Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Arsène Wenger seeks instant response from Arsenal after loss to Chelsea - The Guardian

Arsène Wenger has called for calm after watching Arsenal suffer a second successive home defeat within a week and insisted that Saturday's visit of Liverpool, another side in contention for domestic honours, represents "an opportunity" to put things right.

Chelsea's collection of expensive fringe players prevailed comfortably here against a much-changed home lineup to progress to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, the home side's defeat following on from Borussia Dortmund's success here in the Champions League last Tuesday. Arsenal, who top the Premier League by two points, now welcome third-placed Liverpool before the return game in Germany, and then collide with Manchester United and high-flying Southampton in a sequence of fixtures that will prove to be telling.

Asked whether the loss had cast doubts over Arsenal's strength in depth in comparison with that of the visitors, Wenger said: "Let's not go too quick to conclusions. If you take the points we have made since 1 January, it's more than anyone else. On a longer distance, you'll see more of the quality of the team than in the last two games. It's difficult to swallow what happened to us in the last week, but the mistakes we have made are so big that they can be corrected. We have to keep the basis of our game and go into the next one.

"In football it's always difficult to be definite. People go quickly to definite conclusions. After the first game [loss] against Aston Villa we were relegated. Today we are in a strong position in the league. Do not draw conclusions too quickly. We have [Theo] Walcott, [Lukas] Podolski and [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain out, players who have a big impact offensively. If you put them in, it's a completely different type of team. But it's now about how we rid ourselves of these mistakes without losing the belief in our qualities. That is what is at stake."

Carl Jenkinson's error had presented Chelsea with the lead and left the home side playing catch-up against a team who revel on the counter-attack. As it was, Juan Mata added a second to ensure Wenger has now gone nine games against Mourinho – with whom he enjoyed a warm handshake before and after the game – without tasting victory.

"It's better to win, if you ask me," added the Frenchman. "It's a difficult [run of games to come], but that's part of the season. We know the games. We have to respond well against Liverpool. We are in a strong position in the league and have a good opportunity at home, and we have to turn this round. Away from home we are very solid, but at home you know it's important and vital to win the big games."

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