Arsene Wenger warns Arsenal will get better in push for Champions League qualification

Gunners have momentum in bid to finish in top four

Manager Arsene Wenger has warned the best is yet to come from his Arsenal side over the closing weeks of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

Following a string of frustrating inconsistent performances during the first half of the season, Wenger's men are now finally producing the required standard on a regular basis as they look to secure Champions League football once again.

Arsenal have built up a formidable head of steam, with seven wins in the last nine Premier League matches as well as a memorable away victory at Bayern Munich as they bowed out of Europe.

Should the Gunners men beat Norwich tomorrow, then they would leapfrog both Chelsea and Tottenham up into third place as neither of their London rivals are in league action this weekend because of the FA Cup semi-finals.

Wenger was always confident his side could find form at just the right time.

"I believe our team has always developed a way to play that makes them stronger throughout the season. That is maybe one of the consequences of it - that we go from strength to strength," Wenger said.

"We should not forget that, in recent seasons, we have started with young squads who have learnt first during the season, or with squads who have been disturbed because we sold players and we had to rebuild a team.

"Of course it takes a while to get into a good momentum [after that]."

Arsenal are expected to have England duo Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere available again following their injury lay-offs.

However, Wenger revealed there is a concern for Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky, who scored both goals in last weekend's 2-1 win at West Brom, but is a "big doubt" because of a hamstring problem.

Centre-half Per Mertesacker will be suspended after his red card at The Hawthorns for denying a goalscoring opportunity, which resulted in a penalty and a nervy finish for the visitors.

With the 6ft 6ins German not available, captain Thomas Vermaelen is set for a recall, having been benched since the defeat at Tottenham.

Wenger, though, has hailed the attitude of the Belgian defender, who took the skipper's armband following Robin van Persie's summer sale to Manchester United.

"He took it in a remarkable way [when he lost his place]," the Arsenal manager said.

"He is a great man and I didn't make him captain by coincidence. I knew there is something mentally special there.

"Vermaelen responds in positive situations and in less positive situations like when you don't play.

"They know there could be rotation with the three centre backs from the start of the season, depending on good and less good periods of any individual player. He [Vermaelen] took that remarkably well."

Arsenal raced out of the blocks in their last home match against bottom club Reading with an early goal, before going on to win 4-1.

Wenger expects more of the same tomorrow when they look to avenge a shock defeat at Carrow Road earlier in the season.

"Once we are in front, the teams who usually defend against us have to come out and that gives us space to develop our game even better. That shows you that when we start our games in a positive way, we can dominate," the Gunners boss said.

"It shows you just how important the confidence is to go into the games and to have a strong start."

PA

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