Arsenal have had an extremely unproductive month culminating in elimination from both the Champions League and the FA Cup, but they now have to pick themselves up and kick off against Everton just 63 hours after ending Wednesday’s defeat in Barcelona.
That is a tough schedule, and Arsene Wenger described how he has tried to handle the fatigue. “By focusing the maximum on the recovery,” Le Prof said. “You arrive late on Thursday, at 3am, you travel early again on Friday morning.
“The timing is not ideal but we focus just on getting the players to recover as well as we can, with medical help and with a lot of sleep as well. Then hopefully you can use the positive energy we got from the game against Barcelona and transfer that into the Everton game.”
Although Arsenal have lost 5 of their last 7 games in a gruelling month, Wenger believes that his players were impressive in the defeat in Spain and want to see them emulate that performance in the hope of beating Everton today. “I believe overall we produced a performance we wanted to produce,” he continued. “There were many encouraging signs in this performance and many individual performances that were very positive. At the end of the day, we go to Barcelona, we have 20 shots on goal, 12 on target.
“You could feel on the touchline that they were insecure suddenly [when Elneny equalised]. I believe the turning point was maybe the chance Danny Welbeck had in the box against Mascherano.
“We had the opportunities to score the 2-1 once or twice. When they made it 2-1, it was over, because we had to score three goals after that.”
We may have played well, but yet again we were lacking in the goalscoring department. What is the point of 12 shots on target if you only score one goal. Arsenal may need to recover and keep positive for today, but the most important key to beating Everton is for us to start scoring goals again. Once that happens we can start climbing the table again, so I will have my fingers crossed right from the start of today’s game. Well we need a bit of luck for a change!