Backpage Roundup: Wenger Baffled At Flat Performances, QPR’s Hughes a Fan of Wilshere, Mertesacker Wants Instant Recovery, Gazidis Promises Rosy Future and More

Wenger Unable to Explain Arsenal’s Flat Performance

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal are currently struggling to find their rhythm on the offensive end of the pitch.

The Gunners started the 2012/13 season in fine form but their attack has now inexplicably seized to perform, resulting in back-to-back defeats against Norwich City and Schalke in recent games.

While successive losses and goal droughts are nothing new for Wenger’s men, what’s strange is that this time their offensive creativity has also dried up and Wenger knows that this problem needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

The Arsenal manager said: “At West Ham, we looked outstanding going forwards, dynamic and then suddenly had two flat performances. It is difficult to explain. We have hit the wall a little bit in the last two games, and just did not find our rhythm. But we have to just focus again on the quality of our game, the way we want to play, and not concede too much against who we play. With the quality (we have), the results will come back.

“We have to put what happened to us on Wednesday night into perspective – we know we were not at our best, but we have lost one game in 43 home European games. An accident like that can happen. We are still in a strong position in the Champions League, what is important for us now is to bounce back and have a good result in the Premier League.”

 

Wilshere’s Absence Has Hurt PL – Hughes                                                

Jack Wilshere’s long absence from football has hurt the Barclays Premiership, according to Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes.

The Arsenal starlet is set to return to the playing field against the Hoops on Saturday after an injury layoff of 15 month, and Hughes believes that the midfielder’s comeback will provide a boost to the PL.

The Hoops boss told the press: “He [Wilshere] is an outstanding young player, the league has been a lesser league really because when you take a young player of his ability out for so long then everyone misses watching his talents. Obviously from my own selfish point of view as an opposition manager I hope he would have been one week away from returning.

“He played in midweek with a view to being involved in our game so we will see whether or not he makes an appearance. I think everybody is pleased, he is a young man who seemed to have the world at his feet and he has had a real setback with the injury and the amount of time he has been out. We wish him well but not too many good wishes if he plays at the weekend.”

 

Mertesacker Targets Instant Recovery

Per Mertesacker has urged his teammates to bounce back from their recent twin losses by winning their Saturday’s London derby against QPR.

The morale is down in the Gunners camp after they failed to score and create clear-cut chances in defeats to Norwich and Schalke, and Mertesacker says that the team needs to recover immediately for the sake of their season.

The German centre-half said: “We have had a difficult week, our results were kind of an accident, now we have to find our game again. The international break was kind of a killer for us. We have to find our strength back again quickly. We have the potential in us, but first we have to fight.”

The Rangers are in the midst of their own struggles, having failed to win a single league game so far this season, but Mertesacker has warned his teammates not to take them lightly.

He said: “It is the same as against Norwich, they were bottom as well and we did not find solutions against a defensive side. We have to learn quickly from what happened there and against Schalke. If we do not find these solutions, it is going to be difficult both in the Premier League and the Champions League as well.

“We have the chance to come back in both, but we have to find ourselves quickly. It is our task now to find our self-confidence, we have great players with great potential, but at the moment you cannot feel we are a strong squad. So it will be good to have a game in three days so we can show our potential again.”

 

Wenger Prefers Champions League Qualification over Domestic Cups

Arsene Wenger has revealed that he considers qualifying for the Champions League as a bigger and more important target of his than winning the FA or Carling Cups.

The Arsenal shareholders expressed their displeasure regarding the club’s seven-year-long trophy drought at Thursday’s AGM, but Wenger defended his record and said: “For me, there are five ‘trophies’ – the first is to win the Premier League, the second is to win the Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is to win the FA Cup and the fifth is to win the League Cup.

“I say that because if you want to attract the best players, they do not ask ‘did you win the League Cup?’, they ask you ‘do you play in the Champions League?’.”

 

Gazidis Has Faith in FFP

Ivan Gazidis has once again promised that Arsenal will be able to compete with the richest European clubs in the transfer market once UEFA’s Financial Fair Play fully kicks in.

The Gunners’ reluctance to splash major cash sees them constantly get beat up in the transfer market by clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City, and as a result, their on-field success has dried up. But Gazidis believes that the supremacy of clubs backed by wealthy owners will soon end, thanks to UEFA’s FFP.

Talking to an angry group of shareholders during Thursday’s AGM, the Arsenal CEO said: “In the next two years, we will have the financial resources to sit and compete among the leading clubs in the world, which is an extraordinary achievement.

“Financial success is relevant because it supports our football vision… the money we make is made available to our manager and he decides how to invest those funds. Arsene has done a magnificent job against the spending of our major competitors.”

 

RVP Was Sold For Footballing Reasons, Says Hill-Wood

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood says that footballing reasons and not financial gains led to the sale of former captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United this summer.

At Thursday’s AGM, a shareholder asked whether or not the Dutch striker was offloaded to boost the club’s books, to which Hill-Wood replied: “We undertake our transfers for football reasons and not FFP. Money is available to Arsene.”