Arsenal must bounce back against Chelsea says Johan Djourou
Tuesday 17 April 2012
Johan Djourou has warned Arsenal they must "show up" when Chelsea come to Emirates Stadium on Saturday to avoid a second successive home defeat.
The Gunners had won nine of their last Barclays Premier League games before the visit of relegation-battlers Wigan last night.
However, Arsene Wenger's men were caught out by two early goals as the Latics capitalised on some poor defending before then seeing off what little attacking threat the home side mustered to go on and record a famous 2-1 win which lifted them clear of the dropzone.
Arsenal are currently five points ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham and Newcastle, and some seven in front of the Blues, albeit having now played a match more.
The Swiss defender accepts another lacklustre display this weekend could once again leave the Gunners taking an anxious glance over their shoulders in the race to secure Champions League qualification.
"Technically we were not good against Wigan and were missing sharpness in our passes. It is difficult to win games when you are like that," Djourou told Arsenal Player.
"Maybe it was a bit of fatigue, but we all know Saturday is very important and we have to show up for this one.
"We would rather be in this situation than where the others are.
"The most important thing is to come back stronger, and what better chance to do it than against Chelsea?"
The Blues head across London in the middle of something of a tough schedule, with the small matter of a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona to contend with.
Djourou, however, does not expect European ambitions to deflect any of the focus from the FA Cup finalists.
"Chelsea still want to have Champions League football next season as well so we know it is going to be a tough game," the 25-year-old said.
"Obviously they have a lot of fixtures, the two Barcelona games is maybe a plus for us, but we don't really concentrate on that.
"We have to be focused on our game and be focused on what we do best."
Djourou added: "We need to play football the way we did against Manchester City and Wolves, that is the sort of situation we have to get back into.
"We have to show that again. Unfortunately it wasn't the case against Wigan but we have to be sure it is there on Saturday."
Wenger confirmed after last night's match midfielder Jack Wilshere would miss the rest of the season because of a long-standing ankle problem, which also now rules the 20-year-old out of contention for the European Championships in the summer.
The Gunners appear set to be without Mikel Arteta against Chelsea, the Spain midfielder forced off after less than 10 minutes with an ankle injury.
Wenger admitted his team had been punished for a sloppy start, but is expecting a response against Chelsea.
"It is a defeat that is very difficult to swallow because we have done so well in the last two months. Everybody is deeply disappointed," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"I wouldn't put it down to complacency, I just think the way we defended the first two goals was not acceptable.
"I was still confident at 2-1 especially, but unfortunately in the second half we did not have a lot to offer."
Wenger added: "We knew it anyway that the Chelsea game would be massive. It is even more important now."
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