Arsene Wenger has admitted that his players need to improve their communication if they are to stay in contention for trophies. Arsenal conceded a late goal on Wednesday night, costing them a win at Wigan Athletic, and Wenger suggested in the aftermath that his defenders are negligent in organising themselves and reluctant to communicate with each other.
"We need to communicate much better," he said, after Sébastien Squillaci's own goal from a corner led to a 2-2 draw in a game that Arsenal had led 2-1 for most of the second half. "That's something we need to rectify.
"Nobody is taking charge on the organisation side, there is no voice when the focus drops a little bit. You don't feel that anybody takes charge on alertness and we need to communicate much better than that."
The Arsenal manager was frustrated that his side did not hold on to their lead, although he admitted that he was satisfied with a four-point return from their two Christmas fixtures at home against Chelsea and away at Wigan.
"Yes I would have [taken four points from those games], but I'm maybe too hungry and always want six," Wenger said. "We also have a difficult fixture list compared to the other teams, being twice on the road after the Chelsea game and have less recovery time than the other teams because we have one day less."
Arsenal have a congested calendar in January, starting at Birmingham City tomorrow, with seven scheduled matches and the possibility for more should they need an FA Cup third-round replay or progress to the fourth round. Wenger has demanded that the players gather themselves for challenges ahead. "We need to recover quickly and focus quickly again. It's down to us. The players are very frustrated after the Wigan game but they can be strong in their belief and think 'that will not happen again'."
Abou Diaby may miss much of Arsenal's busy month, after Wenger confirmed that the French midfielder suffered a calf strain in the Wigan match. Diaby started on Wednesday, having come on for 17 minutes against Chelsea on Monday. It was his first start since 16 October but he lasted just 27 minutes before being replaced by Jack Wilshere. "He is out for a while now," said Wenger. "Some weeks I think."
The club captain Cesc Fabregas criticised Lee Probert, who failed to award Arsenal a penalty against Wigan for an incident similar to one for which Fabregas was penalised against Tottenham recently. "What's the difference between this handball and my one versus Spurs?" he wrote on Twitter. "Referees don't want us to complain about them but they make life difficult for themselves.
"I'm not complaining at all, I'm just saying why on the same thing some refs say it's a penalty and some not. Is it a rule or just what they feel?"