Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants players to 'lift' fans against Fulham
Manager Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to lift the 'flat' atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium by turning on the style against Fulham tomorrow.
The Gunners head into the clash with the Cottagers looking to bounce back from last weekend's defeat at Manchester United, and build on the midweek Champions League draw away at Schalke.
Wenger admits recent lacklustre displays have left the Arsenal fans less than impressed, but said: "We just have to play good games. The atmosphere comes from the team, not the fans, and we have to think like that. The vibes come out with the quality of our game, the fans are behind the team. That is what is about us."
Wenger added: "I agree we had one or two flat games at home, especially against Schalke, even the game against QPR. I believe that it is down to the quality of our game - that is our responsibility."
While Arsenal may be struggling for consistency to climb up into the top four, Fulham head into the weekend on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, with only one defeat in the last seven league games, and are level on points with the seventh-placed Gunners.
Wenger said: "Fulham are very efficient going forward. They have [Hugo] Rodallega, they have of course [Dimitar] Berbatov, and offensively they are a side who creates many chances and who scores goals - 21 goals is quite impressive in 10 games."
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is close to a comeback from his ankle problem and could be included in the Arsenal squad on Saturday for the first time since mid-September. Vito Mannone has performed well as his deputy, and the Italian is determined to hold onto the jersey even when the Poland international is fully fit again.
Wenger feels that 24-year-old Mannone, who found himself farmed out on loan to Hull last season, has "handled the situation very well". However, the Arsenal manager indicated Szczesny, who made a couple of handling errors in his appearances earlier this season, is likely to eventually come back into the side.
"When both Vito and Woijech are fully fit, then we will see," said Wenger. "Wojciech is the number one, so when he is truly fit, I will make that decision, but at the moment it is Vito who will play on Saturday."
Arsenal will, though, be without suspended midfielder Jack Wilshere after his red card at Old Trafford.
Related Arsenal News