Wenger agrees with Walcott over self-belief issues as West Ham await

13:03 23 January 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Arsene Wenger views tonight’s London derby with West Ham United as an “important moment of the season” in which his side must brush off what Theo Walcott labelled a lack of self-belief in the Arsenal camp.

The England international scored against Chelsea at the weekend but could not affect a turnaround after they fell 2-0 behind in the first half.

That saw the Gunners register back-to-back Premier League defeats, both against Champions League contenders after they slumped to a 2-0 reverse at Manchester City seven days earlier.

“I think players don’t believe they are good enough at times,” Walcott said after the 2-1 Blues loss on Sunday, while insisting that is not the case from what he sees every day in training.

Wenger concurred, saying: “I agree with him.

“The players come out and think, ‘we could have done better’.

“But when you look at the first half [against Chelsea on Sunday] we lost goals we shouldn’t lose, 50/50s you cannot lose in big games.

“Last year we could win big games and on Sunday you come out of the game and think, ‘what is happening?”’

He added: “I don’t question the players’ character, but then you look at the consistency of our results in the big games.

“The attitude of the players is fantastic. They want to do well and are focused [but] maybe a bit too respectful in the big games of other teams.

“Every time we start to show what we can do, it is when the game is already lost. That is what we have to change.”

Starting tonight the north Londoners face a crucial 10-day block of home league fixtures which could shed light on whether they will finish in the top four.

Wenger has never failed to see his side do so and qualify for the Champions League during his 16-year tenure but defeats in any of the games against the Hammers, Stoke City or a resurgent Liverpool side could see them slip further behind bitter rivals Tottenham, who currently sit in fourth place, seven points ahead of them.

Wenger said: “This run of games is a massive test. A big test, big test. It’s a very important moment of the season for us.”

Arsenal have already beaten West Ham 3-1 this season, when striker Olivier Giroud registered his first Premier League goal, seven games into his Gunners career after a summer switch from Montpellier.

Walcott and Santi Cazorla also netted and asked if that was one of his side’s most promising days on the road, Wenger said: “Away from home? Yes. It was one of our better performances.

“We had some good games away from home and even on Sunday [against Chelsea], you cannot say we had a bad game but we missed the start of the game.

“We had one really bad game at Manchester United. Apart from that we are quite good away from home.”

Mohamed Diame opened the scoring for West Ham at Upton Park in October when Arsenal and the Hammers last met and the Senegal international has been heavily linked with a transfer across the capital.

He has a £3.5million buyout clause in his contract and the Gunners boss yesterday admitted his admiration for the defensive midfielder.

“He has a great presence in the games,” the Frenchman said, adding: “I’ve seen him in games where he’s had a big impact, for example against Chelsea where he had a big impact where he came on.

“They have many players who can be dangerous, but he can drive the midfield.”

Tonight’s game could give Wenger a chance to assess the 25-year-old’s suitability after admitting that he was short of numbers in the midfield holding role due to injuries to Mikel Arteta (calf) and Francis Coquelin (hamstring).

While Arsenal this month tied up a new three-year contract to keep Walcott at the Emirates they have yet to do any more business in the January transfer window.

Wenger said: “If we have no injuries we will be alright. If we have big injuries then we are a bit short.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Arsenal news

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
James Collins and Branislav Ivanovic

With transfer month coming up in the new year, many players will be thinking about their futures.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Calum Chambers of Arsenal takes on Jack Harper of Brighton (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Calum Chambers, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Alex Iwobi all started for Arsenal Under-21s in a 2-1 win over Brighton Under-21s on Monday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
DeAndre Yedlin may be on loan to Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur at the moment, but he has spoken in the past about his fondness for Hampstead

Tottenham loanee DeAndre Yedlin is hoping to do his parent club a favour when he faces Arsenal on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Kingsley Coman of France in action (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he came very close to signing French winger Kingsley Coman.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in action against Norwich (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry says Arsene Wenger should have rested Alexis Sanchez for Saturday’s game against Norwich.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


Win a beautiful monochrome tunic dress with Great British Life!

Great British Life is offering a beautiful monochrome silk tunic dress worth £179 to one lucky reader

Read more
Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Read more

Latest Tech News