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Arsenal boss: At home, we look like we play a little bit with the handbrake

Arsene Wenger's side could be forced to postpone their Boxing Day fixture. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire Arsene Wenger's side could be forced to postpone their Boxing Day fixture. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Sunday, December 2, 2012
8:29 PM

Manager Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal must learn to play with freedom again at the Emirates Stadium if they are to kickstart their Barclays Premier League campaign following yesterday’s lacklustre 2-0 home defeat by Swansea.

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The Gunners’ worst start to a top-flight season under the Frenchman continued as a late brace from Spanish striker Michu took the points back to Wales.

Wenger had looked to freshen his side up, deploying Gervinho down the middle and with Theo Walcott out wide, but there was little flair as the Swans turned in a slick passing game.

The tension flowed down from the terraces, with the ‘Black Scarf Movement’ having demonstrated around the ground before kick-off, complaining at the perceived commercialisation of the club following their move to the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger feels his team must rise above those concerns to get back to their former selves.

“At home, we look like we play a little bit with the handbrake. It is not fluent, there might be a psychological component in there as well,” Wenger said.

“There was no movement or speed in our passing and we looked laboured, not sharp.

“We had a lot of possession, but they created more chances than we did.

“We have to find a solution to this because we turn teams around without hurting them.”

There is little respite for Wenger’s beleaguered squad, who head out to Athens tomorrow ahead of their final Champions League Group B tie against Olympiacos.

With qualification for the knockout stages already secure, Wenger will look to rotate his side, even though they need a win to stand any chance of topping the group ahead of Schalke.

“There are many players who need a rest, because they are on the verge of getting injured and some played with knocks,” said Wenger.

“But we hope that we get a good performance at Olympiacos because it is important for us.”

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