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Premier League

Wenger wants fitting tribute from Arsenal players


Arsene Wenger has called on his Arsenal team not to let the club's 125th anniversary celebrations detract them from delivering a match-winning performance against Everton tomorrow.

The Gunners today unveiled statues to three legends - record-goalscorer Thierry Henry, Double-winning captain Tony Adams and former manager Herbert Chapman - as part of a weekend of tributes, which include a guard of honour for some more famous club personalities ahead of kick-off at Emirates Stadium.

However, with his current team looking to maintain their upturn in form and close in on the top four, Wenger insists once the whistle goes, everyone must concentrate on the game in hand.

"History is one thing, performance on the day is another, and that is what is important for us at the moment," the Arsenal boss said.

"We are in a position where we just want to collect points because the pace dictated by the teams in front of us is tremendous.

"To keep in touch with them it is important we win our games."

Wenger added: "We know we fight for our lives in the Premier League.

"We have come back to a decent position and want to climb high up.

"Our job is to focus to reach our targets, to make history but to leave it to other responsible people at the club to honour those who have already made history.

"We are there to perform, and that is what we want to do tomorrow."

Wenger rested several key men for the midweek Champions League trip to Olympiacos, where they lost what was a meaningless final group match 3-1.

However, the trip to Athens came at some cost, with Brazil left-back Andre Santos set for an extended spell on the sidelines because of an ankle injury.

Wenger admits his squad is now somewhat stretched on both flanks in defence.

He said: "We have lost Santos for a while because the ankle injury is more severe than expected.

"How long he will be out we do not know, but it will be more than three weeks so he is definitely out for the Christmas period, that is for sure.

"With [Kieran] Gibbs not being available yet, we have a problem on both flanks with two right full-backs and two left full-backs out."

Wenger, however, is confident there is enough cover available, with Thomas Vermaelen set to move out to the left.

The Arsenal boss said: "Let's hope we get away with it, its not ideal at the moment, but that's part of the team as well, to adapt to problems and get over them.

"We are where we want to be - we are a team who has improved the levels of performances and the level of confidence, but there is still room for improvement."