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Wenger: We can't lose focus again

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24 Mar 2014 16:31:57

Wenger: We can't lose focus again

Manager Arsene Wenger accepts Arsenal cannot afford to drop their standards again when they look to respond to the 6-0 humiliation at Barclays Premier League title rivals Chelsea with victory over relegation fighters Swansea on Tuesday night.

The Gunners boss remains at a loss to explain just why his men imploded on Saturday lunchtime at Stamford Bridge in what turned out to be a nightmare 1,000th match in charge for the Frenchman.

It was not only Arsenal's pride which took a massive hit - m idfielder Mikel Arteta issuing a public apology on behalf of the players for the ''unacceptable'' and ''embarrassing'' capitulation - but they are also now down in fourth place, alhough could be back within four points of the leaders come full-time on Tuesday.

And Wenger, who cancelled Monday morning's scheduled pre-match press conference, knows if his men are to stand any chance of salvaging what has largely been a promising campaign, then they must not lose focus again.

Speaking to the in-house Arsenal Media channel, Wenger said: "The Premier League is difficult and as soon as you drop your standards a little bit you are of course in danger.

"It happens to many clubs because the fight for the relegation is very hard.

"The fight at the top is very, very hard and that's why every game has its own difficulties that you have to deal with."

Some two days on from the Stamford Bridge thrashing, Wenger remains baffled as to why his side once again failed to turn up in a big game.

Wenger's squad appeared to have learned no lessons from their 6-3 defeat at Manchester City earlier this season and the subsequent 5-1 mauling at Liverpool - where they trailed 4-0 inside 20 minutes - as Arsenal were torn apart by Jose Mourinho's rampant Blues during a blistering opening spell.

Arsenal found themselves 3-0 down by 17 minutes and played out the rest of the match with 10 men following the sending-off of defender Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity, which is expected to be overturned by the Football Association.

"We are intelligent enough and care enough about the club to, of course, be disappointed with our performance," Wenger said.

"I believe Man City was different, (but) Liverpool, yes. The common thing was that it was a 12.45 game and twice we were caught at the start of the game.

"We think about that and at the moment there is no rational explanation other than the quality of our opponents and that we were caught at the start of the game. Why? We don't really know."

Wenger confirmed Arsenal will be without defender Laurent Koscielny because of a calf injury, but it remains to be seen whether either of Gibbs or Oxlade-Chamberlain can be selected.


PA

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