'We do not win the big games': Arsene Wenger admits concern over recent Arsenal results
Arsenal have lost to Manchester City and Chelsea recently
Tuesday 22 January 2013
Arsene Wenger called on his players to show him what they are made of after admitting he has become concerned by Arsenal's poor recent form.
Wenger's name was synonymous with success in the English game at the start of his reign, yet Arsenal have hit the rocks in recent years.
The Frenchman has not won a trophy in seven-and-a-half years and his team currently languish in sixth, seven points behind fourth-place Tottenham and 22 points behind leaders Manchester United.
Wenger, whose team have won just half of their home games this term, admitted today that morale in the Arsenal camp was low following their latest reverse - a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday.
Wenger concedes his team's failure to deliver in big matches is a concern, and has called on the squad to bounce back with a win in tomorrow's London derby against West Ham.
"What is worrying is just that we do not win the big games. The position we are in now is a bit backs to the wall," Wenger told a press conference.
"We have to respond. I'm confident that we will but the team was very down after the Chelsea game.
"Tomorrow is a very important game for us. We have to transform the potential we have shown in the (last) two games into points and tomorrow is a good opportunity to do it."
Wenger bristled at accusations his players do not have the same heart as Arsenal icons such as Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and Martin Keown.
"They care as much, if not more," a defiant Wenger said.
And having watched Arsenal overturn a 10-point deficit to beat Spurs to third last year, Wenger insists the current gap between Arsenal and their most bitter rivals this season is not as bad as many people would make out.
"The difference in points mathematically is not dramatic, but the consistency of our performances within games is what is worrying," Wenger added.
"When you see how we played in the first half (at Chelsea), and how we played in the second half it is difficult to believe that we are the same team. That is more worrying for me."
Although Arsenal fans generally support Wenger, the Frenchman's perceived stubbornness in the transfer market often grates them.
Wenger, who is understood to have a sizeable transfer kitty at his disposal, has been linked with moves for Yoann Gourcuff, Mohamed Diame, David Villa and Wilfried Zaha, yet despite the window having been open for 22 days, no new faces have been added to the squad.
Wenger sidestepped questions about a move for Lyon's Gourcuff, but hinted that midfield was an area he is looking to strengthen.
Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta are out of tomorrow's game while doubts remain over the long-term fitness of Abou Diaby.
"We have (an issue in defensive midfield)," Wenger said.
"It is a position where we are short. We are short when Arteta is not there because he is a player with a lot of experience, he gives us stability and you could see that in the last two (Premier League) games (when Arteta has been out). It is a position where we are a bit vulnerable at the moment."
One of the options Wenger appears to be considering is lining up a move for the man who has impressed in the engine room of tomorrow's opposition.
Diame joined the Hammers on a free transfer last summer, but the midfielder has attracted interest after it emerged that he has a £3.5million release clause in his contract.
"He has a great presence in the games. I've seen him in games where he's had a big impact," Wenger said of Diame.
"They have many players who can be dangerous, but he can drive the midfield."
One player who Wenger denied he was ever interested in is Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, who is reportedly close to signing for Manchester United.
"We were never in for Zaha," Wenger added.
"If he goes to Manchester United, good luck to him."
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