Wenger admits low Arsenal confidence ahead of Brighton trip
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted his players’ low confidence also stretches to their woeful away form as the Gunners head to Brighton on the back of two sound beatings at the hands of Manchester City.
A 3-0 defeat in the Carabao Cup final last weekend was followed by a Premier League loss by the same scoreline as City showed their superiority over an inept Arsenal side on Thursday.
The league reverse was played out in front of a meagre Emirates Stadium crowd, with widespread snow and the apathy of supporters over Arsenal’s current situation leading to plenty staying away.
Wenger’s men have, on the whole, been strong at home this campaign with Manchester United the only side to leave with a victory until both Ostersund and City won there in the space of a week.
The same cannot be said of Arsenal’s away form, with just three victories from 14 Premier League games on the road.
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Brighton, unbeaten in all competitions home or away since January 20, are next up and Wenger conceded after the latest defeat to City that confidence was low and knows the poor away record needs addressing.
“Yes,” he replied when asked if the confidence issue fed into the lowly return on their travels.
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“Certainly it is and that is down to us to change it. I am always ready for a fight. I am of course very disappointed but I have experienced these situations before.
“I have been in these situations in my life and I know what it takes. Experience and the desire to change things. Does that desire still burn as strongly? Of course.”
Wenger hinted that he could freshen up his side for Sunday’s game on the south coast following a draining week of defeats.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to retain his place as he is unavailable to feature against former club AC Milan in the Europa League next Thursday as he is ineligible in that competition.
Jack Wilshere could again miss out with an ankle injury but, despite conceding he will pick a team with one eye of the opening leg of the last-16 tie in Italy next week, Wenger is still not ready to focus solely on the Europa League as a route back into the Champions League.
“Team selection always takes in mind the game after, yes,” he added.
“You always have the next game in mind when you have so many games in a row. We are in the situation where first we need to win the next game rather than do the calculations.”
Wenger may want to steer further clear of those calculations if his side lose at Brighton as the Gunners could be as far as 13 points off a place in the top four as a result.