Capital One Cup: Kieran Gibbs says Arsenal must 'switch on' against West Brom
There is uncertainty over the quality of team Arsene Wenger will put out
Tuesday 24 September 2013
Defender Kieran Gibbs maintains Arsenal must “switch on” in the Capital One Cup at West Brom - no matter what side manager Arsene Wenger sends out at The Hawthorns.
The Gunners head to the midlands on the back of seven straight wins in all competitions, with club-record signing Mesut Ozil having a hand in all of the goals as Stoke were beaten 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday and Arsenal went top of the Barclays Premier League.
Manager Arsene Wenger has already indicated he will rest some of his key men, like Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, who aggravated a minor abdominal strain in the warm-up on Sunday and was pulled out of the side.
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, who saw a move away during the transfer window blocked, is one of those fringe players likely to feature against the Baggies.
However, with the Gunners needing to keep alive their hopes of some long-overdue silverware, Gibbs acknowledges there can be no sense of complacency.
"It will be a different mentality in the cup games so we have to switch on to that and make sure we are ready for West Brom on Wednesday. We have a momentum now and we want to keep that going," he said.
Despite again being hampered by some fitness problems last season and Arsenal also signing Spain defender Nacho Monreal in an £8.5million deal from Malaga during the January 2012 transfer window, Gibbs enjoyed a decent campaign for the Gunners, making 29 starts.
The left-back, who turns 24 on Thursday, was however not part of Roy Hodgson's England squad for the end-of-season friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, nor for the last round of Group H qualifiers.
Nevertheless, Gibbs - who has battled back from a broken metatarsal in November 2009 and then a hernia operation two seasons ago - retains hopes of forcing his way back into contention if his new approach can help secure a good run in the Arsenal side.
"I have always felt that when I am able to get a run of games, that is what I needed to kick on. I have always felt sure I could do that. Now I feel I am kicking on. I need to keep that going and stay fit. That is my main target," said Gibbs, who made his England debut in August 2010 when coming on as a half time substitute for Ashley Cole against Hungary.
"Since my thigh strain at the end of last year, I met someone new who has taken a good look at me physically and I owe him credit at the minute because he has kept me fit for the last eight to 10 months."
Gibbs has both former Arsenal full-back Cole and also Everton's Leighton Baines ahead of him in the England set-up, but remains determined to get himself back on the manager's radar.
"It is a challenge to compete against two world-class left-backs, both at the top of their games," he said.
"I just have to see it as a challenge and stay fit and concentrate on the (Arsenal) team and give myself the best chance."
Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.
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