Arsene Wenger believes his ever-improving Arsenal side can prove the naysayers wrong this season. The Gunners endured a disastrous start to the campaign but have responded superbly to an 8-2 mauling at Manchester United in August. Arsenal have won five of their seven league matches since the Old Trafford defeat and manager Wenger wants his side to continue their fine run against West Brom tomorrow.
"For us it is of course a vital game tomorrow because we are coming back into a better position in the league," he said. "We feel at home we are managing to win games and we want to continue to do that. "What was important at Chelsea was that we won the game. That was important for confidence. "But away from home up until now we have not produced the points you need when you want to play at the top. That's good for the confidence of the team. "The [midweek Champions League] Marseille game was a difficult one because we were on such a high after Saturday, which made Tuesday night a bit more difficult. "But, having had chance to watch it again, we produced enough chances to win the game [despite drawing 0-0]."
While Arsenal are starting to find a winning rhythm in the league, there remains those doubting their ability to finish in the top four. Earlier this week Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart told the Gunners not to get carried away with their win over Chelsea and insisted Tottenham are the best team in north London. Asked about the comments, Wenger retorted: "Well nobody is guaranteed to be in the top four after 10 games. "Nobody has enough knowledge or is prophetic enough to say who will finish there. "Historically we have not been bad in there so I don't see why somebody can say that. "Let's just let everybody else talk and we will play. If we play better and better, then we have a chance."
Arsenal have been given a kind-looking set of fixtures over the coming weeks, with matches against Norwich, Fulham and Wigan after tomorrow's encounter with West Brom. Wenger knows it will not be as easy as some suggest but highlighted the importance of heading into December with a good points tally. "Football is not as rational and mathematical as [saying we will get lots of points from these upcoming fixtures]," the Frenchman said. "I believe in the Premier League you get what you deserve from the quality of your performance."
Robin van Persie will return to the starting line-up while Wenger is without Marouane Chamakh (knee), Kieran Gibbs (stomach), Abou Diaby (hamstring), Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna (both ankle).
West Brom manager Roy Hodgson admits he found it laughable when Wenger's future came under the spotlight and praised the way he is building another side capable of challenging for honours. Hodgson believes the Gunners have started to overcome the summer loss of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. He witnessed at first hand their stunning 5-3 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge courtesy of a Robin van Persie hat-trick, and knows Albion will have to improve on last weekend's performance against Liverpool to have any chance of repeating last season's 3-2 win at Arsenal.
Hodgson said: "Are Arsenal back? Have they ever been away? Where did they go? There was all the stuff about Arsene being under the spotlight and pressure. "I think all managers at this level will accept they come under the spotlight and pressure if your team isn't winning as many games as people would like to see you win. "But I would find it very hard to believe if Arsenal FC were considering Wenger's future because for the last 15 years he has done a fantastic job. "He has proved himself to be one of the best managers in the world and has made that club an enormous amount of money when other clubs are losing money and staring administration in the face. "He has made that club stronger and stronger, richer and richer. His list of achievements just goes on and on."
Hodgson added: "I put those moments when even people like Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson are called into question as one of the amusing aspects of the job. "Arsene has had a chance after the upheavals of the summer with Fabregas and Nasri to accept it is time to move on from those players and to bring new players in. "Those new players are bedding in better and better, at least if you look at the results it would seem that way because they are doing very well at the moment." end
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