Arsenal hope clear-the-air talks will help salvage their Premier League campaign ahead of crucial Manchester City encounter

Gunners can bounce back from Saturday's 6-0 drubbing to Chelsea with a good result against Swansea on Tuesday as they seek any kind of momentum ahead of City's visit this weekend

Arsene Wenger is hoping that clear-the-air talks with his Arsenal players will resurrect their season in the hope that he can trigger a response before the hugely important visit of Manchester City this weekend, with an immediate chance of redemption coming when Swansea come to the Emirates on Tuesday.

The Gunners’ squad arrived at their London Colney training base on Sunday following the 6-0 dismantling at the hands of Chelsea that saw Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge end in what he described as the worst day of his career.

There are worries within the Arsenal support that the side have already lost the matches against the Premier League’s best before a ball has even been kicked. Since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Arsenal have won just five of the 23 matches in which they’ve faced on of Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City, and with Saturday’s heavy defeat adding to recent drubbings this season – the 5-1 loss to Liverpool and 6-3 defeat to City are still fresh in the mind – fans are becoming restless with the ever-so-familiar way the season is panning out.


The rather concerning points is that all three heavy defeats this season have come in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, with defender Per Mertesacker admitting that something is wrong with the squad when they get the weekend’s action underway. He even joked that they should ask the Football Association for their future matches not to be scheduled at such a time.

Wenger chose not to attend the post-match press conference and the club later cancelled Monday’s scheduled press conference amid rumours that the remainder of the season could determine Wenger’s own future at the club he joined back in 1996.

The 64-year-old Frenchman did speak to a selection of reporters upon his exit from Stamford Bridge, where he admitted that the players had “to think deeply about [the loss] because it is not the first time” they have succumbed in such a toothless fashion.

Wenger looks for strong response against Swansea

Arsenal need a win over Swansea to generate any sort of momentum before their Premier League-deciding encounter with City, where defeat would unquestionably eliminate them from the title race and suddenly put them in a precarious position in the battle for fourth position, after both Everton and Tottenham picked up narrow victories this weekend.

Should the Gunners suffer a second heavy defeat to City this season, morale would be rock-bottom heading into their FA Cup semi-final against Wigan on April 12, and even though the north London outfit are overwhelming favourites for their first piece of silverware since winning the same trophy in 2005, a cup slip-up would not be out of the question.

Captain Thomas Vermaelen was quick to stress that Arsenal are far from done in the league, and given the fierce competition the English top flight provides, their rivals could quickly suffer a number of defeats to put the Gunners back in contention.

“I don't think our chances are over," said Vermaelen. “There are still a few games to play and, in England, you can do anything. I've learned that. You can easily come back even from behind. The teams are all so strong that anyone can beat anyone, so we must continue to believe in it and move on.”

The Belgian is likely to start on Tuesday after Laurent Koscielny was forced off at half-time in the Chelsea defeat, but Wenger remains hopeful that he will be able to call upon both Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following the red card shambles at the hands of referee Andre Marriner.

The England winger was seen to deliberately handball Eden Hazard’s first-half effort, but after awarding a penalty to the Blues, Marriner mistakenly dismissed Gibbs even though Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted his guilt.

Gibbs wrongly sent off for Oxlade-Chamberlain red card

Clubs can appeal a wrongful dismissal, although the FA can also review a straight red card, and while the one-match suspension can be redistributed to the right perpetrator, the Gunners are adamant that Oxlade-Chamberlain should not have been red carded as the shot looked to be going wide of the right-hand post.

Marriner has since apologised to the Gunners and admitted it was a genuine mistake, and the 43-year-old is said to be “devastated” with the incident. He is set to discover whether he has been dropped from Premier League duty later today.

Read More: Chelsea 6 Arsenal 0 match report
Michael Calvin: Wenger's 1,000th match ends in nightmare
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada