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Arteta warns Olympiakos to expect Arsenal backlash
Published : 03 Oct 2012 03:18:27
Arsene Wenger's side suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as Chelsea punished some slack defending from the hosts to clinch a 2-1 victory and Arteta admits his team-mates are desperate to make amends against Olympiakos.
Spanish midfielder Arteta believes that desire to get back on track quickly will spark a dominant display as Arsenal, who have made a bright start to the campaign despite the Chelsea defeat, look to maintain their 100 percent start to the group stage.
After winning in Montpellier in the opening group fixture, a victory over Olympiakos would put the Gunners firmly on course for the last 16 and Arteta said: "We have played some of the best teams in the league and we haven't been battered at all.
"In fact it has been the opposite, we have been better than them through the 90 minutes. I think that is a very positive thing.
"We will bounce back on Wednesday in the Champions League against Olympiakos."
The main concern for Arsenal in recent weeks has been their weakness when dealing with set-pieces from the opposition.
Manchester City's goal in their draw against the Gunners came from a corner, while Chelsea took full advantage of Arsenal's defensive frailties to score twice from Juan Mata free-kicks.
Arteta insists individuals should not be blamed for the goals and he called on his team to take collective responsibility for fixing the problem.
"We have conceded three goals from three set-pieces in the last two games that cost us points and it is not good enough," Arteta said.
"I don't think it is something to do with the defence, it is to do with a set-up in the game, which is a free-kick or a corner or whatever, and we haven't defended the ball well enough and we conceded three goals in those two games.
"You cannot blame one player, you have to clear the lines so quickly and you cannot allow runners like that in the box, and it was the same sort of ball for both goals.
"It is frustrating, but I think it was our own fault because we didn't defend those set-pieces."
Wenger agrees that Arsenal must tighten up at the back, but he put the poor defending down to a bad day at the office rather than an overall trend that needs addressing.
"I thought we were a bit passive on both goals, and we have to be active," Wenger said.
"But it's part of human cycle - we are not every day at the same level, and at set-pieces we were poor.
"They (the players) have a great attitude, they are very disappointed. I can understand that. But I think we will recover from it. These things can happen in the season."
Wenger will be without Abou Diaby after the French midfielder suffered a thigh injury against Chelsea, while England midfielder Jack Wilshere is unlikely to feature despite making his long-awaited comeback on Monday.
Wilshere played for Arsenal's under-21 side against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns after being sidelined by a series of injuries since July 2011.
"Diaby's injury record is not good, I was concerned about him, of course. It was a gamble (to play him against Chelsea) but I was calculating that Jack Wilshere was coming back," Wenger said.
"Francis Coquelin is here but was sick and Emmanuel Frimpong is back, while Tomas Rosicky is coming back.
"We have many midfield players, but we don't have many physical players. But Mikel Arteta has shown he can be a great defensive midfielder."