Arsenal exclusive: ‘We don’t mind extra games if it ends in trophies’
Swiss centre-back Johan Djourou is not fazed as Gunners attack on four fronts
JOHAN Djourou wants Arsenal to keep fighting for trophies on all four fronts, even if it leaves them battling fixture congestion for the rest of the season.
The Gunners are facing the prospect of playing NINE games in January after failing to beat Leeds at the first attempt on Saturday set up an FA Cup third-round replay at Elland Road next week.
But while defender Djourou admits that the Gunners could do without an extra game, he denied they would have been better off going out of the competition to concentrate on winning the title and the Champions League.
“We have a lot of games and would have preferred not to have a replay, but it’s not the case and that’s life,” Djourou told the Gazette. “We have to go there and fight for it and we would rather be doing that than being out.
“We know we haven’t won a trophy for a long time and we want to go for everything. We have the squad to do it and the quality to do it.
“Now it’s down to us to fight for it and on Saturday we showed that we can do that. We would have been out but we equalised at the end and showed the character in the team.”
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Djourou, like most of the current Arsenal squad, has never won a trophy with the Gunners, and ending the club’s six-year trophy drought this season is uppermost in his mind.
“For players it is about trophies. We are here to win trophies,” adds the 23-year-old defender. “Maybe the Carling Cup has been overlooked before in the past few years but it is a trophy and we want it.
“I want to win the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and I want to win the league. I want to win everything, everyone here wants to win a trophy and that is what we are going to try and do this season.”
Arsenal have already played four games this month, and head to West Ham for a Premier League game on Saturday and then to Leeds for the FA Cup replay on Wednesday night.
They then welcome Wigan Athletic to the Emirates on January 22, Ipswich for the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final on January 25, and will host Huddersfield Town on January 29 in the fourth round if they defeat Leeds.
Djourou feels the Gunners will win the replay, and denied that there was any complacency in the Arsenal camp prior to Saturday’s game.
“We were motivated and tried to do our jobs well but when it is one game like this in the cup you know they are going to give everything,” said the Switzerland international.
“Credit to them, we knew Leeds were going to be tough to play against. They won at Manchester United last year and you know in the FA Cup that teams will be up for it. They hardly had any chances and then got a penalty and we didn’t take our chances. So we have to keep going, and go up there and beat them.
“But at the end of the day we fought back and we are still in it. It’s good to have another go.”
First up for Arsenal is tonight’s trip to Portman Road for the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final with Ipswich, although Djourou may be rested for the game against the Championship side.
Arsene Wenger is mulling over giving reserve-team captain Ignasi Miquel his first-team debut at centre-back, or asking Alex Song to fill in.
Miquel, an 18-year-old Spaniard signed from Barcelona in 2009, was on the bench for Saturday’s FA Cup tie and may get his chance at Ipswich.