Wenger admits Arsenal players needed a break after triple cup exit

Arsenal boss believes international break could benefit his side’s title chances

ARSENE Wenger believes the international break has given his battle-weary squad crucial breathing space after the trauma of three cup exits in as many weeks.

The Arsenal boss will be hoping to see his side avoid any major injury scares over the coming week, with Kieran Gibbs, forced out of England’s Under-21 match with Iceland on Monday, the only new addition to the treatment table so far.

The injured quartet of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are all nearing fitness after injury lay-offs, and all could be in line to feature when Arsenal return to Premier League action at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday evening.

That would provide a welcome boost, with Wenger believing the re-emergence of Chelsea in the title race in recent weeks has made it even more important that Arsenal continue their unbeaten run which stretched all the way back to December 27.

“Maybe it [the international break] will help us to get our players back, and also to get a psychological break after the demanding, stressful three weeks we had.

Maybe it’s not too bad that the players focus on something different for a while and come back refreshed,” said Wenger.

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“What is important for us is to get back winning our next game - that at the moment is what our squad needs.

Are Chelsea back in the title race? They are, if they win all their games they are. They need to win at Manchester United of course, but it is so unpredictable and so different. It was important for us not to lose at West Brom to keep that consistent run.

“I am confident of our consistency at the end of the season being rewarded, so let’s focus on the next game, that’s all we can do.

The Gunners boss also backed Andrey Arshavin to continue his recent renaissance after what has been an indifferent season; the Russia international having impressed in recent games and scoring a superb goal to get Arsenal back in the game at West Brom.

“He scored a great goal and I believe that on the day he was outstanding. He’s back in good form, Andrey, since the last three or four weeks, and we know he’s a player with an outstanding attitude, which was questioned at times.

“He is a fantastic player and I can say as well he has a fantastic attitude.”