Monday, 4 November 2013

Arsenal v Liverpool: Arsène Wenger challenges his team to prove themselves ... -

Wenger acknowledged there was only one way for Arsenal to silence the doubters. "It is down to us to prove them wrong," he said, pointing out for the umpteenth time this year that his side had taken more points in 2013 than any of their rivals.

Yet a closer examination of their fixtures shows that, other than home wins over Tottenham, this season and last Arsenal have failed to win any of their matches at the Emirates against one of the Premier League's big six.

"We have had a very good away record in recent years and we have suffered a bit more at home," Wenger said. "One of the targets is to turn that around. We need the supporters to help us to do that and I am sure they will."

Today is also the latest match of a defining period that takes in a trip to Manchester United and the visit of high-flying Southampton.

"It is an important period, of course," Wenger said. "You can see that I'm quite relaxed because I have the complete confidence that we will deal well with that period and I take that as an opportunity to show our strengths and I am completely sure that the players will be up for it."

Failure to do so would resurrect calls for Wenger, who finally spent big in the summer by bringing in Mesut Özil, to open the chequebook again in January. Tuesday's defeat to Chelsea seemed to expose the lack of depth in Arsenal's squad.

"You can come to that conclusion they are a more complete squad," said Wenger, who insisted that was largely down to injury and claimed he had yet to decide whether he would seek reinforcements.

"Do you want to convince me that [Nicklas] Bendtner did not have a great game the other night?" he said with a wry smile. "[Olivier] Giroud at the moment is a big part in our game, but if [Theo] Walcott had played, or if [Lukas] Podolski plays, the threat increases. "I don't know yet if we will strengthen in January."

It was a similar story when it came to Wenger's judgment on what this Arsenal side could achieve. "What we want first is to convince everybody that we can play at the top and hopefully in April we can ask ourselves have we got enough resources to cross the line."

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