Chelsea convincingly beat Arsenal by two goals to nil on Tuesday evening's League Cup clash at Emirates Stadium but Arsene Wenger has warned the club's weekend opposition, Liverpool, that they can expect the Gunners to show bouncebackability when the Premier League leaders host Brendan Rodgers' Reds on Saturday afternoon.
'We will respond against Liverpool, don't worry,' said Wenger to Arsenal Player.
Between Arsenal's opening day blip against Aston Villa and their mid-October defeat to Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal continually wowed crowds with one-touch passing, team goals and ruthless attacking efficiency high on aesthetics. However, their form at home - which includes the loss to Villa, to Dortmund and to Chelsea - has not been lost on the club's critics.
'The home form is a concern but not as big as the statistics show it, because I felt in big games against Dortmund and [Chelsea] we gave easy goals away,' Wenger reasoned. 'There are positives and negatives, the negatives are we give the goals away, the positives are that we don't give many chances away. So we have to keep doing that and focus on the next game.'
The Premier League focus is one echoed by midfield pass master Mikel Arteta, a notable absentee from Arsenal's domestic cup encounter with the Blues. In 268 minutes of Premier League football, Arteta has swiftly emerged as the club's most accurate passer despite the presence of players such as Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil.
With an average passing distance of 18 metres, Arteta has a success rate of 94%, making two key passes. Cazorla and Ozil are less accurate… by as much as seven and eight percent respectively, but have far more key passes (in Ozil's case 16), which can be credited to their more elevated positions on the pitch.
Arteta, though, is in one of the heartbeat positions and the fighter will not settle for another top four finish this season, claiming the club will do all they can to maintain their monopoly on the summit of the division.
'I wouldn’t take [top four],' he explained on TalkSport. 'I always expected us to do better than fourth place. It’s very pleasing [to be top], it takes a lot of pressure off. We know how we’ve been over the last few seasons and how difficult it is to go into every game knowing how far away you are from your opponents. This is where we want to be and we will fight hard to stay where we are.'
image: © Ronnie Macdonald