Arsene Wenger has stressed his players have not lost hope after a difficult two weeks of football, and are aiming to get a result on Monday against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
The Gunners firstly dropped two valuable points against Everton two weeks ago after taking the lead, ending in a 1-1 draw. They then travelled to Napoli in midweek and lost 2-0 but ensured qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League, landing Bayern Munich in the process.
Finally, the week ended with a battling 6-3 loss away to Manchester City in the early Saturday kick-off, hardly a kind fixture after their midweek traveling endeavors. They have since seen their lead at the top of the table reduced, with Liverpool regaining top spot, however Arsenal host the Blues on Monday evening.
Although it has been a tough period, Wenger feels his side are not demoralized by the back to back losses and are focused ahead of their upcoming Premiership encounter.
The Frenchman told Arsenal.com:
We had three disappointing results – Everton, Naples, and Man City. That’s why it’s enough.
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I don’t feel the doubts have crept in. We have been in much more difficult situations. Playing Everton on Sunday, Naples on Wednesday night, at City on Saturday at 12.45… I knew that somewhere, at City, we were in trouble. We played three games in each of the two previous weeks too.
The players haven’t changed, they are focused. We were caught back against Everton, but we played three big games in six days really and it was difficult.
England is well known for its festive season football, with most of Europe’s elite leagues halting for a winter break. This will be Mesut Ozil’s first English winter, and while Wenger understands the importance of his record signing, he will have to be afforded a rest soon.
The German international appeared jaded against City after playing a high number of matches recently, however a well earned rest since then seems to have rejuvenated him ahead of the Chelsea tie.
At some stage I will have to [give him a rest]. But not on Monday night [against Chelsea].
We had that problem with Jens Lehmann when he came from Germany, in the first season, you could feel [he had to adapt]. Ozil has played a lot, but now we have had a little break, a little breather, and hopefully he has recovered.
Arsenal have slipped a little of late after some difficult matches and a very congested fixture list. However they must regain their lead at the top of the table against Mourinho’s Chelsea on Monday and prove their title credentials.
But it is positive to hear the Gunners confidence hasn’t been battered after what had been a grueling two weeks. The rest will have recharged their batteries and they should be raring to go at Emirates on Monday.