Ahead of the repeat of last weekend’s Carabao Cup final, Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, says his side must remain ‘together’ if they must recover from the thrashing they received from Manchester City.
Last Sunday, in front of over 85 thousand fans and millions of others watching on television, Arsenal were humiliated at Wembley.
The Gunners were taken apart 3-0 by Manchester City in a one sided Carabao Cup final.
Nigeria international, Alex Iwobi featured in that game, but came on as a second half substitute, with his side already three goals down and out.
And here's our final change
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 25, 2018
Four days later, Iwobi would be hoping to start against the same opponents, as they meet again, but this time in a rescheduled Premier League encounter, at the Emirates stadium.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, Wenger says the club must recover together and respond in a united way.
“We are very disappointed because we lost an important game,” Wenger said. “We need to first recover from the disappointment and then prepare for the next challenge, as always, together.”
“Part of our job, when you don’t get a result, is to respond and to focus on the next game. You want only to win games, it’s not always possible, so it’s the way you respond. I believe that [we need to] analyse well, focus on the next one and respond together in a united way, which his part of our philosophy.”
Arsenal find themselves in a very difficult situation, currently out of the FA Cup, lost in the league cup, and are in danger of missing out on a pace in the top four, which guarantees Champions League football.
The Gunners are sixth on the PL table, 27points off City, and ten adrift of CL places, raising further questions about the future of the manager, Wenger.
However, the 67-year-old Frenchman may have a lot to worry about, but his future at the Emirates isn’t one of them.
“My position is my position,” he added. “Honestly, that’s the last worry I have at the moment. My worry is to focus, to get the team ready for tomorrow’s (today’s) game.”
On what his side has to do better than they did against City on Sunday, Wenger concludes; “I believe that we have to turn the decisive moments in our favour [this time] and play with more freedom than we did.
” I think we played a bit apprehensively and that is important that we go into the game with that force that is part of our game and our philosophy.”
Meanwhile his opposite number, Pep Guardiola and his side may still be in celebratory mood, but the Spaniard isn’t getting carried away.
Despite winning his first domestic title in England, the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss says his side must remain ‘focused’ as there is still a lot to play for in the PL.
“We are fighting for the most important title of the season, the Premier League,” Guardiola said during his press conference. “We must be focused. The next six fixtures are difficult in terms of the quality of opposition, four are away. We have tough games to play and we must be focused.
“In the PL, it’s a game every three days,” he added. “The league is constant, [and] the players know that. They know how important the league is for the club. We are always focused and we know how tough it will be until the end of the season.”
The first leg of this particular fixture ended in controversies, as Guardiola’s City side emerged 3-1 victors back in November last year.
Iwobi started in that game, playing for 78minutes in what was an underwhelming display from the Nigerian that day.
So, there will be more than revenge on the minds of Iwobi and his teammates, when they welcome their visitors, who could become the first side to beat them three times in a season since Chelsea in the 2005/2006 season.
The Nigerian playmaker has featured 17 times in the PL this season for Arsenal, starting 13 of them with two goals and three assists to his name.