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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week