competitions.

Yet the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland - where Arsenal were without injured Holland forward Robin van Persie and well-short of their usual free-flowing selves - has once again been highlighted as just why Wenger's squad are not quite yet the finished article.

A draw tonight would be enough to see Arsenal safely through with a match to spare, while victory will win them Group H and provide the ideal preparation for Sunday's visit of Chelsea.

Wenger declared: "We have a good opportunity to finish first in the group and qualify, then after we can think about Chelsea.

"The perfect way is to respond after a disappointing result, that is where you judge a big team and that is what we want to do."

Wenger, though, remains less than impressed by the lacklustre performance at the Stadium of Light.

He said: "We had some deficiencies which we paid for and we have to make sure that is not repeated.

"We did not produce enough in the final third, which had been our strength until now.

"We did not have the right fluency in our game, nor enough penetrative runs to force the issue in the final part of the pitch.

"That is why we were not dangerous, rather than down to any individual.

"I do not deny at all the super-class of Van Persie, I just feel we still have enough in the locker to score goals even when Robin is not there."

Arsenal will have England Under-21 defender Kieran Gibbs available again after a foot injury, and Theo Walcott is expected to get some more much-needed game time after what has been an injury-hit start to the campaign.

Both men are among several Arsenal players hoping to be involved at the World Cup next summer.

Wenger, though, wants all of his team focused on the here and now.

"For me, the big season is with Arsenal, not at the World Cup," Wenger insisted.

"We do not pay players to go to the World Cup - we pay the players to do well for Arsenal.

"The first pride of a man is to do well for the guy who pays you in life, not to go to the World Cup."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk