With the very busy Christmas period ahead, and a few easyish games I might add, Arsene Wenger believes that his Arsenal team have a chance to make up some ground on the League leaders to put them back into the title race.
Wenger said in the Telegraph: “Let’s see how the schedule goes over Christmas. We’ll have a much better idea at the beginning of January. It can still change. That’s why I say, ‘let’s wait’. Will it only be Chelsea and Man City? Today you can say maybe, but it is still a long way.
“Chelsea play Champions League, Man City do as well, then you have the FA Cup and Chelsea play in the League Cup. There is still a lot to go. But what is for sure, the teams like us and around us, they need to be massively consistent to have a chance to come back.”
Consistency is hardly Arsenal’s strong point this season, but Wenger is still of the opinion that the World Cup was a big factor in Arsenal having their worst start to the season since he bacame manager.
“I don’t think we have gone backwards in the quality of our squad because if you look at the five players that we bought, you cannot say that one of the five players is a failure,” Wenger said. “I can’t deny that we are behind much more than last year because we have had a depleted squad since the start of the season, and the fact that we got so many important injuries at the back cost us too much. We lost Debuchy and Koscielny at the same period for three months. It’s too much.
“After the World Cup, we had too many players who came back not ready to compete again and then you look at the number of players that we lost when they just came back to their best. We had no Walcott, no Wilshere, no [Mesut] Özil, no Debuchy, no Koscielny, no Arteta, no Giroud for long periods.”
I can understand our long injury list being to blame (although Man United might disagree), but surely the World Cup argument is invalid as all the other big teams had just as many players over in Brazil as we did? Arsene just gave our players a longer rest, and a fat lot of good that did!