Arsenal are yet to win a game in December after three attempts and Arsene Wenger is very surprised as in all three we created many more chances than our opponents but have failed to convert them into goals. Le Prof is calling on his strikers to get back on track this afternoon.
‘Not quite clinical enough, yes,’ Wenger said a. ‘It’s difficult to explain.
‘As we spoke about Sanchez last year, he scored 24, he’s on four at the moment. But he is still committed and he works hard. ‘I feel if you look at his [Lacazette] record, it’s quite good. Especially at home. At home his scoring record is really good. Away from home, a bit less.
‘But also, do the teams defend better? You could say no, because we create more chances than anybody else. Are the chances of the same quality? I don’t know. There is no objective reason to have a verdict on that. ‘Is it confidence? Is it the fact that the guys think we have absolutely to score? It’s difficult to know. ‘But we have the chances, the quality of our game is there. But it’s true that at the moment, we cannot show it up with points.’
The Gunners will surely be hopeful of changing that today, as their opponents Newcastle have lost all three of the December games, but their coach Rafael Benitez also thinks they have been playing well enough, but are failing to take advantage when they are in control.
Benitez said: “For us, every game is a challenge and an opportunity to get three points. Obviously, on paper, some games are more difficult than others, but it doesn’t change anything for us,” he said. “We were doing really well against Manchester United for 30 minutes and we were doing well against Chelsea, at the beginning, for 15 minutes, and you never know – as I have said before – if you get a couple of chances and then you score goals, and they need to win and they will have a little bit of anxiety, then maybe they will make more mistakes.
“The main thing for me is to try and keep a team competitive. The other day, I think we saw in the first half that we can beat teams if we do well, and we have to carry on with this message.”
“I think the main thing is to analyse what has gone on and then try to find solutions. If you see the last two games, Leicester are a good team – they showed the other day what they can do when they play away. The way that we concede – an own goal, with five minutes to go – is always disappointing, but the next game, we made a mistake against a team we were controlling, and we had chances and we were doing well,” he said.
“We lost with one mistake and we couldn’t manage in the second half because they have experience, and both games, they were wasting time and they were managing the game in a way that we have to learn if we want to get results. These two games, you have to be disappointed because you are so close. When you are doing things right, it is a pity. What is the way to move forward? Obviously, start winning. It is easy to say but more difficult to do it, but it’s just to stay calm, keep going in the way that we are going in the games we are doing well, and try to avoid the mistakes we are making.”
Wenger has an advantage in the fact that Benitez has never beaten Arsenal at the Emirates in six attempts, but with both teams desperate to get back on track today, will it come down to the team that makes the least mistakes?